When to test with CAT4
When CAT4 is administered will vary according to each school’s calendar and the purpose for which the results will be used.
Primary schools will most likely administer Levels A, B or C during the autumn term so that the diagnostic information can be used to modify, as necessary, the educational programme of an individual student or groups of students. Alternatively, these schools may choose to delay testing until students are due to transfer to their next schools, so that up-to- date information may be available to receiving schools. In such cases, it may be better to use the level of the test intended for the following academic year – for example, use Level D for students at the end of Year 6/P7 rather than Level C.
It should be remembered that the most accurate comparison with the national norms will occur when CAT4 is administered between September and November, since that was when the standardisation of CAT4 was carried out.
In receiving secondary schools, if objective test results are not available from all the contributing schools, the autumn term will be the most suitable time in which to administer CAT4.
Later use of CAT4 will be linked to the timing of particular decisions taken in the secondary school, such as the setting of end of key stage targets or the choice of appropriate examination or pre-vocational courses. Career guidance can also be greatly assisted by knowing a student’s profile of abilities as revealed by CAT4 results.
Some schools, however, will see greater advantage in choosing the spring term as a compromise between assessing what has happened and deciding what is likely to happen. There is still time to take action over weaknesses revealed by the testing, which are then less likely to be reinforced by the long summer break.
At any time of the year the new entrant to, or late transfer from, a school can be quickly and reliably assessed with the help of CAT4.