Monday, September 7, 2015

Smart Cookie NNAT Review

I bought Smart Cookie's 3rd/4th grade NNAT test prep book.  Chicago doesn't use the NNAT, but I am wondering if this would be good practice for cognitive skills in general.  I would say "Yes" if you are studying for a 1st grade test or doing a final format check for the NNAT with older children.

The evaluation was performed by a 7.09 year old  who will start 2nd grade tomorrow.

He did the 1st 10 questions in just a few minutes, which is bad.  Even worse, he did 8 more without being asked.  His error rate was 40%, which was good, but he corrected the incorrect answers immediately with only one more mistake.  I got no complaining at all, which is also bad.

For cognitive skills to get a workout, I would expect each question to be more of a struggle.  This summer we've been working with more advanced material that I created.  Each question takes 20 to 45 minutes and 5 tries to get correct.   It's really easy subject matter.  The only thing it teaches is thinking.  

Overall, I'm pleased with the Smart Cookie content for younger kids and those who are just starting out their test prep for the first time.  For most of the country, 95% is a good score on a GAT test and this book is good enough for a 5 or 6 year old.

We'll finish the book and report back later.


  1. Thanks so much for the reviews! Also thanks so much for posting reviews after testing it out since this way we can compare apples to apples. This also tells me that at 40% (first shot) I should not beat myself or my apple down.
    My only concern is that he is taking the 2nd grade test at 6.90 yrs. Do I up the purchase by one grade.
    Over the weekend I discovered that there is a time factor involved in testing only to be told by the teachers that they will pace the class and that I should not be concerned. But then, they are the same ones who also told me that it consists of a lot of 'puzzling pictures' and one should not worry about it.
    All through summer I have trained the child to think through and unlearn the school's timed tests. I hope I do not have not set him up to fail. I could do with your thoughts on this.

    1. This grade level is as high as it goes. Briefly, there were four 5-6 grade practice tests for sale (used), which means it's out of print. This level (3-4) is good enough. My son turned 7 in July and is probably somewhere close to the 95th percentile because we haven't done this type of test prep in a year. The great thing about the practice test is finding out where the gaps are, which in our case is going too fast. I wouldn't worry your son about taking too much time - going too fast is the big problem and not checking all of the answers before answering. You can sit there and point out his mistakes as he makes them. If he gets a whole section wrong, you have to buy him ice cream.

      My 4th grader (last year) had to go to another class room to finish every math test because he was so slow. He also hates to do arithmetic problems and generally stinks at math. But he has no problem with high school level math problems. I'm setting him up to succeed at higher level math. 4th grade math is a necessary casualty.

      When we did hard core test prep, we generally did about 5 or 6 problems each day and got about half wrong. This is counter intuitive, but the tests are about thinking.

  2. Thanks so much for your response. I have had to unlearn the school pace and learn to sit down to think through his answers. Need I say again, thanks for all your inputs and efforts. Had it not been for you, I would be so much in the dark with regard to test prep.