Thursday, November 01, 2007

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

According to CCPS...

Second and fifth grade students in CCPS will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) during the week of November 13th. This test will be used as one of several screening tools to identify students in need of gifted education services for the 2008-2009 school year and to assist classroom teachers in making instructional decisions for their students this school year.

CogAT is a group-administered test which measures students' reasoning and problem-solving abilities. These abilities are assessed on three sub tests using words (verbal sub test), numerical concepts (quantitative sub test) and spatial/figural drawings (nonverbal sub test). Each sub test takes about 45 minutes.

The CogAT is used nationally, as well as by several Maryland counties, as a tool in the identification of academically gifted students. It has been found to be especially helpful in finding students who may not show up on measures of academic achievement alone. In addition, the CogAT provides instructional information for classroom teachers. Teachers can review their students' test results to plan instruction that meets the needs of the specific types of learners in their class.

A parent report created by Riverside Publishers will be sent home for each student who takes to CogAT. The report will provide a score for each sub test, a composite score, and information about your child's results.

If you have any questions, please contact the gifted education resource teacher at your child's school.
In addition, I found this link helpful and informational Riverside Publishing.


LegalBeaglette said...

I have a lot of questions, but no answers!

Nothing, not word one, is mentioned about this as an identification tool on the CCPS Gifted Education Services page.

I am trying my best to refrain from yelling, “ANOTHER test???”

I hope…absolutely hope…CCPS is not returning to the days of “services” only for students who measure x or higher on a test. I do not want to hear that Joanna cannot have the spelling list that the “gifted” students get…even if she wants it or her parents insist upon it (because rigor is a good thing…) I do not want to hear that Johnny cannot take middle school algebra because he’s not “gifted”…even if he wants to or his parents think it the right academic decision for their son.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but you do want AP classes limited to only the best and brightest.

Anonymous said...

I mistakenly,attributed comments to legalbeaglette that were actually made by some others. The point is still the same though.

Parents don't want to hear that their children can't/shouldn't be in AP classes if that's where they want them. It's hard to argue that point. It is the teacher's responsibility to maintain the high standards of instruction in those courses. But when those same kids take the exam, the scores are going to reflect their work ethic, ability, etc. It is not solely a reflection on the teacher or the system.

Anonymous said...

If a parent wants their kid to be in an AP class, they should be able to justify that on the kid's ability to perform well in lower level classes.

Being in an AP class is a privilege, not a right. Accepting students that have no work ethic, are "C" students, or just plain accept them in the class because of some "racial" reason is just purely pathetic.

Jay Matthews is a left winger that believes that getting a "free lunch", being a certain race, etc., are reasons as to "What makes a great school". What makes great schools are high-performing students, exceptional teachers, National Science Fair winners, Math Olympiad winners, ad infinitum.

When a kid is in 9th grade, fire a warning shot across the bow to let parents know that average grades will keep their children out of AP classes.

Another thing. Allow teachers to go at a constant pace and finish the AP curriculum in a reasonable period of time, allowing them ample time for review, and giving the students the tools that they need to score a "4" or a "5" on the exam.

You Charles County daydreamers need to wake up. My kid is going to a university, competing with kids from India, Japan, and other countries where they look DOWN upon average instruction and average performance. Being in a classroom of 300 overachievers will make you wake up quickly and realize that Charles County is a very small fishbowl in a sea full of very talented students.

Anonymous said...

Let's consider another situation:

10 children in an AP Physics class take the AP test and receive either a "1" or "2".

They then finish out the class with a "B" average from the teacher.

How repugnant is that?
I say we audit the teacher's gradebook, and interview the kids to see how far they actually came to covering the AP curriculum.

Why is this happening? Why does the school administrators allow it to happen, year after year?

Now do you see why we need to see the scores of the AP classes by class and teacher?

Then we need to ask the principals in the eye, "What are YOU going to do to correct YOUR problem?"

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to hear from students "our class is WAY behind because of the kids in the class that SHOULDN'T be in the class"?
If it wasn't for the ability to interview students after the classes, how often do you think the administrators would actually inform the public of the crappy job that they are doing of preparing these kids for these AP classes?

I say that Mrs. Abell "DEMANDS"(just like the local rag said) for the statistics of teacher retention, and the statistics of the number of new teachers in the county. Personally, I get tired of my child having a new teacher, year after year.

And how about all of these teachers (younger ones) that get sick of teaching kids, get an online master's degree, then become administrators? What type of a waste of money is that?

Anonymous said...

Until it's YOUR child who gets excluded from an AP class and then you'll be the first one there demanding they be let in.

Anonymous said...

My kid did the AP classes and is in college.
For example, set a cutoff of a 88% in Honors Chemistry for entry into AP Chem.
If you don't have it, you can't get in.

If you are bright enough, you can clep out of chem classes(or other classes, for that matter) once you go to college. Nothing keeps you from doing that.

I'm against the county and all their testing. They lack the expertise anyway. Allow the teachers to teach the material to the best of their ability, then have the kids take the state tests when they come up.

The schools are failing to provide what they are suppose to when it comes to special ed already.

im1ru2 said...

Let's start at the beginning, so please indulge me just a little here if you will.

A fourth grader new to the public school system in Charles County registered by his parents over the summer and requested testing by the parents but denied by the school principle and told that would happen during the regular testing sometime in October or November. The parents said that would be too late if he was behind in what were his weak areas; reading and comprehension for resource teachers to step in and help out before things got perhaps worse. Sorry, that’s the way it is coming from private schools.

Homework Sheets come home every Monday for the week. It is very detailed for the entire week and very good I might add. One thing however; it has only two subjects, reading (with spelling) and math. No science or geography or social studies which they have in class each day and which I see test on in his weekly folder and which he consistently receives C's, D's, and two E's so far. Homework is meant to reinforce the days teaching and to help with the weekly test. I have never seen anything in his homework tracker about those subjects. Funny too, those subjects aren't part of what Maryland tests the 4th graders on... Guess they don't care that much about my kid right now. Maybe when he needs to get to one of the AP classes they will start to pay attention. Oh, about that...

My niece, an AP student graduate from Lackey H.S. two years ago with all high honors (really). Seems she could not do well on the (old) SAT and had to re-take it 3 times and then had to take 2 courses over the summer to bring her "credentials" up to par for "average" admittance to the University of Maryland, which cost my brother-in-law over 2k in tuition BEFORE regular tuition to get my niece into college.

So, starting from the beginning; now my 4th grader, when I asked to have him tested I was told no. He is only being pushed with subjects that Maryland is being "watched" and reported on and when the list for extended learning came out he was not on it and I had to call to PUT him on it; and I did! Now, I "assign" him social study and geography homework.

Our AP classes are a numbers game. The courses do not always get completed; not all the right kids get into the courses and the courses are not rigorous enough for our kids to compete at the college level. We have to start at the beginning with our kids and not stop until they complete the 12th grade and then it is up to them to continue with the tools with have provided them with and the resources available to them. For at that time for the most part they are "on their own" and must be able to make good decisions on their own with just minimum guidance from us as parents. Until then however, we as parents need to make these decisions and so far we are failing because as I look around these schools are failing. There are a lot of good things happening in the schools but way too many inefficient and ineffective programs in place affecting our children with hidden agendas in place to keep us as parents from really knowing (or at least trying) what the results of these programs are in both short term and long term, as well as intellectual, emotional, behavioral and moral result looming. The school system has a responsibility here. It is secondary to us as parents but it is just as large and just as important and they must be transparent and honest and willing to work with us as parents and tax payers who make up their budget to define a working profile to better this system that is so deficient.

Kids can't past test to graduate so we give them 2, 3, 4 tries and that doesn't work so we give them a "bridge". Now we are going to let them "figure out what works for them" by seeing if taking classes’ online, going to a different school, or "other options" for these kids help. We have sunk to the lowest of lows and keep wondering what is wrong. Personally, I am not wondering.

LegalBeaglette said...

What I want – what I think we all should want – is for all students to have the opportunity to be challenged, AND to succeed. What constitutes “challenge” for one is not going to be the same as it is for another, and “rigor” should not start, or exist exclusively, in an AP class.

Something like the CogAT can be a tool. Just as the College Board’s “AP Potential” can be a tool. Neither should be – for a motivated, interested student – an impermeable barrier. Preparation for advanced work does not begin in high school – there are many years of educational building that must take place before then. That “building” takes place in the home and in the classroom.

What concerns me here is how the results of the CogAT will play out in real instructional changes for highly-able students. Instructions for the preparation of the Master Plan include:

1. Describe the school system’s process for identifying gifted and talented students. If applicable, you are encouraged to provide data on the numbers and percentages of students identified in each grade band: elementary, middle, and high school.

Okay…so CCPS is identifying a process. The reference to #s and %s gives me pause, though, because for years CCPS published unchanging boilerplate for the Report Card stating identification and services for 33% of its student population at each of its schools…but it did not, in fact, “identify” students, and its “gifted” program was (and is) based upon the “All, Many, Some, Few” delivery model.

2. Identify the programs and services that the local school system has in place to meet the needs of gifted and talented students. If applicable, please provide this information for each grade band: elementary, middle, and high school.

I look forward to seeing those programs and services specifically identified. Passing out SEEK, providing applications for CTY and MSDE summer programs, sponsoring chess tournaments (good things) – none of these address the instructional program for highly-able students in the classroom. As parents, we have heard much about the “differentiation” of instruction – but to ask about it at our children’s schools…well, one would have thought we had four eyes and snakes for hair!

LegalBeaglette said...

”Parents don't want to hear that their children can't/shouldn't be in AP classes if that's where they want them. It's hard to argue that point. It is the teacher's responsibility to maintain the high standards of instruction in those courses. But when those same kids take the exam, the scores are going to reflect their work ethic, ability, etc. It is not solely a reflection on the teacher or the system.”

I agree that an AP score is not solely a reflection on the teacher. That AP scores overall are not a reflection on “the system” – I am not so keen to agree. “The system” has pushed for the expanded enrollment, and it certainly got that.

“The system” made an admirable effort to address issues of affordability, I think (but it would have been nice if the costs had been addressed at all the schools in this county the same way).

I do not think it paid due diligence, however, to program quality. It was, and is, not enough to “open the door.” The structure for accommodating that increased enrollment should have been addressed, too – to include maintaining (or enhancing) the integrity of the program. To do that, one must look at the program fully: student placement, teacher qualification and training, course content and completion, test participation and scores. I think such review should have been ongoing; with the push for expanded enrollment, however, it was imperative.

LegalBeaglette said...

Re: the comments made by im1ru2 –

I understand what you are saying. The role of parents should not be minimized in any child’s instructional program; concerns expressed by them about a student’s instructional progress should not be ignored, and the earlier those concerns are addressed, the better.

We hear much about parents being “partners” in education, but for the school system, that seems to mean many things other than playing an integral role in identifying and addressing a child’s educational needs.

Anonymous said...

Oh my good heavens!

Please excuse my quoting but:

The College Board website states, “Gauging individual success on an AP Exam is relatively straightforward—most students view a grade of 3 or higher as a successful grade.” Only 32% of the 2969 AP Exams taken by CCPS students received a score at or above 3. Charles County’s public school success rate is half that of the total rate for public schools statewide, where 63% of the tests earned scores of 3 or higher.

Are you kidding me? This is WHY we need to see the results of these tests by schools.

This kind of crap shows the misleading and underhanded tactics that the administration is trying to force feed the parents of the students in these "skools".

This is atrocious. Mrs. Abell should be armed with special forces by her side to clean up this stinky
stuff that is flowing down the slippery slope.

I hope to God in Heaven that this information is PRINTED in the local newpapers.

Go Mrs. Abell! Go after these people full speed ahead. It's no wonder they don't want parents observing in these schools.

What a joke! They compare CCBOE of having 1/2 the success rate of the rest of the state. What about comparing them to the better states?

How can Richmond and the apologists defend this lame record? What is being done to correct this?

Don't tell me that it doesn't have a lot to do with the teachers and the low-level students that are allowed to take these classes.