Learning strategies for different CAT4 profiles

CAT4 assesses four types of reasoning, one for each of the four batteries, which each contain two tests.

  • Verbal Reasoning: the ability to understand ideas and reason through words is essential to subjects with a high language content and the most obvious skill picked up by traditional assessment. The Verbal Reasoning Battery comprises two short tests: Verbal Classification and Verbal Analogies.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: the ability to use numerical skills to solve problems – applicable well beyond mathematics. The Quantitative Reasoning Battery comprises two short tests: Number Analogies and Number Series.
  • 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. The Nonverbal Reasoning Battery comprises two short tests: Figure Classification and Figure Matrices.
  • Spatial Ability: the capacity to think and draw conclusions in three dimensions, especially important for many STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) but not easily measured by other sources of information. The Spatial Ability Battery comprises two short tests: Figure Analysis and Figure Recognition.

Learning activities differ in the extent to which they require students to process information in verbal, quantitative, non-verbal or spatial forms. In lessons, students are likely to be presented with written texts, graphs or diagrams, video clips, tabulated data, maps or other forms of information. They may be asked to take notes, to record numerically, to discuss their sources, to translate their results as charts, or to make written reports or oral presentations. A student’s ability to interpret, analyse and reason in these different media may vary greatly.

When possible, teachers should allow students to use their better-developed abilities in one area to support or scaffold their learning in another. For example, a student with strong verbal but poor quantitative reasoning ability might improve the latter through discussion about mathematical concepts or problems, rather than just working silently on worksheets or a computer

This chapter will detail how these reasoning abilities can support and enhance the learning of all students with the widest range of appropriate strategies. The strategies presented here are not a basic guide to teaching, but are meant as points for a teacher to reflect upon whether their practice is striking the optimal balance between demonstration, questioning, use of materials, etc. We draw on cognitive psychological research to shed light on why some methods might be more effective than others.

Recent evidence suggests there are core elements that are effective in nurturing the conditions for great learning. Many of these are referred to in this document, as well as specific strategies to support hypothetical examples of CAT4 results. Although the examples are hypothetical, they exemplify the types of CAT4 results that will be familiar to teachers who use CAT4 in their practice.