Frequently Asked Questions

If I read out the CAT Verbal Battery questions to students, will this invalidate the test?

If you read out the test questions in the Verbal Battery then you cannot use the Standard Age Scores. This is because the questions were not read out to the standardisation sample.

If you have concerns about a student who may find the Verbal Reasoning Battery too challenging, then you should assess the student in two stages:

  1. Administer all four CAT batteries in the standard way. If a student has specific language difficulties, then this should be revealed in the profile of their scores across the four batteries. We might expect the Verbal score to be significantly lower than either the Quantitative, Non-verbal or Spatial score. (Significant in this context means a difference of 10 or more Standard Age Score points.) If this is the case, then you have independent evidence to confirm the student's difficulties in reasoning with words as compared to numbers, patterns or spatial concepts.
  2. To isolate a specific problem with reading, you could read some of the verbal questions to the student. If their response to these questions is markedly better than on the first occasion this might isolate reading as the problem. This would suggest that the student's 'true' reasoning score is obscured by reading difficulties. In CAT4 it is recommended that students with a stanine score of 3 or below on the Verbal tests should do a reading test as a follow up.

How reliant is CAT on the quality of the administrator explaining and supervising the test?

It is important that the administrator follows the text set out in the administration instructions very closely. Each sub-test starts with example and practice questions. The administrator must use these to ensure that students are familiar with the test layout and question formats before they start the test. 

CAT is a timed test and it is vital that a stopwatch or timer is used to ensure the correct amount of time is given to the exact second. Providing the administration instructions are followed accurately, the influence of any administrator should be minimal.

If the digital edition is being taken, the administration instructions are given through the voiceover and the timer is part of the test. However, it is still important that the administrator ensures that the testing environment is appropriate and answers any queries as necessary.

Can I spread the administration of CAT4 across a cohort over the same academic year?

No. It’s advisable for the same cohort to take CAT4 as close together as possible and at least within the same term. This ensures that student results can be compared with confidence, and teachers and administrators can obtain as accurate results as possible.

Can I administer just one or two batteries?

No. The CAT4 standardisation was conducted on the completion of four batteries, and the reports will therefore provide the most accurate data when all four batteries are taken.

The exception to this guidance is when it is considered inappropriate to administer the verbal tests to students for whom English is an additional language.

If you’re looking for a stand-alone Verbal or Non-verbal assessment, GL Assessment offers a number of alternatives that you should consider. Tests in our reasoning series may be used with students from age 5.

Can the CAT4 batteries be taken in any order?

No. The batteries must be taken in the order in which they were standardised. This is how they are presented in both the paper and digital editions of CAT4. The sequence is:

  1. Non-verbal Reasoning
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Spatial Ability

It is recommended that when administering the paper tests, two or three sessions should be scheduled and a break taken between each battery.

 The digital tests are in a set order and administered in three parts:

  • Part 1 – Non-verbal Reasoning
  • Part 2 – Verbal Reasoning and the first Quantitative test
  • Part 3 – the second Quantitative test and Spatial Ability

I am a new user and need guidance on which reports I need.

Please see the Reports section for a full description of the CAT4reports. In brief, there are eight core reports available for CAT4. The first of these is part of the standard service, whereas other reports are chargeable.

  1. Group reports for teachers, including scores for all students in the pre-defined group with analysis by battery and gender, and a full range of indicators depending on the level of CAT administered.
  2. Individual report for teachers, giving a more detailed analysis of an individual student with the full range of scores, indicators and a narrative description of their profile and its implications for teaching and learning.
  3. Individual report for students: a student-friendly version of the teacher report explaining performance and offering advice of how the student can learn most effectively.
  4. Individual report for parents: a parent-friendly version of the teacher report explaining their child’s performance and offering advice on how parents can support learning at home.
  5. Summary report for senior leaders: an overview of the group’s performance, tailored for school’s management team and board of governors.
  6. Summary presentation for senior leaders in PowerPoint format.
  7. Excel report: exported raw/core data to facilitate further in-school analysis and uploading to the school’s management system.
  8. Cluster report: a version of the Summary report for senior leaders but covering several schools.

I have the Group report for teachers for my year group cohort, but I need to generate further versions by tutor group. Is there a charge?

There is no charge for re-running the Group reports for teachers in order to produce a series of reports for sub-groups of students, or to add in late arrivals.

What should I do if some students in my class cannot complete all parts of the test within the sitting timescale?

When setting up a sitting, only do so when you are relatively confident that all students will be able to take the test. If you are uncertain, we recommend increasing the duration of the sitting timescale from the default 14 days to 30 days.

If an individual student is unable to take Part 1 of the test (for example, due to absence), please remove them from the sitting before starting the test.

If students cannot complete the sitting you have created, you have 30 days from the start date of the sitting for all students to complete the remaining parts. This is assuming that all students have completed Part 1.

What happens when a sitting expires?

When a sitting expires, one of two things will happen for each student individually:

  1. If they have not started the test at all, you will be reallocated that credit which you can then use on another sitting.
  2. If they have partially completed the test, they will be given an extra 30 days to complete the sitting using the same access code even though the sitting is listed as ‘expired’.

Are there practice tests available for CAT4?

We strongly advise against any kind of practice ahead of a CAT4 test as this will alter the reliability of test scores. We do not recommend or endorse any CAT4 practice materials. 

The purpose of CAT4 is that it is not a test of learnt knowledge and it needs to be as unaffected as possible by any external factors, such as practice. Think of it like an eye test; if you practice ahead of an eye test and memorise the card, your diagnosis may not be correct and valuable information may be missed.

Each section of CAT4 includes practice examples, which familiarise the students with the style and format of the questions. These sections are not timed and may be repeated.

Please see the CAT4 Teacher Guidance to learn more.