Educational evaluation and testing services for Irish schools

Why a 4th edition?

While the premise of CAT has remained exactly the same, we have made some significant changes to the new edition based on the latest cognitive research and extensive customer feedback.

A brand new suite of data rich reports

One of the most exciting features of CAT4 is the development of a brand new suite of reports, offering richer and far more comprehensive assessment data. Users can now select from a range of eight new reports, including an enhanced Group report for teachers. The inclusion of more narrative in the 3 individual reports, makes the reports much easier to read and understand, supporting the interpretation of the data further. Designed with specific audiences in mind, the reports appear in a range of different formats from PowerPoint presentations for school leadership teams and governing bodies, to easy-to-understand reports for parents and pupils. These explain what the data means and how pupils can be supported in their learning, both at home and at school.


A new structure with spatial ability at its heart


As for the test itself, one of the main changes is an increased focus on spatial ability, with the introduction of a separate test. In CAT3, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Spatial Ability were combined, however research has shown that by testing these abilities separately a more accurate assessment of a pupil’s potential is provided, allowing schools to report on these distinct abilities separately.


The spatial test has been developed from research that has found pupils with high spatial ability may find it more difficult to learn during their school careers. This is because teaching, even in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, has a strong verbal bias and pupils cannot play to their strengths even in subjects where spatial ability is required.


Identifying and recognising pupils with high spatial ability is not only important for individual pupils but also for the economy; a workforce educated to a high level in the STEM subjects is key to economic success.


Up-to-date normative data

Levels D, E, F and G fully standardised for Ireland on a sample of 6,500 pupils, providing accurate, up-to-date data. This extensive standardisation process means that teachers can be assured that CAT4 provides them with accurate data about their pupils’ potential based on the performance of today’s pupils across Ireland.


Other improvements in CAT4

In addition to the developments outlined above, the fourth edition of CAT gave the opportunity to incorporate a number of improvements which are listed below.


• The overall time for CAT4 is shorter than that for CAT3, despite the inclusion of the new Spatial Ability test. This has been achieved by reducing the number of tests in each part from three to two.

• By carefully developing question and answer options, the items in Verbal Reasoning are more up-to-date and culturally universal.

• The extent to which scoring on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning tests depends on past education has been reduced. This has been achieved by removing Sentence Completion and Equation Building, which necessitated reading comprehension skills and knowledge of mathematical conventions respectively.

• Levels of the tests are now less tightly linked to the adjacent ages, to enable each level to be more accurately pitched at the midpoint of each age group’s ability range.