BCS70 – Age 16 – APU Vocabulary Test

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 16 sweep using the Applied Psychology Unit (APU) Vocabulary Test.

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


Domain:Verbal (vocabulary)
Measures:Vocabulary, meaning of words. Word knowledge
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Administrative method:Administered in schools and home version of the Education Pack. (variable 'bversion' identifies if administered at school (0) or home (1))
Timed conditions; Pen and paper
Procedure:75 words in the test. Each word was followed by a multiple-choice list of 5 words from which the respondent picked the one with the same meaning as the first word. The test got progressively harder.
Duration: 15 minutes
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/BCS70-16-year-Document-B.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:75 items; 1 point for each correct response
Item-level variable(s):cvo1 - cvo75
Total score/derived variable(s):BD4RREAD*
BD4READ*
BD4RDAGE*
*variables were being updated at time of writing, please check carefully
Age of participants (months):Mean = 196.72, SD = 4.49, Range = 189 - 212, (N: 3,967)*
*Based on school sample only
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 5,756
Range = 0 - 75
Mean = 42.62
SD = 12.81
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 42 – APU Vocabulary Test (shortened version - 20 items)
MCS – Age 14 – APU Vocabulary Test (shortened version - 20 items)
Source:Closs, S. J. (1976). APU vocabulary test (multiple choice format, 1986). Kent: Hodder and Stoughton Educational Ltd.
Technical resources:Levy P & Goldstein H. (1984). Tests in Education: a book of critical reviews. London: Academic Press.
Parsons, S. (2014). Childhood cognition in the 1970 British Cohort Study, CLS Working Paper. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Reference examples:Mostafa, T., & Wiggins, R. (2015). The impact of attrition and non-response in birth cohort studies: a need to incorporate missingness strategies. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 6(2), 131-146.
Sullivan, A., & M. Brown. (2015). Reading for pleasure and children's progress in vocabulary and mathematics. British Educational Research Journal, 41(6), 971-991.
Sullivan, A., & Matthew B. (2015). Vocabulary from adolescence to middle age. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 6(2), 173-189.

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