MCS – Age 14 – APU Vocabulary Test

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 14 sweep using the Applied Psychology Unit (APU) Vocabulary Test.

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


Domain:Verbal (vocabulary)
Measures:Vocabulary
Understanding of the meaning of words
Word knowledge
The test was a shortened version of 20 items from the full test (75 items) used in the BCS70 at age 16.
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Administrative method:CAPI: CM's selected their answer by touching the word on the screen with their index finger. If they changed their mind, they could deselect the word in the same way.
Procedure:20 words in the test. Each word was followed by a multiple-choice list of 5 words from which the respondent picked the word with the same meaning as the original word. The test got progressively harder. In addition, the task was timed, 4 minutes was allowed and a warning was displayed on screen with one minute remaining and countdown from 60 seconds was shown.
The task was completed by the CM, main parent and partner. Different sets of words were used for each, with the same level of difficulty.
Duration: 4 minutes
Link to questionnaire:Not available
Scoring:20 items; 1 point for each correct response, 0 for incorrect or not attempted
Item-level variable(s):FCCMCOGA-FCCMCOGT (CM item response)
FPMCOG0A-FPMCOG0T (MAIN parent item response)
FPPCOG0A-FPPCOG0T (PARTNER item response)
Total score/derived variable(s):FCWRDSC (Total raw score CM)
FPWRDSCM (Total raw score MAIN)
FPWRDSCP (Total raw score PARTNER)
Age of participant:Mean = 171, SD = 4.06, Range = 157 - 184 (CM months)
Mean = 43.49, SD = 5.98, Range = 20 - 74 (MAIN years)
Mean = 46.09, SD = 6.54, Range = 19 - 81 (PARTNER years)
Descriptives:FCWRDSCFPWRDSCMFPWRDSCP
(CM raw score)(Total raw score MAIN)(Total raw score PARTNER)
N10,92111,0576,869
Range0 - 190 - 200 - 20
Mean7.0610.9711.91
SD2.624.44.4
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Other sweep and/or cohort:BCS70 – Age 16 – APU Vocabulary Test (original version - 75 items)
BCS70 – Age 42 – APU Vocabulary Test (20 item version)
Source:Shortened version (20 of original 75 items) of Closs, S. J. (1976). APU vocabulary test (multiple choice format, 1986). Kent: Hodder and Stoughton Educational Ltd.
Technical resources:Levy, P. & Goldstein, H. (1984). Tests in Education: a book of critical reviews. London: Academic Press.
Reference examples:Hoffmann, N. I. (2018). Cognitive achievement of children of immigrants: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study. British Educational Research Journal, 44(6), 1005-1028.
Sullivan, A., Moulton. V. & Fitzsimons, E. (2018). The intergenerational transmission of vocabulary. CLS Working Paper. London: Institute of Education.

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