ALSPAC – Age 8.5 – WISC-III Block Design

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The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 8.5 (Focus@8) sweep using the Block Design measure from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III).

Details on this measure and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Non-verbal ability
Measures:Planning
Spatial visualisation
Visual motor coordination
Simultaneous processing
Synthesis (part-whole relationships)
Non-verbal concept formation
CHC:Gs (Processing Speed)
Gv (Visual Processing)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; clinical setting; physical task
Procedure:The child was presented with an image or model that depicted a pattern, and was tasked with recreating the pattern with one- and two-colour blocks (white and red). The test contained 14 designs, and the child was allowed two attempts at each design. Points were awarded for completion, and bonus points were awarded based on time
Link to questionnaire:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/researchers/our-data/clinical-measures/ (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Raw scores were converted into scale scores using tables provided in the WISC manual (M = 10, SD = 3).
Item-level variable(s):Not readily available
Total score/derived variable(s):f8ws029 - f8ws059
Descriptives:Raw scoreScaled score
N = 7,324N = 7,362
Range = 0 - 68Range = 1 - 19
Mean = 32.19Mean = 10.53
SD = 12.50SD = 3.81
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants:Mean = 103.82 months, SD = 3.92, Range = 89 - 127
Other sweep and/or cohort:ALSPAC – Age 4 – WPPSI-RUK Block Design
MCS – Age 5 – BAS II Pattern Construction
MCS – Age 7 – BAS II Pattern Construction
Source:Wechsler, D. (1991). WISC-III: Wechsler intelligence scale for children: Manual. Psychological Corporation.
Technical resources:Kaufman, A. S., & Lichtenberger, E. O. (2000). Essentials of WISC-III and WPPSI-R assessment. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Reference examples:Northstone, K., Joinson, C., Emmett, P., Ness, A., & Paus, T. (2012). Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66(7), 624-628.
Bornstein, M. H., Hahn, C. S., & Wolke, D. (2013). Systems and cascades in cognitive development and academic achievement. Child Development, 84(1), 154-162.

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This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.