ALSPAC – Age 9 – Spelling Task

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The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 9 sweep (Focus@9) using the Spelling Task.

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


Domain:Verbal (spelling)
Measures:Spelling ability
CHC:Crystallised Intelligence (Gc)
Reading/Writing (Grw)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; clinical setting; pen and paper
Procedure:Based on a pilot study of several hundred children (Peter Bryant and Terezinha Nunes, Personal Communication). The interviewer asked the child to spell 15 words, both regular and irregular, that increased in difficulty. For each word, the interviewer i) read it aloud, and ii) used it in a sentence. The child was asked to write down the correct spelling of the word. The main score was calculated by summing the correct number of items.
Link to questionnaire:http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/researchers/our-data/clinical-measures/ (opens in new tab)
Scoring:Number of correctly spelt words (0 - 15)
Item-level variable(s):f9mw080 - f9mw103
Total score/derived variable(s):f9mw097, f9mw098
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 7,633
Range = 0 - 15
Mean = 10.19
SD = 3.49
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants:Mean = 118.49 months, SD = 3.89, Range = 105 - 140
Other sweep and/or cohort:ALSPAC – Age 7.5 – Spelling Task
Source:(Peter Bryant and Terezinha Nunes, Personal Communication)
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Hibbeln, J., Gregory, S., Iles-Caven, Y., Taylor, C. M., Emond, A., & Golding, J. (2018). Total mercury exposure in early pregnancy has no adverse association with scholastic ability of the offspring particularly if the mother eats fish. Environment International, 116, 108-115.
Khandaker, G. M., Stochl, J., Zammit, S., Lewis, G., & Jones, P. B. (2015). A population-based prospective birth cohort study of childhood neurocognitive and psychological functioning in healthy survivors of early life meningitis. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(4), 236-242.

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