Interpreting CAT4

Educational evaluation and testing services for Irish schools

Formula of Words for Communicating CAT Results to parents and others

Below is a suggest text for how you can communicate CAT4 (or CAT3) outcomes to parents and others - amend as appropriate.


“Recently Patrick took an ability test called the CAT4. This test provides information on Patrick’s ability to reason using language, numbers and figural patterns (see note 1 below).

On the day (see note 2 below) Patrick achieved a national percentile rank of (number e.g. 70). This means that he performed as well or better than 70 percent of students of the same age nationally (or... in the norm group who took the test in Ireland originally).

On a scale of 1-9 this equates to a (number) which can be considered (very high, above average, average, below average, very low) performance on this test (see note 3 below).

His standard age score of (number) is intended to communicate the same information but on a scale where the average is 100.

These results (are/are not) consistent with other assessment information we have for Patrick including…(explain and name other assessments e.g. primary school reports, end of year exams etc).”



Note 1: You may want to explain about the four batteries and report scores for all four plus the overall mean SAS score i.e. you can use the formula of words when reporting separately for the verbal, quantitative, nonverbal and spatial batteries separately and/or the overall mean SAS score).

Note 2: Always discuss outcomes from any standardized tests in terms of performance on the day the test was taken and avoid giving the impression that the outcomes for students are set in stone e.g. avoid saying something like ...”he/she is performing at the 70th percentile. ” It is better to say … “he/she performed at the 70th percentile.”

Note 3: The STANINE (Standard Nine) Scale

9 = very high performance

7, 8 = above average performance

4, 5, 6 = average performance

2, 3 = below average performance

1 = very low performance

The STEN scale differs little from the STANINE scale. If you wish to use the STEN scale (Standard Ten) instead of the STANINE you can use the following conversion table:

Percentile Rank


Standard Age Score





Very High Performance

84 - 97

8 - 9

115 - 129

Above Average Performance

70 - 83


108 - 114

High Average Performance


5 - 6

93 - 107

Average Performance

16 - 30


85 - 92

Low Average Performance

3 - 15

2 - 3

70 - 84

Below Average Performance




Very Low Performance

Please feel free to adapt the text to suit your needs but be precise in terms of the language used to communicate the scores.