BCS70 – Age 10 – BAS Recall of Digits

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 10 sweep using the Recall of Digits 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:Short-term auditory memory
Measures:Short term auditory sequential recall:
  • Short-term auditory memory
  • Facility in verbal expression
  • Concentration and attention
  • Low scores:
  • Use of inappropriate strategies for storage or retrieval of numbers
  • CHC:Gsm (working memory)
    Administrative method:In school, administered by teacher
    Procedure:For each item the teacher read out digits and asked the child to repeat them. The exercise increased in difficulty from remembering and repeating two digits to three digits and then up to eight digits. If the child asked for a repeat of the numbers, this was scored as incorrect. The test was stopped after four consecutive incorrect responses.
    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:34 items, 1 point for each correct recall
    Item-level variable(s):i3541 - i3574
    Total score/derived variable(s):None
    Age of participants (months):Mean = 121.88, SD = 2.67, Range = 117 - 139
    Descriptives:Raw score
    N = 11,512
    Range = 1 - 34
    Mean = 22.40
    SD = 4.28
    (click image to enlarge)
    Other sweep and/or cohort:NCDS – Child of CM (Multi-Age) – WISC-R Digit Span Subscale
    ALSPAC – Age 5 – Short-Term Memory (Digit Span Test)
    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:Montgomery, S. M., Ehlin, A., & Sacker, A. (2006). Pre-pubertal growth and cognitive function. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 91(1), 61-62.
    Gale, C. R., Hatch, S. L., Batty, G. D., & Deary, I. J. (2009). Intelligence in childhood and risk of psychological distress in adulthood: the 1958 National Child Development Survey and the 1970 British Cohort Study. Intelligence, 37(6), 592-599.

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