BCS70 – Child of CM (Multi-Age) – BAS Word Reading

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The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) assessed the children of cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 34 sweep using the Word Reading measure from the British Ability Scales (BAS).

When the CM was aged 34, child assessments were conducted with the cohort member’s children. Each of the CM’s eligible children were asked to complete three exercises designed to measure a range of verbal and numerical abilities. Although dependent on the child’s age and abilities, each set of exercises was expected to take an average of 20 minutes to complete.

The BAS Word Reading measure was administered as part of a set of ‘School Age’ exercises (for children aged between 6 and 16 years and 11 months). Details on this measure and the data collected are outlined in the table below.


Domain:School knowledge - reading (achievement scale)
Measures:Word decoding ability: Recognition and oral reading of single words (lack of contextual clues):
Recognition of printed words
Visual and auditory working memory
Skills in word analysis without additional contextual clues
Vocabulary knowledge
Low scores:
Poor visual memory
Short term auditory memory for sequences
Poor skills in phonological segmentation of words into component sounds or syllables
Poor skills in sound blending
Poor auditory discrimination
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administrative method:The child reads aloud a series of words presented on a card.
Procedure:The assessment consisted of 90 words in total. The words were organised into 9 blocks of 10 words in ascending order of difficulty. The child was asked to read each word in a block out loud to the interviewer. The number of blocks of words the child was asked to attempt to read was dependent on the child's performance during the assessment. This assessment was designed to be used with children aged from 5 years to 17 years and 11 months.
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/BCS70-2004-Guide-to-Child-Assessments.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:90 maximum possible score, 1 for each correctly pronounced word.
Item-level variable(s):baswr01 - baswr90
Total score/derived variable(s):baswrR (raw score)
baswrA (ability and age adjusted)
Age of child (months):Mean = 117.71, SD = 32.97, Range = 72 - 203
Descriptives:baswrR (raw score) baswrA (ability and age adjusted)
N2,2482,248
Range0 - 8310 - 222
Mean38.84133.3
SD15.3837.86
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:MCS – Age 7 – BAS II Word Reading
NSHD – Age 8 – Word Reading
NSHD – Age 11 – Word Reading (similar NFER task)
Source:Elliott, C. D., Smith, P., & McCulloch, K. (1996). British Ability Scales Second Edition (BAS II). Administration and Scoring Manual. London: Nelson.
Elliott, C. D., Smith, P., & McCulloch, K. (1997). British Ability Scales Second Edition (BAS II). Technical Manual. London: Nelson.
Technical resources:Parsons, S., Bynner, J., & Foudouli, V. (2005). Measuring basic skills for longitudinal study: the design and development of instruments for use with cohort members in the age 34 follow-up in the 1970 British Cohort Study. NRDC: London
Parsons, S. (2006). British Cohort Study 2004 Follow up: Guide to Child Assessment Data, CLS Working Paper.
Reference examples:Cooksey, E., Joshi, H., & Verropoulou, G. (2009). Does mothers' employment affect children's development? Evidence from the children of the British 1970 Birth Cohort and the American NLSY79. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 1(1), 95-115.
Crawford, C., Goodman, A., & Joyce, R. (2011). Explaining the socio-economic gradient in child outcomes: the inter-generational transmission of cognitive skills. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 2(1), 77-93.

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