BCS70 – Age 16 – Edinburgh Reading Test (Shortened Version)

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 16 sweep using the Edinburgh Reading Test (Shortened Version).

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


Domain:Verbal (reading)
Measures:Reading skills, and includes five sub-scales examining vocabulary, syntax, sequencing, comprehension and retention.
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administrative method:In school; pen and paper; (not included in the home version of the Education Pack).
Procedure75 question items in total, made up of 5 sections.
Section A: Skimming; the child skim read a recipe and responded to multiple choice questions (10 items)
Section B: Vocabulary; the child selected one from five words with the same meaning as the underlined word in a sentence (20 items)
Section C: the child read a passage and decided whether the statements agreed or disagreed with the passage (15 items)
Section D: the child read 2 different sets of 5 opinions one set at a time and indicated who of the 5 were most likely to state particular opinions (17 items)
Section E: the child read 2 different passages, after reading each one at a time the child chose from a number of options to complete an item to reproduce the sense of the passage (13 items)
Skimming (3 mins), vocabulary (11 mins), reading for facts (5-8 mins), points of view (12 mins) and comprehension (12 mins).
Duration: 5 sections each with time limits - total 44 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 answer. Overall and 5 sub-scale scores for skimming (10 items), vocabulary (20 items), reading for facts (15 items), points of view (17 items) and comprehension (13 items).
Item-level variable(s):SCR_A1 - SCR_A10 (skimming)
SCR_B1 - SCR_B20 (vocabulary)
SCR_C1 - SCR_C15 (reading for facts)
SCR_D1 - SCR_D17 (points of view)
SCR_E1 - SCR_E13 (comprehension)
Total score/derived variable(s):SCR_A
SCR_B
SCR_C
SCR_D
SCR_E
SCRTOTAL*
*excludes CM not answering all sections of tests
Age of participants (months):Mean = 191.28, SD = 1.17, Range = 191 - 206 (N: 2148)*
*Derived from completion date of document F
DescriptivesRaw score
N = 3,108
Range = 6 - 75
Mean = 54.49
SD = 13.41
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 10 – Edinburgh Reading Test (Shortened Version) (age 10 test adapted for 16 year olds)
Source:Shortened version developed from Edinburgh Reading Test by Godfrey Thompson Unit (GTU) and BCS70 survey team especially for the BCS70 at age 10. GTU (1978) Edinburgh Reading Test. Sevenoaks: Hodder and Stoughton.
Technical resources:Parsons, S. (2014). Childhood cognition in the 1970 British Cohort Study, CLS Working Paper. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Seabrook, G. & Murphy, T. (2017). Reading and Matrices Tests BCS4 (1986), CLS Datanote. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Reference examples:Sullivan, A., Parsons, S., Wiggins, R., Heath, A., & Green, F. (2014). Social origins, school type and higher education destinations. Oxford Review of Education, 40(6), 739-763.
Parsons, S., Green, F., Ploubidis, G. B., Sullivan, A., & Wiggins, R. D. (2017). The influence of private primary schooling on children's learning: Evidence from three generations of children living in the UK. British Educational Research Journal, 43(5), 823-847.

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