CAT4 and Strategies for Learning

Results from CAT4 enable teachers to adapt their teaching approaches, materials, emphasis and pace in the classroom to meet individual student needs. This is enhanced by an understanding of the interaction between student characteristics and the demands of the task or the classroom. The effective teacher will use all these factors to directly impact each student’s learning outcomes.

Careful consideration of the results from CAT4 can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in an individual student’s cognitive abilities, which are not easy to assess through other methods. Knowledge of a student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses provides valuable insight, which has important implications for how best to support their learning.

Success in school depends on many personal and social factors. For example, different students are motivated by different things: some may be motivated by an interest in the subject matter, some by a need for achievement or competition, and others by a fear of failure. Students may differ in their self-esteem, the amount of effort they are willing to put in, their confidence or social skills and whether they are prepared to persevere with tasks. All of these factors can affect their success.

For students, learning will be enhanced when they are interested and engaged, but impaired when they are anxious. The same task that engages one student (for example, a spoken presentation to the class) may make another student anxious. It is these interactions between teacher and student that influence the effectiveness of the learning that takes place.

This guide will deal with an important aspect of CAT4 results, including some guidance which is CAT4 specific, and some which can be applied even without CAT4. Other important aspects of CAT4, such as setting valid targets for students or judging differences over time or groups, will not be covered in as much detail. For readings on these aspects we recommend you use the Cognitive Abilities Test Teacher Guidance Pack.