The subtests

The subtests

There are nine subtests in the CoPS suite.

Each subtest is preceded by verbal instructions delivered by the computer, followed by a practice phase in which the student is told by the computer how to play the game. It is nevertheless worthwhile for the teacher to prepare the student for the task by explaining the scenario of the game.

Subtest name Cognitive skills being assessed
Rabbits Visual spatial sequential memory (spatial/temporal position) 
Crayons Visual-verbal sequential memory (colours)
Toybox Visual associative memory (shape and colour/pattern)
Letters Visual sequential memory (symbols)
Letter names Visual-verbal associative memory (names and symbols)
Races Auditory sequential memory (animal names)
Rhymes Phonological awareness (rhyming and alliteration)
Wock Auditory discrimination (phonemes)
Clown Colour discrimination

The order in which the subtests are attempted is not particularly important. However, it is generally not recommended that Rabbits be given as the first subtest (especially with younger students) because of the high demands which that subtest places on visual scanning, concentration and attention.

Some teachers like to use Clown or Crayons as the first subtest, because they are quite simple for students to understand and easy for them to do.

Please watch this video for a brief description and demonstration of each subtest:

NOTE: Races requires the student to know the spoken English form of the following animals:

  • Elephant
  • Hippopotamus
  • Fox
  • Bear
  • Cat
  • Goat
  • Sheep
  • Donkey
  • Rabbit
  • Squirrel
  • Mouse
  • Panda
  • Tiger
  • Monkey
  • Spider
  • Ant
  • Crab
  • Frog

Teachers can familiarise students with animals prior to CoPS testing.

More detailed breakdowns of each subtest can be found in the ‘User Manual’ in the Downloads section.

Timing of the session/s

Since the CoPS subtests can be mentally demanding and level of effort can diminish throughout long testing sessions, it is recommended that no more than two subtests are given to a student in a continuous session. This may vary according to the concentration level of the student and other factors – the teacher should use their discretion.

It is also preferable to spread the administration of the whole suite of tests over several days. Where any individual subtest result appears anomalous or unrepresentative the subtests may be re-administered after a suitable time period has elapsed.

Adaptive testing

In the adaptive subtests, the program first gives the students a series of ‘probe’ items to determine the range of optimal item sensitivity for that student. These are followed by a series of test items starting in the range of optimal item sensitivity and increasing in difficulty until the student’s current attainment or ability level has been exceeded beyond reasonable statistical error, whereupon the test ceases. The program incorporates a facility to regress to easier items should it transpire that, by chance, the result of the probe items has overestimated the student’s approximate ability or current attainment level.