A student’s CogAT ability profile is the key to designing effective instruction for that student. This section of the guide offers suggestions on instructional strategies based on the median age stanine (overall cognitive ability level) indicated by the student’s ability profile.

Guidance based on relative strengths and weaknesses identified in the ability profile (verbal [V], quantitative [Q], and nonverbal [N] cognitive domains with a plus or minus sign) can be found in [TBD].

Instructional Strategies by Ability Level Groupings

For all students, begin by considering the overall ability level indicated by the ability profile. The number that begins each ability profile is the median age stanine that the student obtained on the three CogAT batteries. For example, if the student has stanines of 7, 3, and 6 for the Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal batteries, respectively, that student’s median age stanine is 6. 

The tables on the following pages present information on four groups of students based on their median age stanines.


Reasoning Ability Level


Very high


Above average




Below average

The first table summarizes learner characteristics of students in each group; the remaining tables present suggestions for adapting instruction for students in each group, in terms of the five research-based principles explained in “Adapting Instruction – Principles” on page 14.    

For students who do not have an A profile, refer to “Adapting Instruction to Build on Relative Strengths” on page 25 and “Adapting Instruction to Shore Up Weaknesses” on page 30 for additional guidance based on a student’s particular strength or weakness.

You can obtain more information on a specific ability profile by using the Interactive Ability Profile Interpretation System. This tool is available at the following website:


Click the links below to view guidelines for the principles of adapting instruction and specific to a student's CogAT ability profile: 

Learner Characteristics

Build on Strengths

Focus on Working Memory

Scaffold Wisely

Encourage Strategic Thinking

When Grouping, Aim for Diversity