Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Cogat Quantative Analogy Question

The Cogat quantitative analogies are a numerical matrix where what happens on one row has to happen on the next row.  I suppose this goes by columns as well, but not in all cases.   This question will only appear on the Kindergarten/1st Grade version of the test.  After that, I think it becomes numerical.

I doubt preschoolers are given these questions.  Way too hard, although it appears on the abbreviated battery (the 15 minute version of the test.)

Here is the simple version of the question:

Usually, the bottom right square will be blank.  The proper way to do this question is to first see that the circles increase by 2 in the top row.  The solution is to have the squares increase by 2 in the bottom row, and the end result is 5 squares in the empty box.  The figures in each box vary, and there are plenty of ways to make this wickedly hard.

We tried this out six months ago.  I could not get my son to understand that the top row was adding 2 circles from left to right.  So I created a series of questions on my testing software that only had the top row, and the answer choices were "-2 -1 0 +1 +2".   We did about 50 of these until he saw that I wanted to know what the quantitative change was from left to right in the top row.

Anyway, we came back to these recently.  He now spatially recognizes which circles arrive or leave in between the first and second boxes, and knows the top part on sight, which is kind of cool, even though he could probably do the arithmetic on his fingers.    What a great way to learn math.

When it comes to the bottom row, it's a disaster again.   In the top example, he would note that 2 triangles were added to the top row, but since the bottom row already has 3 squares, we don't need any more to get to 3.  In other words, he has his own set of rules on how this can work.  He's come up with other alternative rules as well.  Makes me wonder if this is a predictor of academic ability or of lameness, said the bitter parent.

So, I set aside our 10 minutes a day of academic work to see if we can lick these.  I really don't think this is going to matter on the CPS test.   I have my doubts that these questions are included.  But the mountain is there.

So we spent an hour (after bedtime, no less) going through about 15 of these, which he got wrong even though I explained to him how to do it and what the answer is and let him try again.  I wonder how many actual gifted kids slip through the cracks because of thinking like this.  However - note this other competitive parents - he didn't cry or give up the whole time.  He didn't get frustrated or annoyed, even though my voice got louder and I was visibly frustrated.  How weird is that?

The next night we tried again with little luck. 

The third night, he wrote his own matrix and explained it to me, and got it wrong.

I'm starting to wonder if he is going to win the argument about how to do these.

Well, thanks for reading this far.  Here's the solution.  From experience, I know that all I have to do is set this aside for a month and he'll magically get it.  Academically speaking, that works on everything, and is the secret to not getting mad at your children when they totally don't get something that they should.

But I also know that the questions on the exam are going to be super hard, so it's more important to work on those basic academic skills like paying attention than trying to devise every permutation of this question and having Jr. memorize them.