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The Raven and CoGAT Tests

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: My son was given the Raven test in the second grade and scored in the 99th percentile. As a result he was placed in the gifted program at his school in California. We have recently moved to Colorado and he is now in the fifth grade. His new school said he had to requalify for their gifted program, so they gave him two parts of the CoGAT test -- Verbal and Quantitative -- but not the non-verbal part. He did not score high enough to get into the program here. Is the CoGAT a valid indicator without the non-verbal part? What is the difference between the Raven and the CoGAT tests?

A: I spent some time looking into this. First, very few school districts will accept out-of-state assessment results that are three years old to admit a student into their gifted program. This may not seem fair, but practices on gifted education vary from state to state depending on the state mandate for gifted education.

There are definite differences between the Raven's Progressive Matrices and the Cognitive Ability Test. The Raven is a non-verbal test of reasoning based on visual stimuli. It measures the ability to form comparisons, to reason by analogy, and to organize spatially. It is also an older test and not used widely in all school districts as a measure of giftedness. Currently, entry into gifted programs is often based on verbal skill abilities. This would not be measured on the Raven. It is possible to obtain a factored score that is considered a valid indicator on the Cognitive Ability Test even if the non-verbal section is not administered. Evidently your son's testing in Colorado put a heavier emphasis on verbal skills.

Now here is what you need to find out: What tests are accepted in your state and school district as measures of giftedness? Will the district accept private psychological testing, if you choose to obtain it, for qualifying into the gifted program? A student who has done well in a gifted program for three years deserves another look to see if local gifted programs can benefit him.

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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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