Cognitive growth measured and explained

Easy, fast assessments of cognitive health based on the NIH Toolbox™ and the cognitive research literature


ACTIVATE™ provides an early assessment of a student’s needs and abilities. Conventional assessment processes are time-consuming and very expensive, and so they are reserved for children who demonstrate clear signs of cognitive or emotional issues. Most kids just sink or swim until a problem is noticed. By then they have already fallen behind.

Think how valuable it would be to have a simple, immediate, low-cost assessment. Think how many kids could be put on a success trajectory at the beginning of their formative years. Think how many kids could be saved from high-cost, disruptive special needs intervention programs.

Assessing cognitive growth requires scientifically designed tools. In order to combat the lack of uniformity and the questionable validity of assessment tools available to educators, parents, and clinicians, the National Institutes of Health has developed a “Toolbox” of cognitive assessments.


How Do the Cognitive Tests Work?

ACTIVATE™ incorporates four assessments from the cognitive research literature.

The Flanker Task was developed more than 15 years ago as an assessment of inhibitory control and attention. Students see five arrows in a row, all of which are pointing either to the left or right. Using the arrow keys on their keyboard, the students need to identify which way the arrow in the middle is pointing. In order to do this they need to mentally block out the arrows on either side of (flanking) the one in the middle.
The Working Memory Test: Working Memory is the “scratch pad of the mind” – the ability of the brain to keep and hold information needed to perform any given task – standing in a line, working at a math problem, or quietly sharpening a pencil. The Working Memory Test measures the strength of each student’s “scratch pad” by asking them to repeat sequences of pictures shown on their screen in a different order than shown.
The Go/No-Go Test is a simple and fun test of speed of information processing, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility. Students are instructed to tap the space bar as soon as they see the letter P – but to refrain from tapping when they see the letter R. Once they’ve completed a series of trials with “P” as the target, then they must switch and tap when they see R – but not P.

NIH Cognitive Assessments

Why cognitive assessments?

Educators and parents today are awash in data. Content assessments tell us something about what students may already know – but it’s only cognitive assessments focused on executive skills that tell us what they are capable of learning in the future – and what we can do to help.

Every student who uses ACTIVATE™ takes the cognitive assessments at the beginning and end of their cognitive cross training course. This allows us to report:

C8 Sciences™ is not affiliated in any way with the National Institutes of Health. No official endorsement of C8 Sciences™ by the National Institutes of Health is implied.