Why schools should use cognitive ability tests

It might feel as though pupils are victims of over-testing – but what we’re not doing is testing their potential, argues one US psychologist. Joni Lakin tells Irena Barker how cognitive ability testing allows teachers to target strengths and weaknesses, and can even help to close the disadvantage gap

Focus on... cognitive ability tests

So strong is the anti-testing feeling in many Western countries that advocating the use of even more standardised tests would be viewed as a brave move. If you then argued that these tests were needed not to judge teachers but to make them better at teaching, you would be seen as even braver.

Joni Lakin, then, is certainly courageous. The associate professor at Auburn University, Alabama, and co-author of a leading US cognitive abilities test – CogAT (Form 8) – is very clear that cognitive ability testing should be a much bigger part of classroom life, and that if this happened it would ...

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