CAT4 is the UK’s most widely used test of reasoning abilities for children aged 6 – 17+ years.

It is an assessment of developed abilities in areas known to make a difference to learning and achievement – namely verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial reasoning – and it provides an objective perspective on potential student achievement.

Importantly, CAT4 also provides indicators for national tests and examinations, which will be particularly useful given the absence of national data this year. For schools in England, this includes retrospective Key Stage 2 indicators, as well as 9-1 GCSE and A level indicators.

Given schools have been closed for the majority of students for a number of months this year, CAT4 can provide you with valuable baselining and transition data as schools reopen, all with national benchmarks. Please see more details below.

Important notice regarding testing during lockdown: Please note that we do not advise that CAT4 is undertaken remotely at a pupil’s home.

How can CAT4 make a difference to you this year?

CAT4 questions answered

What does CAT4 do?

Provides a rounded profile of student ability so you can target support, provide the right level of challenge and make informed decisions about students’ progress. It provides a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses across four batteries:

Verbal Reasoning – the ability to express ideas and reason through words is essential to subjects with a high language content, and the most obvious skill picked up by traditional assessment.

Non-verbal Reasoning – problem-solving using pictures and diagrams; skills which are important in a wide range of school subjects, including maths and science-based subjects.

Spatial Reasoning – the capacity to think and draw conclusions in three dimensions, needed for many STEM subjects, but not easily measured by other datasets.

Quantitative Reasoning – the ability to use numerical skills to solve problems, applicable well beyond mathematics.

Why use CAT4?

It’s statistically reliable. CAT4 was standardised on 25,000 students and it’s verified every year based on analysis from a quarter of a million students.

What does CAT4 tell you?

The true potential of students, flagging where hidden factors are affecting performance. A range of easy-to-follow individual and group reports provide a more complete picture than curriculum tests can provide by themselves. They’re benchmarked against national performance and include KS2, GCSE and A-level indicators.

How do I use CAT4?

CAT4 can be taken online or on paper at any point in the academic year. And because the data is robust it supports feedback and planning discussions with senior leaders, students and parents.

CAT4 Young Learners (a shorter, paper-based version of CAT4 adapted for young children) is available for children aged 6 - 8 years.

CAT4 is available for children aged 7:06 – 17+ years and comes in seven different levels of difficulty. Each comprises three tests of 45 minutes each; 2 hours 15 minutes in total.

Who uses CAT4?

Over three quarters of a million students take CAT4 each year.

What data will I get to help me in the absence of national data this year?

Retrospective KS2 indicators will show scaled scores for reading; grammar, punctuation and spelling; and maths. CAT4 also provides 9 – 1 GCSE indicators and A level indicators.

In addition, CAT4 provides individual scores for each student’s verbal, non-verbal, spatial and quantitative reasoning, enabling you to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and how much support they may need to catch up on lost learning.

All of the above will enable you to make valid decisions on next steps.

If you use our New Group Reading Test, Progress Test in English or Progress Test in Maths, you will also be able to compare your students’ ability with their attainment in our Combination Reports, which are available to you automatically. These will highlight easily whether students are achieving as expected or are in need of additional support.

What should I do if some students in my class cannot complete all parts of the test within the sitting timescale?

  • When setting up a sitting, only do so when you are relatively confident that all students will be able to take the test. Given the current circumstances, we recommend increasing the duration of the sitting timescale from the default 14 days to up to 30 days
  • If an individual student is unable to take Part 1 of the test (for example, due to absence), please remove them from the sitting before starting the test
  • If students cannot complete the sitting you have created, you have 30 days from the start date of the sitting for all students to complete the remaining parts. This is assuming that all students have completed Part 1
  • Return any unused credits when a sitting expires

What happens when a sitting expires?

When a sitting expires, one of two things will happen for each student individually:

  1. If they have not started the test at all, you will be reallocated that credit which you can then use on another sitting.
  2. If they have partially completed the test, they will be given an extra 30 days to complete the sitting using the same access code even though the sitting is listed as ‘expired’.

Which reports will be of most use as schools reopen?

For target-setting and potential outcomes, see your CAT4 KS2 indicators. We recommend using the Group Report for Teachers and the Excel Report.

To understand your students’ strengths and weaknesses, see your students’ profiles and standard age scores (SAS) across the four different CAT4 batteries. We recommend using the Individual Student Report for Teachers and the Excel Report.

To inform teaching strategies that will support learners as they progress through school, see CAT4 and Strategies for Learning for tailored next steps.

Can I identify key groups within my CAT4 data?

Yes. CAT4 reports allow you to view data by key group, such as Free School Meals, SEN and gender. Two additional custom fields allow you to choose your own groupings.

Can my students take a CAT4 practice test?

We strongly advise against any kind of practise ahead of a CAT4 test and we do not recommend or endorse any CAT4 practice materials.

CAT4 is a timed assessment and is administered under formal conditions. However, each section of the assessment includes introductory information with practice examples, and these will familiarise the children with the style and format of the questions. These sections are not timed and may be repeated.


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