Welcome to our feature on how standardized school assessments, such as the CAT4 (and the OLSAT in the US)) are used by more and more schools. Both in the UK and in the US.

How are CAT4 results used?

Specifically, how standardized school assessment battery CAT4 is used. In educational settings globally, GL Assessment collects and scrutinizes data extensively to offer insights into a child’s aptitude, academic capacity, and potential obstacles to learning. Typically, CAT4 tests, cognitive ability assessments, are employed to generate tailored reports for students, presenting a comprehensive view of their learning profile. However, the sheer volume of data produced can be overwhelming for educators, particularly those new to middle management in international schools where CAT4 tests are relied upon to gauge a child’s abilities due to the absence of primary school references or Sats data. For those less familiar with CAT4 test data, here’s an overview of essential terms and how this data informs teaching, interventions, and curriculum planning:

What are our specific CAT4 prep recommendations?:

We help CAT4 parents and CAT4 tutors to focus on preparing children to pass GL Assessment’s CAT4 test:

Our free CAT4 test samples for every pupil age

Here are our CAT4 Practice Test Guides for each school age group:

This the range of GL Assessment’s CAT4 battery for which CAT4 test practice is available.

Our FREE CAT4 preparation resources

Understanding CAT4 Tests

CAT4 tests, designed by GL Assessment, are aimed at helping schools understand students’ abilities and their probable academic potential. These tests can be taken digitally or on paper, catering to both primary and secondary students. The CAT4 Assessment Battery comprises four distinct batteries, each comprising two tests in the following areas:
  • CAT4 Verbal Reasoning: Emphasizes conceptual understanding framed in words, often used as a baseline for subjects like English and history.
  • Non-verbal Reasoning CAT4: Measures problem-solving abilities using shapes or patterns, akin to a traditional IQ test.
  • CAT4 Quantitative Reasoning: Focuses on numerical relationships and is compared to a school’s internal math assessment.
  • Spatial Ability CAT4: Involves manipulating shapes to exhibit understanding of spatial relationships, often linked to STEM subjects.

What is the CAT4 Test Duration?

Each CAT4 test within the CAT4 batteries varies in duration, with most around 10 minutes. GL Assessment suggests a maximum total time of 45 minutes for each battery, inclusive of administration instructions, examples, and practice questions. The maximum overall time for all tests is two hours and 15 minutes.  

CAT4 Data insights

Following the tests, data provided includes:
  • Number of questions attempted, indicating reliability when all questions are answered.
  • Standard Age Score (SAS), comparing results within the same age group.
  • Stanines, comparing results with peers, ranging from below average to above average.
  • National Percentile Ranking (NPR), measuring a student’s score against a larger sample.

Interpreting CAT4 Data

Considering data from all four CAT4 batteries can offer personalized insights into a student’s learning experience. Discrepancies between a student’s CAT4-identified abilities and their current achievement in lessons can guide personalized teaching strategies.
  • Variances between verbal and spatial reasoning SAS scores can suggest preferred learning styles.
  • High non-verbal reasoning and low verbal reasoning SAS scores might indicate potential reading difficulties.
  • Stanine scores can highlight areas needing additional support or challenge.
While CAT4 data is significant, it should complement class assessments and professional judgment to gain a holistic understanding of each student. Personal comprehension of students as individuals is crucial for fully interpreting CAT4 data.

How similar to the CAT4 is the OLSAT?

Well, the OLSAT is comprised of two sections namely verbal and non-verbal sections testing pictorial, figural, and quantitative interpretive skills. Like the CAT4, the OLSAT also has verbal and nonverbal sections can be executed separately as per the norms of the school.

How are OLSAT test results used?

The OLSAT assesses scholastic achievements like memory, ability to see patterns and relationships, and most importantly their speed of thought. It has 21 verbal and non-verbal questions that have to be attempted by the students.