Here’s What You Need to Know
The Iowa Assessments achievement test can be used to test your student’s knowledge of facts, basic skills, and concepts common to a specific grade tested. It will also assess year-to-year progress in your students’ learning. The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) measures your student’s logical thinking ability in correlation with the achievement test.
Using the CogAT and the Iowa Assessments together can help boost future test scores and identify students’ needs. Learn more about the CogAT here.
How to Participate
- BJU Press Testing and Evaluation (T&E) gives you flexible test dates.
- Paper/pencil testing would need to be ordered four weeks before the test date and needs to be postmarked by August 15 for spring scoring.
- Most tests will be due before August 15, based on the test date on the order.
- Available in Form E and/or CogAt
- Results for online testing are posted to parents’ accounts within seven calendar days.
- Results for paper/pencil testing are posted on your account in 10–20 business days.
- Order and submit payment directly to BJU Press Testing and Evaluation.
- THSC members save 10% on online tests when you use the special link in our member portal.
- The Iowa Assessments Online Achievement Test Form E cost $35/student or $55/student with the Cognitive Abilities Test. THSC members save 10%!
- The Iowa Assessments Form E-paper/pencil achievement test is $25/student and $40/student with the Cognitive Abilities Test.
- There are no return shipping costs for online tests. Paper/pencil test materials should be returned within 21 days of the test date. Test administrators cover the cost of returning materials to BJU Press Testing and Evaluation.
- For paper/pencil testing, parents should apply to be test administrators or search our directory. Because BJU Press employees administer online testing, approved testers are not needed for this format.
Easy Ordering Process
- To order online, sign-in to your THSC Member Portal, and we’ll walk you through the simple process.
- To order by phone, call BJU Press directly at 800-845-5731 and use THSC’s ID number for exclusive savings.
Online Testing Schedule
- Place your order two weeks prior to your test date. (Paper/pencil testing requires ordering four weeks in advance.)
More Details and Insights
Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) and BJU Press are working together to provide a more convenient testing experience.
From BJU Press:
“BJU Press Testing & Evaluation has been working with homeschool families for over 30 years, making us the most experienced and trusted provider of standardized testing. We know the process, and we’re ready to help you through every step. Our service doesn’t stop even when the tests are graded. Just call in, and we’ll help you understand the results—including how you can use the scores to help your child.
And BJU Press Testing & Evaluation is making achievement testing better than ever through online testing on your Mac or Windows computer, iPad, or Chromebook (GoogleSuite account required). With faster results (seven days), a test administrator provided and the convenience of testing at home.”
Achievement Tests and Abilities Tests Go Hand-in-Hand
As a homeschool parent, you are working with your student(s) closely. You know which subjects your child enjoys and which ones are less pleasing. But do you know what your child is able to achieve? Is your student measuring up?
Having your student take a combination of the Iowa Assessments Form E Achievement Test with the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) can help you answer these questions. Available for grades K–12, the combination test puts the scores together to give you a better view of how the results should look.
Using the CogAT with the Iowa Assessments also helps you see how your child learns so that you can choose the best way to help your student grow.
What The CogAT Is
With its many innovations, the CogAT is a trailblazer among abilities tests. It tests the growth of reasoning skills in three main areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal.
You can look at your student’s abilities using the profile narrative in the CogAT report. It compares your student to a wide variety of students from various backgrounds in both public and private schools. Students receive age-based scores as well as scores based on their grade level.
Results can be influenced by the following:
- Genetic traits
- Learning background
- Personal drive
- Individual traits
- Awareness or concentration
- Willingness to follow through
- Emotional state.
What The CogAT Includes
As you review this section, think about how your child scores in reading, as an example. *
The verbal score: This score shows how well students understand words and word combinations. Students are tested in this area by finishing sentences and showing if they are able to see the connections between words that are alike and words that are different.
The quantitative score: The quantitative score shows the student’s ability to understand and use numbers when it comes to number relationships, rules, and problem-solving methods. This is tested by asking students to build and solve math problems, recognize number patterns, and show an understanding of how numbers and their values are related.
The nonverbal score: The nonverbal score displays the students’ ability to use patterns and shapes. In school, your students use mostly verbal communication, so this score is not always an accurate picture of academic success, but it does give you an idea of your students’ reasoning ability. Students who score well in this area learn best visually (i.e., using pictures, objects, models, demonstrations, etc.) and through hands-on activities. A student’s nonverbal score is based on the ability to see similarities in figures, classify designs, and show the ability to discern figures beyond the two-dimensional.
CogAT Scores and Education
You can use CogAT results to personalize your teaching methods. What are your goals this school year? Defining these goals will allow you to use test results to support them.
- Customizing instruction
- As a homeschool parent, you can use CogAT scores to customize instruction to fit your student’s needs. The CogAT profile narrative report includes a summary of your student’s strengths and weaknesses and also offers advice on adapting lessons for individual student needs.
- Matching achievement to ability
- Do your student’s achievement test scores reflect his or her ability? As a homeschool parent, you might wonder if your student is performing as well as you should expect on standardized tests—and in school, in general. To help with this, you can compare results from the Iowa Assessments to scores from the CogAT. For example, imagine your child scored in the fiftieth percentile on the achievement test in reading, but when compared with the abilities test, you may see that your child should have scored in the seventieth percentile for that subtest. In that case, your child is performing below his ability.
- Identifying gifted and talented students
- Find out if your child qualifies for gifted programs using CogAT results. These scores provide homeschool parents with a view of their students’ performance in multiple areas. This data is shown on the CogAT profile narrative.
Combining CogAT Scores With Iowa Assessments Scores in One Report
Combined reporting of scores from CogAT and Iowa Assessments produces a single report that displays abilities and achievement scores. In addition to the profile narrative for the CogAT, the Iowa Assessments profile narrative gives a predicted score for how well the student should have done on his or her achievement test, based on the abilities test results.
How to Interpret Scores
Grade placement, textbooks, and other choices should never be based solely on test scores. Such decisions should always take into account the whole picture of your student’s ability/progress. Remember that a student’s God-given talent affects what should be expected for achievement test scores. For one student, scoring in the fortieth percentile may be an excellent accomplishment, while for another, it would not meet expectations.
Share results with your child in general terms rather than specific numbers. For example: “Your score in math computation is above average when compared with other students in your grade” or “Spelling is an area we especially want to work on together.”
Do not assume that an achievement test has measured all the important skills and objectives you are trying to teach. Viewed together with the student’s daily work, however, the test scores should confirm the progress you’ve been seeing.
Interactive Ability Profile Interpretation System
A helpful resource for CogAT interpretation is the Interactive Ability Profile Interpretation System. This free resource assists with the interpretation of CogAT Ability Score Profiles. After entering in your student’s Ability Profile, the system will generate an explanation of the Profile, Characteristics of Student, Instructional Suggestions, and General Suggestions. These will include tips for improving your teaching based on CogAT scores.
To try out a sample of the Interactive Ability Profile Interpretation System, you can enter the sample score, 7 C (V+ Q-) on the publisher’s website
Four Easy Steps
- Contact BJU Press
- Connect to Testing & Evaluation department
- Mention that you are a member of Texas Home School Coalition
- Place an order with a representative.
Free CogAT Practice Tests
After you place your CogAT order, you will also have access to CogAT practice tests via email (upon request). There are several sample questions per section. These sample questions will familiarize your child with the style of questions included on the CogAT. An instructor guide is also provided for you via email.
CogAT Test Length
Abilities testing takes two to three hours and is completed in one day, while achievement testing takes four to eight hours over two days. If used together, the testing is spread out over three days.
As testing time gets closer, please watch for more info from BJU Press and Texas Home School Coalition. We look forward to helping you!
* Much of the information in the above section comes from the CogAT Product Guide.
Although Texas homeschoolers are not required to take standardized tests during each academic school year, homeschoolers do have the option of using different types of testing to determine grade placement and to assess their child’s academic progress throughout the years. Many parents also choose to have their children take the PSAT during their junior year, which can open up scholarship opportunities for college. Another testing group that can be beneficial to college-bound students is the SAT, ACT, AP, or CLEP tests.
For more information, please see