CAT4 Assessment

In Ballinrobe Community School we use the CAT4 assessment at Senior Cycle to monitor student progress and support all students to achieve their full potential.

What is CAT4?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) is a diagnostic assessment that is designed to help students and their teachers understand how they learn and what their academic potential might be. It assesses how students think in areas that are known to make a difference to learning.
While many tests focus on a child’s attainment in core subjects, CAT4 is designed to give schools a much broader, more rounded view of each child, their potential and how they learn. Results help teachers decide about the pace of learning that is right for a student and whether additional support or challenge is needed.

Tasks involve thinking about shapes and patterns (Non-Verbal Reasoning), words (Verbal Reasoning), numbers (Quantitative Reasoning) and some questions are answered by mentally generating and transforming visual images (Spatial Ability).
CAT4 is based on years of research and development. It is a well-known assessment in schools; teachers value its ability to provide an understanding of what a child is capable of rather than defining them by their understanding of a body of knowledge in particular subjects.

How are CAT4 results used?

CAT4 provides teachers with information that can form the basis for discussions about how best a student can learn and reach his or her potential in school. Teachers are provided with an individual profile of learning preference along with a range of indicators of likely future performance. Used with other information (such as results from November assessment, for example), these data can support teaching and learning for all children.
The results of the CAT4 assessment can also be used to inform subject choice at senior cycle. The first video below explains how the CAT4 data can be used to inform subject choice for Leaving Certificate.

Useful Links


Subject Choice (

CAT4 Assessment Explained


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Ballinrobe Community School,
Convent Rd,
Friarsquarter West,
Co. Mayo.

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