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What are these CAT tests

(37 Posts)
kitnkaboodle Thu 19-Sep-13 00:16:14

that my son did the other day at his new secondary, Year 7?? Are they kind of like the SATS in style (ie straightforward Maths and English) or are they more like the 11 plus reasoning stuff? Are they statutory? Will we be able to see the results? He seemed to spend almost a whole day doing them...

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Sep-13 00:30:36

They are more like 11+ reasoning/maths than SATs. SATs are attainment tests (testing what you've learned); CATs are aptitude tests (assessing potential).

They do these tests near the start of yr7 to get a baseline to help work out setting/streaming and target levels (in combination with other data). I don't think they are statutory. We didn't see the results when DD did hers - the target grades are probably more relevant.

HTH smile

kitnkaboodle Thu 19-Sep-13 00:39:07

Thanks. Cognitive Ability Tests ??? My son didn't seem to be able to tell me what the tests were, what they consisted of or what CAT stood for (!) so felt I had to ask ....

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Sep-13 00:46:35

Yes... I'd forgotten what the C stood for! They probably are a bit hard for a kid to explain if they've not come across them before. They deliberately don't prepare them at all as they want raw ability and in some ways, lower scores at this stage can (I've heard) make the school's value added scores look better. They'll be using reports from primary, yr6 sats as well so they aren't too big a deal.

NoComet Thu 19-Sep-13 00:48:56

Yes, verbal reasoning, numeracy and non verbal reasoning.

I found out DD1's marks because I asked. They'd used her numeracy result to justify barmy setting. (long story, suffice to say the numeracy test and dyslexia don't mix).

Generally they just give schools a general idea of the children's potential. Your DC quite probably did them at primary without realizing.

They do them again in Y9 and then we do get the results as they use them to give a ball park idea of which GCSE band DCs fall in.

They absolutely don't want DCs to practice, there are about three example questions on the web. Marks like IQ tests average 100, 120 grammar school kind of level 130 very good.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 19-Sep-13 07:58:44

I don't think DD did any in yr9 - its probably up to the school if they want to use this metric.

NoComet Thu 19-Sep-13 11:27:45

I think it's totally up to the school, whether to use CATs and a lot of schools start GCSE syllabuses in Y9 so don't group as and when DDs school did.

(Loads of rearranging going on, so DD2 may get something different. She did Y7 CATs, no idea what she got. No excuse to ask as she's in the sets she should be.)

pixiepotter Thu 19-Sep-13 19:46:41

They are to see how good they are at miaowing and catching mice.

OddSins Thu 19-Sep-13 20:56:57

Essentially IQ tests.

Used for setting and predicting GCSE results. Surprisingly accurate but not usually shared with parents.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 22:30:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoComet Thu 19-Sep-13 22:39:48

Very accurate if your not bursting to go to the loo (having not been told there are three parts) and aren't dyslexic.

Weirdly it's not, as I said VR that throws her, it's numeracy.

As far as I can see, and example questions are as rare as hens teeth, it's very working memory heavy and very tight on time.

Sequences and putting operators to get a certain answer, very DD unfriendly without time and scribbling paper.

Has no bearing at all on the fact she'll probably get an A for maths GCSE.

Did mean she wasted Y7 in set 3 redoing stuff she already knew angry

kitchendiner Fri 20-Sep-13 06:49:29

I agree StarBallBunny. My dyslexic DS's CATS bear little resemblance to his full IQ test which is much higher. My friend's DS totally flunked his CATS - well below average intelligence and predicted Es but got an A* for Maths and is now doing A Levels. It concerns me that teachers consider them "very accurate".

LaQueenForADay Fri 20-Sep-13 07:38:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kitchendiner Fri 20-Sep-13 07:45:27

Yes, I don't think it's possible to over-perform but it is clearly possible to under-perform.

LaQueenForADay Fri 20-Sep-13 08:12:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Isthiscorrect Fri 20-Sep-13 20:38:48

Ds predicted C's across the board at years 7, 9 and 11. Has 1A*, 5A's and 5B's, plus AS levels 4xA and predicted 4xA* (now). Many Teachers are still shocked at this summers results. He has issues (not dyslexia) but he is way beyond dedicated and committed in how hard he works. He has worked very hard and he will get where he wants to be and random testing will not stand in his way. In fact he has enjoyed the lack of pressure and his ability to confound his predictions ( his regular tutors have always predicted he will do well).

ThePuffyShirt Fri 20-Sep-13 20:42:25

My son was predicted all A* after his CATs in y7. He is now in y11 and I will be eating my hat (albeit happily) if those predictions are proved right.

pixiepotter Sun 22-Sep-13 21:59:26

I think they do another set of similar tests in Y10. Of course these tests can only look at intelligence and aptitude.A child's attitude can scupper all that!

2kidsintow Sun 22-Sep-13 22:13:12

They would have done them in year 4 too.

3 batteries of tests. All short in time (8 mins, 12 mins, think the longest is 14 mins)

1st is verbal reasoning.
What word is missing from a sentence?
What word relates to another word in the same way that the example does.
Which word is the odd one out of a selection?

2nd is number
Which number comes next in a sequence?
Which answer can you make using the numbers and the operations given?
Can't remember the third.

3rd which is non verbal
Lots of different shapes.
Which shape carries on the pattern given?
What would a piece of paper look like once opened up if it was folded and a hole punched in it in the place(s) in the question?
And again, I can't remember the third one.

They are so different to what we teach that they are not possible to prepare the children for them.

Yes to attitude making a difference. The children fill their answers in on a lottery style sheet that is sent away for marking. It is not unknown for children with behaviour issues or confidence issues to just fill in the boxes at random.

Wonderstuff Sun 22-Sep-13 22:29:36

I've just done these with year 7 (secondary teacher) I used them in conjunction with SATS and reading test scores to set pupils.

They don't help with value added - we are measured entirely against SAT results. I look for discrepancy between the non-verbal and verbal score and screen for dyslexia pupils who have a significantly lower verbal score. They can flag up particular issues with number and give evidence for language issues or moderate learning difficulties. No test is completely accurate, but they are standardised and have a high degree of validity - 95% of results are accurate (so 1 in 20 aren't). I would say they are much more accurate than SATs - primaries are under enormous pressure to get good SATS pupils spend a huge amount of time being prepared for them. There is lots of anecdotal evidence that children are helped during the actual tests on occasion. Reports are produced to predict GCSE results though these are generally ignored because we are measured against KS2 SAT results regardless. If KS2 SATs are missing (which is v.rare) CATs will be used as a benchmark.

I'm sure parents are entitled to have CATs results if they ask. We don't routinely share the information but I will discuss with any interested parent.

NoComet Sun 22-Sep-13 22:55:58

Can I please council caution in screening for dyslexia using VR/NVR.

I'm sure it does flag up some DCs with poor reading and comprehension skills, but it's very likely to miss brighter dyslexics.

DD1(15) didn't learn to read competently untill she was 11and out loud her reading is dreadful. Her comprehension isn't! Her Y9 VR/NVR were 123/131, her Y7 ones were very similar. Yes there's a difference, but not one that I think any one would notice.

However, her writing and spelling would get scowled at in Y5 and she qualifies for 25% extra time in exams.

NoComet Sun 22-Sep-13 22:57:38

Until - iOs7's spell checking is a bit wobbly.

MoominMammasHandbag Sun 22-Sep-13 23:07:09

The CAT wasn't a good grade predictor for my DS: it failed to factor in the fact that he is bone idle. Similarly my friend's daughter got an average of about 110 and came away with 12A* at GCSE.

I am very interested in the Non Verbal element of the test because all three of mine have got 130 or so on it. Obviously they would get an A* in Tetris or something but how does that relate to having a talent for something in real life? Teachers have muttered vague things about having an aptitude for maths but this is not actually the case for my kids. I have suggested to DD she would probably be a great pattern cutter if she went into fashion but she wasn't particularly enthused by that idea.

grants1000 Sun 22-Sep-13 23:21:42

Daft question, is a verbal reasoning one done out loud? I don't get it, help!!

grants1000 Sun 22-Sep-13 23:26:37

Meant to add ds1 in year 7 and dyslexic, bright, has issues with taking verbal and turning it into written work (cant't process). He can read very well, understands everything, can verbally explain everything well, just can't get it down on paper, his writing is (I hate to say this) dreadful, he is learning to type. He takes notes, does mind maps etc. Fab at maths and loves it.

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