BCS70 – Age 10 – BAS Matrices

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 10 sweep using the Matrices measure from the British Ability Scales (BAS).

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


Domain:Inductive, non-verbal reasoning
Measures:Non-verbal reasoning:
Non-verbal inductive reasoning, including identification of the rules governing variables in abstract figures, and formulation and testing of hypotheses about these rules
Use of verbal mediation strategies involving labelling of figures
Visuo-spatial analysis, including perception of shape, relative size and orientation
Low score:
Poor understanding of verbal instructions or visual cues
CHC:Gf (Fluid intelligence)
Administrative method:In school, pen and paper
Procedure:Each matrix was a square consisting of four or nine cells, with a blank cell in the lower right corner of each matrix. The teacher asked the child to complete each item by drawing the appropriate shape in the empty square. There were seven example items, three at the start of the exercise, then four examples when the level of difficulty increased. The task was stopped when four successive items were drawn incorrectly or when it was apparent that the level of difficulty was too great.
Duration: Total 30 minutes for 4 BAS tests
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/British-ability-scales-annotated.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:28 items, 1 point for each correct drawing
Item-level variable(s):i3617 - i3644
Total score/derived variable(s):None
Age of participants (months):Mean = 121.88, SD = 2.67, Range = 117 - 139
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 11,494
Range = 0 - 28
Mean = 15.35
SD = 5.40
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 16 – BAS Matrices (but fewer items at age 16 (11 v 28) and different format (multi-choice v drawing))
ALSPAC – Age 15.5 – WASI Matrix Reasoning (similar)
Source:Elliott, C. D., Murray, D. J. & Pearson, L. S. (1979). British Ability Scales. Slough: National Foundation for Educational Research.
Elliott, C., Murray, D., & Pearson, L. (1978). British Ability Scales. Windsor: National Foundation for Educational Research.
Technical resources:Parsons, S. (2014). Childhood cognition in the 1970 British Cohort Study, CLS Working Paper. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Reference examples:Deary, I. J., Batty, G. D., & Gale, C. R. (2008). Bright children become enlightened adults. Psychological Science, 19(1), 1-6.
Bourne, M., Bukodi, E., Betthäuser, B., & Goldthorpe, J. H. (2018). 'Persistence of the social': The role of cognitive ability in mediating the effects of social origins on educational attainment in Britain. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 58, 11-21.

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