Tests of Basic Skills and Cognitive Abilities ( ITBS/ CogAT)



Interpreting ITBS/CogAT Student Scores (PDF)
Descriptions of ITBS/CogAT Individual Tests (PDF)
Logo for The Iowa Tests with tagline "Measurement You Can Trust"
Our sixth grade students take the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills® (ITBS®) and the Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) while our eighth grade students take only the Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®). The purpose of these tests is to obtain a broad picture of students’ progress in attaining certain education goals as measured by national norms. The information the tests provide can be used by our school to inform our educational efforts and can be used by our students, parents, and teachers to make informed educational decisions.

The test results provide information about a student’s educational development in the following general areas:

  • The ITBS®  measures students’ achievement in vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, usage and expression, math concepts and estimation, math problem solving and data interpretation, and math computation
  • The CogAT® measures students’ verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning abilities.

The Iowa Tests are nationally normed, standardized achievements tests. Because thousands of students across the nation have taken the tests under the same conditions, the results for any student can be meaningfully compared to the results achieved by others at the same grade level. Of course, ITBS scores cannot and should not replace teachers’ and parents’ observations and judgments. However, such scores do convey a unique type of information about a student’s educational achievement. Thus, they can be a valuable supplement to other information that parents and teachers take into account in trying to identify and address a student’s educational needs.

While students should be encouraged to do their best on the tests, too much emphasis on the importance of testing may make students feel unnecessarily anxious about the outcomes. Testing should basically be given the same emphasis as all other school experiences. We hope that your daughter or son finds the tests to be a useful educational experience and that the results will be interesting and helpful to you.