MCS – Age 11 – BAS II Verbal Similarities

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 11 sweep using the Verbal Similarities measure from the British Ability Scales II (BAS II).

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


Domain:Verbal (reasoning using verbal concepts)
Measures:(Acquired) verbal knowledge and verbal reasoning:
  • Verbal reasoning ability
  • Expressive language skills, including verbal fluency
  • Vocabulary knowledge
  • General knowledge
  • Abstract and logical thinking
  • Ability to distinguish between essential and superficial features
  • Level of language stimulation
  • CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
    Administrative method:Home interviewer, face to face; read to child, verbal response
    Procedure:Verbal Similarities was modified to be administered with the help of the CAPI programme. The general rule in BAS assessments is that the older the child the further into the assessment they start. As all of the cohort children were approximately the same age, they all started the assessment in the same place, at item 16, after completing Example A. The child was given three stimulus words and asked to name the class to which all the examples belong.
    Link to questionnaire:No direct link to pdf
    Scoring:All items (except Example A) are scored 1 or 0 points
    Start at item 16 (age relevant start point) to item 28. The tests will terminate at this point (item 28) unless:
    • There are less than 3 incorrect responses (the test continues from item 29 to 33) or if less than 3 correct answers (the test goes back to item 8 to item 15)

    • There are 5 consecutive incorrect answers and less than 3 correct, the assessment will stop and go back to items 8 to 15. If items 8 to 16 are difficult the test is routed back to item 1
    Item-level variable(s):ECQ01I00 - ECQ37I00
    LOW HIGH (base, ceiling)
    Total score/derived variable(s):EVSRAW (raw score - total number of correct responses)
    EVSABIL (ability adjusted - total number of correct responses, accounting for the sets of items the CM was presented with, which depended on age and successful completion of blocks of items)
    EVSTSCO (ability and age adjusted)
    Age of participant (months):Mean = 134.02, SD = 3.97, Range = 122 - 148
    Descriptives:EVSRAWEVSABILEVSTSCO
    (raw score)(ability adjusted)(ability and age adjusted)
    N13,16813,16813,168
    Range0 - 2210 - 17920 - 80
    Mean8.66120.658.69
    SD3.6417.1110.07
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    Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 10 – BAS Word Similarities (earlier version of this measure)
    ALSPAC – Age 8.5 – WISC-III Similarities (verbal similarities asked slightly differently)
    ALSPAC – Age 4 – WPPSI-RUK Similarities (both verbal and picture similarities)
    Source:Elliott, C. D., Smith, P., & McCulloch, K. (1996). British Ability Scales Second Edition (BAS II). Administration and Scoring Manual. London: Nelson.
    Technical resources:Elliott, C. D., Smith, P. & McCulloch, K. (1997). British Ability Scales Second Edition (BAS II). Technical Manual. London: Nelson.
    Gallop, K., Rose, R., Wallace, E., Williams, R., Cleary, A., Thompson, A., Burston, K., Frere-Smith, T., Dangerfield, P., & Tietz , S. Millennium Cohort Study Fifth Sweep (MCS5): Technical Report. London: Ipsos MORI. (pp. 38-41).
    Connelly, R. (2013). Interpreting Test Scores. Millennium Cohort Study Data Note 2013/01. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
    Reference examples:Brown, M., & Sullivan, A. (2014). Cognitive Development. In Platt, L (ed), Millennium Cohort Study: Initial findings from the Age 11 survey. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
    Barbuscia, A., & Mills, M. C. (2017). Cognitive development in children up to age 11 years born after ART - a longitudinal cohort study. Human Reproduction, 32(7), 1482-1488.

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