BCS70 – Age 5 – English Picture Vocabulary Test (EPVT)

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 5 sweep using the English Picture Vocabulary Test (EPVT).

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


Domain:Verbal (vocabulary)
Measures:Language comprehension
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Administrative method:Health visitor at home; face to face; picture and point
Procedure:56 sets of four different pictures with a particular word associated with each set of four pictures, increasing in difficulty. The child was asked to indicate the one picture that corresponded to the given word until the child made five mistakes in a run of eight consecutive items. The first two words were drum and time, the last two are reel and coast.
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/BCS70_age5_test_booklet.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:56 sets, 1 point for each correct answer.
NB. In the original scoring, 64 children did not have a 'base' item, i.e. they did not get 5 of the first eight items correct and 1,897 children did not have a 'ceiling' item, i.e. the test was completed before they had failed to score 5 in a run of eight items. These children were not awarded a score. To include the children who had no ceiling or base item, the number of items that the children correctly identified was used instead, giving a distribution of 0 -56. For further details of the original scoring see the guide to the age 5 data on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website.
In the derived dataset f117, they appear as 0 and 60.
Item-level variable(s):f084 Error Check
f085 Base Item
f086 Ceiling Item
f087 Incorrect Responses
Total score/derived variable(s):f117 (need to account for ceiling and base items when using the raw data)
f120 (standardised)*
BD2READ*
* variables were being updated at time of writing, please check carefully
Age of participant (months):Mean = 61.78, SD = 1.33, Range = 60 - 77
Descriptives:f117 (raw score)
N = 12,235
Range = 0 - 60
Mean = 36.97
SD = 13.35
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 10 – Pictorial Language Comprehension Test (PLCT) (based on EPVT; more items)
NCDS – Child of CM (Multi-Age) – Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Revised (PPVT-R) (US version)
Source:Brimer, M. A., & Dunn, L. M. (1962). English Picture Vocabulary Test: Educational Evaluation Enterprises. English version of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT; Dunn, 1959).
Technical resources:Parsons, S. (2014). Childhood cognition in the 1970 British Cohort Study, CLS Working Paper. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Golding, J. (1975). The 1970 Birth Cohort 5-Year Follow-up: Guide to the Dataset. Bristol: University of Bristol Institute of Child Health.
Reference examples:Bijur, P. E., Haslum, M., & Golding, J. (1990). Cognitive and behavioral sequelae of mild head injury in children. Pediatrics, 86(3), 337-344.
Parsons, S., Schoon, I., Rush, R., & Law, J. (2011). Long-term outcomes for children with early language problems: Beating the odds. Children & Society, 25(3), 202-214.

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