Testing for Cognitive Ability
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son that will be 5 in October was given a cognitive ability test and
did not qualified for a gifted program. Now, my question is that he has a
lot of the characteristics of a gifted child. For example:
Identified letters by 18-20 months.
Could count to ten before 2.
Knew basic shapes plus trapezoid before 2.
Looked at a box with 5 pictures and he knew it was 5.
Could finish 25 piece puzzles by 21
Walked at early age.
Has good sense of direction by 2 years
Good at memory games by 2 years old.
Learned to write letters on his own by 3
Learned to write his name by 3 years
Has been playing chess since 3.5 years old.
Can count pass 100 and in 100's to 1000 writes big numbers 100,
Can add and subtract simple digits.
Learned to play poker.
Is trying to learn to read.
Knows his sounds.
Has a good memory for numbers, loves numbers.
These are just a few characteristics that we have noticed. I don't sit down
to teach him, I just provide him with an environment with this stuff. My
question is how accurate is this test and should I have waited? He scored
69th percentile in verbal, 50th in quantitative and
36th in non-verbal. To us we just tested out of curiosity, but now
I regret doing so. Thanks.
The Cognitive Abilities Test is an assessment of a range of
reasoning skills. The test looks at reasoning with three types
of symbols that is verbal (words, numbers and shapes or
figures) quantitative and non-verbal reasoning.
The verbal reasoning assesses reasoning
processes using the medium of words (e.g., opposites,
relationships, deduction, and categorization). It is not an
assessment of reasoning with words, nor wider language skills
such as speaking, listening or writing.
The quantitative tests use numbers as the
symbols process is the same as for verbal reasoning). The
non-verbal tests looks at reasoning processes but use shapes
From your description, it appears that your son
is rather bright; hence I understand your dissatisfaction with
the test results. However, depending on the test results alone
is not advisable to label a child, especially when expectations
are not met and parental disappointment is apparent to the
child. Scores can be influenced by extrinsic factors such as
tiredness, distraction, lack of motivation, incorrect
Test scores are only a small part of the
picture. To be fair on the child, one needs to know the child
well in order to interpret the results in an appropriate
context. Test scores should feed into a broader assessment,
bringing to bear knowledge of the child's achievements in
other areas, their personal background and attitudes,
motivation and behavior. If your child is pre-school, you may
want to speak to his teachers to look into factors that lead to
the unsatisfactory scores. With your feedback, teachers may be
in a better position to interpret the scores. It is also
suggested that you see the administrators of the test to
clarify further the scores.
Whatever the results, you should always believe
in your child's abilities regardless of any test scores and
try your best to focus on his strengths and improve on his weak