BCS70 – Age 5 – Schonell Reading Test (SRT)

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 5 sweep using the Schonell Reading Test (SRT).

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


Domain:Verbal (reading)
Measures:Children's reading age (of children between age 5 and 14+ years). Reading age is calculated from the number of words read correctly and compared to the child's chronological age.
CHC:Gc (Crystallized Intelligence)
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administrative method:Health visitor at home; face to face; read aloud
Procedure:Before the test was administered, the child's mother was asked if she thought the child had begun to read at all. If the mother said the child could read some words or some sentences the child was given a card with 50 words on it, which were read from left to right. When a child struggled with a word, they were asked to sound it out. If the child still couldn't say what the word was, they were asked to try the next one. The test was stopped when the child made five consecutive mistakes.
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/BCS70_age5_test_booklet.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:50 words (first of original 100). Score of one for each word read correctly.
Item-level variable(s):f099 (can the child read 68% (8,603) could not read or could only read some letters)
Total score/derived variable(s):f100 (correct responses)
f101 (incorrect responses)
Age of participant (months):Mean = 61.78, SD = 1.33, Range = 60 - 77
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 12,646
Range = 0 - 50
Mean = 1.43
SD = 3.87
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:Shortened version - original 100 words. Schonell & Goodacre (1971). The psychology and teaching of reading. London: Oliver & Boyd.
Technical resources:Parsons, S. (2014). Childhood cognition in the 1970 British Cohort Study, CLS Working Paper. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
Reference examples:Schoon, I., Parsons, S., Rush, R., & Law, J. (2010). Children's language ability and psychosocial development: A 29-year follow-up study. Pediatrics, 126(1), e73-80.
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’.