ALSPAC – Age 8.5 – WISC-III Vocabulary

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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 sweep (Focus@8) using the Vocabulary 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.


DomainVerbal ability
Measures:Verbal comprehension
Lexical knowledge
Long-term memory
Language development
CHC:Crystallised intelligence (Gc)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; clinical setting; oral answers
Procedure:The interviewer read aloud a list of words, asking the child to define each one in turn. Responses were scored on a 0 - 2 scale depending on the quality of response.
Link to questionnaire:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/researchers/our-data/clinical-measures/ (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Responses were scored on a 0 - 2 scale depending on the quality of response. 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):f8ws023 - f8ws053
Descriptives:Raw scoreScaled score
N = 7,371N = 7,376
Range = 0 - 48Range = 1 - 19
Mean = 23.30Mean = 10.94
SD = 7.87SD = 4.39
(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:NSHD – Age 8 – Vocabulary (similar test)
NSHD – Age 11 – Vocabulary (similar test)
BCS70 – Age 10 – BAS Word Definition (similar BAS task)
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:Horwood, J., Salvi, G., Thomas, K., Duffy, L., Gunnell, D., Hollis, C., ... & Zammit, S. (2008). IQ and non-clinical psychotic symptoms in 12-year-olds: results from the ALSPAC birth cohort. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193(3), 185-191.
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.

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