Achievement and Abilities Tests – BJU Press

Online Testing with BJU Press

Homeschool Idaho and BJU Press are working together to provide a convenient testing experience for homeschool families in Idaho!

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. With faster results (within five to seven days), no shipping costs to pay, and a test administrator provided, the benefits will seem endless. And testing at home will save you traveling and daycare costs!

Benefits of testing

Achievement tests are a great way to track your student’s growth from year to year. The scores analyze their thinking skills and give effective info for planning your school year.

Comparing your children’s scores to other students’ scores lets you know that your children are keeping up with their peers. Homeschool Idaho will receive a group report that includes your student’s test scores, allowing Homeschool Idaho to continue to showcase to legislators the high quality of education homeschooled students in Idaho are receiving.

Achievement Tests and Abilities Tests go hand in hand

As a homeschool parent, you are working with your student 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 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 is on the CogAT?

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 students’ ability to understand and use numbers when it comes to number relationships, rules, and problem-solving methods. This is tested through 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 ability to discern figures beyond the two-dimensional.

Sample Questions

CogAT scores and education

Homeschool parents can use CogAT results to personalize their 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. These scores provide homeschool parents 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 child 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 academic 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 (

Easy ordering steps

  • Order by Phone
    • Call BJU Press directly at (800) 845-5731 to order your test(s).
    • Connect to Testing & Evaluation Dept.
    • Ask to be included in Homeschool Idaho’s group.
    • Order the Iowa Assessments you need for your students!
    • Give the date you selected to the representative.
    • The customer service representative should apply a 10% discount to your order.
    • For more details,visit

FREE CogAT Practice Tests

After you place your CogAT order, you will also have access to FREE CogAT practice tests via e-mail (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 the parent via e-mail.

How long each test takes

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 Homeschool Idaho.

At BJU Press, our desire is to partner with you as a member of Homeschool Idaho in order to make your student’s testing experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. We look forward to helping you.

* Much of the information in this section comes from the CogAT Product Guide.