Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Grade ITBS and CogAT Scores

Luke's first official standardized test scores came home this week. Frankly, they didn't tell us anything we don't already know about him. For the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills), he was at or above the 50th percentile in 5 categories, but somewhat below the 50th percentile in 2 categories: Vocabulary and "Reading: Comprehension", two of his well known weaknesses. His two highest scores were in "Reading: Words" at 93rd percentile (even his teacher says he is exceptional at sounding out words) and, ironically, "Listening" at 83rd percentile. I must admit, I am incredibly curious as to how they test that one! Clearly not by how well he listens at home, but I've said all along that as long as he is doing those things at school, I'm (somewhat) okay with that. I know standardized tests don't tell the whole story, and I'm trying not to be ruffled that a couple of the categories were less than stellar. I keep hoping the whole reading thing will click soon; it's driving us all crazy.

He also took the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT). Again, nothing we don't already know. In fact, it sums him up quite perfectly! First, let me define the categories, copied from the handout they sent home with the scores:
  • The Verbal Battery measures a child's ability to remember and transform sequences of English words, to understand them, and to make inferences and judgements about them.
  • The Quantitative Battery tests the child's understanding of basic quantitative concepts and relationships that are essential for learning mathematics. Tasks measure both the understanding of relational concepts and the student's ability to discover relationships and to figure out a rule or principle that explains them.
  • The Nonverbal Battery measures reasoning using pictures and geometric shapes. This reduces the impact of language on the student's score. The Nonverbal Battery also appraises the student's ability to use her/his cognitive resources in new situations.

  • Verbal Reasoning: 48th percentile
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 65th percentile
  • Nonverbal Reasoning: 94th percentile
  • Composite National Age Percentile Rank: 77th percentile

Yep, that's pretty much Luke in a nutshell!

The only thing I am truly frustrated about regarding any of these scores is that I don't know how to help him improve in the areas where he is weakest. Most of the suggestions revolve around essentially "practice practice practice." Yeah, YOU come make him practice! I'm trying to encourage him and help him and *maybe* require him to do a teensy bit of reading on occasion, but I don't want to just make him loathe it by pushing too hard. If I have one more person tell me "he needs to be reading 20-30 minutes every day," I'm going to cut out his or her tongue! It's such a difficult balance between getting him the necessary practice and keeping our sanity. I suppose we will all survive, and I am confident he will eventually learn to read (and more importantly, comprehend) effectively, it's just not going to be easy or quick. I need to accept that, but it's hard for both DH and me. Keep your fingers crossed, for all of us!

Currently feeling: a little frustrated, but also very proud


  1. Why don't you try sitting with him and reading to him for 20-30 minutes a day and then move into him reading part and you reading part. Then work to him being able to read to you. Also take him to the book store and let him pick out a few books that interest him, just because you think that there are certain books that he should be reading they might not be intersting to him. Trade him time with books for time with the TV which he spends to much time with and video games. For every 30 minutes he reads, that's 30 of TV time that he has earned.

  2. I came across this blog when I was searching standardized test info. Based on your son's incredibly high nonverbal CogAT score, he is most likely a "spatial" learner. This might help-

    Best of luck to you and your child.


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