Quick CoPS

Quick CoPS

When teachers feel that there is insufficient time available to administer all of the CoPS subtests and the solutions for overcoming this problem suggested in the last section are not appropriate, a shorter testing procedure, known as Quick CoPS may be adopted. In this procedure only four of the nine CoPS subtests are used, and the assessment will usually be completed in less than 30 minutes overall. Obviously, a more complete picture of the student’s abilities will be achieved by using all of the CoPS subtests, but Quick CoPS is a satisfactory solution when circumstances prevent this.

Use of Quick CoPS requires the teacher to make decisions about which four CoPS subtests to use. This will differ according to:

  • the age of the student (to the nearest month)
  • the nature of the student’s difficulties (if known) and any other information about the student which the teacher possesses.

In order to decide which subtests to employ, the teacher should refer to the Quick CoPS Grid (see below). This indicates which four CoPS subtests should be used, based solely on the age of the student (shown by the four ticks in each column). However, when a teacher has relevant information about a student (e.g. information from medical records, from the student’s pre- school, from parents, or from the student’s performance in school) the Quick CoPS procedure can be made much more efficient by adding in that information on the grid. This is achieved by consulting the Relevant Factors Chart (see Table 1). The Relevant Factors Chart shows which CoPS subtests should be given additional ticks on the grid, according to appropriate criteria listed (e.g. if there is a history of difficulties in language and/or literacy in the student’s family, then additional ticks should be given to Races, Rabbits and Rhymes). Note that of the three subtests indicated in each row of the Relevant Factors Chart, the one which is printed in bold is the most important.

Quick CoPS testing procedure

  • If the assessor has no relevant information about the student, then deliver Quick CoPS according to the student’s age (to the nearest month), administering the four subtests which are ticked in the Quick CoPS Grid.
  • If the assessor has relevant information about the student in any of the areas detailed below, then refer to the Relevant Factors Chart (Table 1) and where appropriate place additional ticks in the specified cells of the Quick CoPS Grid. A photocopy of the grid, given below, should be used for this purpose. Then select the four subtests which have the most ticks. In the case of ties making it difficult to decide which four to choose, the subtest printed in bold type in the Relevant Factors Chart should be given greater weight.

Note: Do not write on the above grid; a copy of the Quick CoPS Grid is provided below; this may be freely photocopied and used for the purposes of deciding which CoPS subtests to administer. When completed, the Quick CoPS Grid should be filed together with the child’s results from CoPS testing and the CoPS Comments Sheet.

The rationale behind Quick CoPS

The subtests which have been pre-selected in Quick CoPS (i.e. those which are ticked for the various age groups on the Quick CoPS Grid) have been chosen on the basis of their predictive validity, using data from the original CoPS research project. The criteria which appear in the first column of the Relevant Factors Chart have been selected on the basis of evidence from research on the correlations of learning difficulties in general, and literacy difficulties/dyslexia in particular. The philosophy is that where the teacher is aware of factors which could affect the student’s learning, it will be most useful to concentrate on those CoPS subtests which can confirm or disconfirm the teacher’s suspicions. For example, if the teacher believes the student to have poor listening skills [item g) on the Relevant Factors Chart] then the CoPS subtests which are selected should be ones which can give the teacher the most useful information on the significance of those apparently poor listening skills. These will be Letter names, Wock and Races, because these are the subtests which make the highest demands on the student’s listening ability. If the student performs poorly on these subtests, this suggests that the problems are pervasive, confirming the teacher’s suspicions and supporting a case for intervention on this basis. If, on the other hand, the student performs at an average level, or even well, on these subtests, this suggests that the student’s suspected poor listening skills are not pervasive and may even be transitory. The latter finding may also indicate that the student’s listening skills are good in some situations (e.g. 1 to 1 with the teacher) but poor in others (e.g. in a group situation). Either way, the results help the teacher to clarify the nature and extent of the student’s difficulties.


Table 1. Quick CoPS Relevant Factors Chart

Quick CoPS - an example in practice

Emily is 6 years 5 months. She is making little progress in reading (particularly picking up phonics) and her teacher believes she also has poor attention and concentration. The teacher filled in the Quick CoPS Grid as shown in Figure 10.

It can be seen that on this basis, Quick CoPS indicates that Emily should be assessed with Races and Rabbits (both received 3 ticks), Rhymes (2 ticks) and either Crayons or Toybox (both 1 tick). Both of the latter subtests would be suitable under these circumstances. Both measure fluency of verbal labelling, while Toybox is sensitive to lapses in attention and concentration and Crayons is more sensitive to weaknesses in sequential memory. If the teacher is unable to decide then it is perfectly acceptable to administer both these subtests (although then the administration time will take a little longer).

In Emily’s case, the teacher decided to administer Races, Rabbits, Rhymes and Crayons. The results are shown in Table 2. In order to understand these results, users who have not yet read the chapters on test interpretation may need to consult the relevant portions of those chapters before proceeding.


Table 2. Results for Emily Pearson (age 6:5) using Quick CoPS (Standard Age Scores)

It is clear that Emily is having problems with Races (SAS 78) and Rhymes (SAS 83), whereas her performances on Rabbits and Crayons are both satisfactory (SAS 95 and 105, respectively). All the speed scores are satisfactory. This suggests that Emily’s suspected problems of attention and concentration do not give cause for great concern. She has managed to cope quite well with Rabbits, a test that demands close attention and maintenance of good concentration. Her result on Crayons suggests she does not have problems of verbal labelling and visual sequencing. However, the Races and Rhymes results suggest underlying difficulties of phonological processing and auditory memory, which are ‘classic’ symptoms of dyslexia. In fact, after the assessment, Emily’s teacher talked to her parents and they revealed that one of Emily’s cousins had been diagnosed as dyslexic the previous year, a finding which further supports the conclusion that Emily seems to be experiencing difficulties of a dyslexic nature.


Figure 10. Quick CoPS Grid for Emily Pearson (age 6:5)