Many schools establish special academic programs to provide challenging learning environments for students who are exceptional for their age in learning, problem solving, and achievement. CogAT can provide unique information to assist in the identification of such students. 

Some general principles apply to the selection process:

  • Consider framing the decision in terms of talent identification and development rather than deciding whether a student is or is not gifted. This approach is especially helpful when the goal is to increase the diversity of students served by the program.
  • When defining the manner in which CogAT scores will be used for selection, consider the types of educational services offered. For example, if your school offers only single-subject enrichment, you will review scores differently than if your school provides whole-grade acceleration only.  
  • Use multiple measures in the selection process and combine them appropriately. In addition to CogAT, include measures of achievement and self-evaluation or teacher ratings of interests and motivation.
  • Use the information in all three CogAT scores, not merely the overall composite score. Expect that many talented students will show a significant or even substantial relative weakness on one test battery.
  • Consider using multiple perspectives—national age norms, national grade norms, local norms, and within-group ranks—when interpreting scores.