MCS – Age 5 – BAS II Picture Similarities

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 5 sweep using the Picture 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:Non-verbal reasoning (pictorial)
Measures:Reasoning ability of pre-school children:
  • Non-verbal problem solving (inductive reasoning)
  • Visual perception and analysis
  • Ability to attach meaning to pictures
  • Ability to develop and test hypotheses
  • Use of verbal mediation
  • General knowledge
  • CHC:Gf (Fluid ability)
    Administrative method:Interviewer; face to face; CM completes tasks; interviewer uses CAPI programme for instructions and recording outcome
    Procedure:For each item, the cohort member was shown a row of four pictures or designs, and the cohort member placed a fifth card below the stimulus picture it best matched. Increasing difficulty in items required the cohort member to recognise a relationship based on a common concept or element. The assessment comprised of 33 items. The number of items administered during the assessment was dependent on the age of the cohort member and their performance during the assessment. All of the cohort members started at item 11, corresponding to the start point for cohort members of their age. If a cohort member gave six or more incorrect responses in any consecutive set of eight items, then the assessment stopped. The exception to this is the first eight items at the start of the assessment, where if a cohort member gave six or more incorrect responses the CAPI routes the assessment to earlier items, which are easier, and include additional teaching items.
    Duration: 7 - 8 minutes
    Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/mcs3_cogphys.pdf (opens in new tab)
    Scoring:1 point for each correct item. Starts at item 11 and decision point at item 33.
    Item-level variable(s):ccp01s00 - ccp33s00
    ccpsta00 (starting point)
    ccpdec00 (decision point)
    Total score/derived variable(s):ccpsco00 (raw score - total number of correct responses)
    ccpsabil (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)
    ccpstscore (ability and age adjusted on BAS II age normed data)
    Age of participant (months):Mean = 62.68, SD = 3.00, Range = 53 - 74
    Descriptives:ccpsco00ccpsabilccpstscore
    (raw score)(ability adjusted)(ability and age adjusted)
    N15,18815,18815,110
    Range0 - 2310 - 11920 - 80
    Mean15.7682.0955.52
    SD3.5311.9310.28
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    Other sweep and/or cohort:None.
    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:Connelly, R. (2013). Interpreting Test Scores. Millennium Cohort Study Data Note 2013/01. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
    Reference examples:Flouri, E., Midouhas, E., & Joshi, H. (2015). Family and neighbourhood risk and children's problem behaviour: The moderating role of intelligence. Intelligence, 53, 33-42.
    Bruckauf, Z., & Chzhen, Y. (2016). Poverty and Children's Cognitive Trajectories: Evidence from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study, Innocenti Working Paper No.2016-14, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

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