Norm Group & Study FAQ

What is the CognitiveGenesis study?

CognitiveGenesis is a comprehensive study assessing various factors associated with academic performance of elementary and secondary students in Seventh-day Adventist schools in the North American Division. The achievement levels are compared to national norms. *

* The achievement and ability tests used in Canada, though similar, are not identical to the tests used in the other eight unions and are based on a different national norm group. For the purpose of this FAQ, the information presented here refers to the United States and Bermuda.)

What is a norm group?

A norm referenced test is one that compares how a student, school, or district is doing on a test to that of other students, schools, or districts in the same age or grade group. The norm group is the representative sample of peers of the same age or the same grade in school with which to compare students.

What tests are involved in the CognitiveGenesis study?

  • Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS), gr. 3-8.
  • Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED), gr. 9 and 11
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), gr. 3-9 and 11.

What norms are available for the CognitiveGenesis study to use?

  • National norms for 2000 and 2005 for ITBS/ITED/CogAT
  • Catholic/Private (C/P) school norms for 2000 for ITBS/ITED.
  • No other norms exist for either religious or private schools.

What is the description of the National norms and the Catholic/Private (CP) school norms?

  • The National norm group includes students from public schools (90%), Catholic schools (5%), and private, non-Catholic schools (5%).
  • The C/P norm group includes students from Catholic schools (50%) and students from other religious and private schools (50%).

What norms were selected for reporting the results of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school testing?

After careful study and consideration, the CognitiveGenesis Research Team selected the 2005 National norms to use in the CognitiveGenesis study.

Why did CognitiveGenesis choose the 2005 National norms?

Criteria for selection were based on appropriateness and adequacy. In addition, the most recent norm was selected so as to be contemporary with students in the CognitiveGenesis study.

In what ways is the National normed group more appropriate to the SDA group?

Stratified on the basis of:

Geographic RegionDistrict EnrollmentSocioeconomic Status
National NormsXXX
Catholic Portion of CP Norms (50%)XX---
Private School Portion of CP Norms (50%)XX---

Group composed of:

Public SchoolsCatholic SchoolsOther Religious & Private Schools
National Norms90%5%5%
Catholic/Private (CP) Norm---50%50%

On the basis of this comparison, the National norm group represents a group more appropriate to the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) group than the Catholic/Private(C/P) group.

Another reason favoring the selection of the National norms is that the C/P norms are so heavily populated by students in Catholic schools. Few SDA parents make a decision between sending their child to a Catholic school or a SDA school. The more common choice is a local public school, a private school or a religious school that is not Catholic.

In what way is the National normed group more adequate for the SDA group?

Tests included in norms:

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS)Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED)Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
National Norm Group 2005XXX
Catholic Private School Norm Group 2000XX---

The CognitiveGenesis study uses the CogAT. The C/P norms do not have the CogAT.

The CognitiveGenesis study is intended to show more than just a student’s achievement as measured on the ITBS/ITED. The use of the CogAt provides a better understanding of a particular type of achievement known as developed ability, which predicts achievement. The National norms are more adequate because they include the CogAT.

Why is the CogAT an important component of the CognitiveGenesis study?

Without knowing the potential of a group, it is difficult to determine the meaning of their achievement. Using the achievement results (ITBS/ITED) compared with the predicted achievement information from the CogAT provides another frame of reference when interpreting scores on the achievement tests. Both tests measure different aspects of developed abilities.

In looking at achievement scores, it is important to know the composition of a group being tested in order to give meaning to the results. Ability is one component of group composition.

What is an example of the use of CogAT in predicting ability?

Group A has a percentile of 62 on achievement. Group B has a percentile of 77 on achievement. Group B appears to be achieving at a higher level than Group A. This might be because of better curriculum, better teaching, students with higher ability, or some other factor. There is no way of knowing without more information. The CogAT provides a way of measuring the developed ability of students.

If Group A has a predicted ability of 50, yet is achieving at the 62nd percentile, something is happening to make that difference beyond the predicted ability. If Group B has a predicted ability of 77, and is achieving at the 77th percentile, they are achieving at the expected level based on predicted ability.

If Group B has a predicted ability of 85, but is achieving at a percentile of 77, the question for study would focus on analyzing what is happening because the students are not achieving at the expected level.