cogat testing scores valid w/out Accommodations

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    • #115394

      My child’s school wants to use my son’s COGAT test scores as criteria for being placed in an advanced class. At the time of the COGAT test, he did not have a 504 plan because we were unable to schedule a 504 meeting in time to put them in place. He was identified as a child with a working memory issue and now has extended time for testing. I am trying to to convince the school that the COGAT score is not a valid indication of his ability due to the fact that he was tested without extended time and that the working memory piece clearly shows that he is unable to perform to his ability on a timed test. In fact, that score is really not valid. Do I have grounds to take this further? All his other scores would place him ion that A/C class. If I had known the school was going to use the COGAT for A/C placement, I would have held an emergency 504 meeting so that the accommodations could have been put in place for the test.

    • #115431
      Dr. Eric

      This explanation is a bit of an oversimplification, but the COGAT is a normed test.
      This means that there really is no such thing as an accommodation that does not invalidate the scores.

      There are two basic kinds of tests: criterion-based and normed.

      Criterion-based is the basic, “Do you have this skill?” It can be reading, driving, law, etc.
      These type of tests are based on a predetermined skill or criteria.
      Therefore, accommodations make sense so long as the accommodation doesn’t fundamentally change what is being measured.
      (Example, oral presentation versus written essay to prove you understand a history lesson.)

      Normative assessments are based on a complex statistical analysis where the student given a test is compared to the performance on a large norm sample that is representative of the last census of same-age or same-grade peers WHO WERE GIVEN THE TEST IDENTICALLY. This is often referred to as standardized administration or similar terms.

      For example, I have to read the test directions for these tests verbatim to the script provided.

      How a test is started, ended, scored, administered, etc. all have to be identical. Otherwise, the test scores are invalid.

      For your exact concern, it would need to be addressed by someone qualified who has the technical manual and experience with that specific assessment… which I do not.

      The technical manual will address when you can deem an overall score invalid due to a processing deficit or an outlier result. It should also explain what should be done as a proxy when you cannot use the overall score. In some tests, this can be done by calculating an estimate using a prorated scale or using a different subscale as a proxy. However, this is specific to the test and highly technical based on how the test was developed.

    • #115705
      Dr. Eric

      Stepping away from the direct question and focusing on the big picture.

      Consider inquiring about an alterantive placement criteria.

      A normed test to gain entry to an advanced class seems a little weird to me… do they have another option?
      Like grades and recommendation from a teacher in prior class?
      A criterion-based pre-test with accommodations?

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