Understanding Achievement and Ability Tests
The Riverside School District utilizes both achievement (SBAs and MAP) and ability testing results in determining eligibility for the S.O.A.R. Program.
Deciphering the Difference Between the Two
Achievement and ability tests both measure aptitude, learning and achievement to some degree. Achievement tests, such as the SBAs, are heavily dependent on formal learning acquired in school or at home. They do not measure, however, how a student thinks or what his or her potential is. If a student does well on an achievement test, it shows that he or she is learning what he or she is supposed to be learning in school.
Ability tests are more novel and complex. They are predictors of potential for academic success. Ability tests tap into a wider range of life experiences and look at whether students can apply what they know in new and different ways. Ability tests often work with designs and pictures. They usually challenge the test taker to mentally manipulate symbols, numbers and the written language. Ability testing examines innate learning rather than school-based learning.
Reasons Achievement and Ability Scores May Not Correspond
Child is highly motivated to succeed in school
Child is allowed as much time as needed on state and district achievement tests, but ability tests are timed
Child is unfamiliar with the kinds of questions being asked on ability tests
Child is a perfectionist
Child has enriched home and family environment
Child is underachieving in school but demonstrates high ability
Ability Test Administered for Highly Capable Eligibility
Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
Verbal reasoning section:
Non-verbal reasoning section:
T1 Figure Classification
T2 Figure Analogies
T3 Figure Analysis
The three subtests in each section are combined to get one percentile score for the Verbal section, one for the Quantitative section, and one for the Non-verbal section. All nine subtests can also be combined to get a test composite score.
Understanding Your Child's Percentile Score(s)
National percentile ranks, which range from 1 to 99, are commonly used for reporting test results. A percentile ranks an individual's position in relation to a hypothetical group of 100 students in the standardization group. If a child scores at the 75th percentile, he or she is scoring better than 75 out of every 100 students at the same grade level that take the same test.
Percentage of Students Across the US
Well above average
Slightly above average
Slightly below average
Well below average