MCS – Age 7 – BAS II Pattern Construction

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 7 sweep using the Pattern Construction 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 (Spatial problem-solving)
Measures:Non-verbal spatial ability:
  • Visuo-spatial analysis, decomposing a design into its component parts
  • Perception of relative orientation
  • Visuo-spatial matching, including size, angles and orientation
  • Spatial problem-solving, including use of strategies such as sequential assembly or trial and error, and ability to synthesize
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Low scores:
  • Poor motor control
  • CHC:Gv (Visual Processing)
    Administrative method:Home interviewer; face to face; CM completes tasks and interviewer records outcome and timing on CAPI.
    Procedure:The number of items administered during the assessment was dependent on the age of the child, and their performance during the assessment. All of the children in MCS4 started the assessment at Example C (item 8), which was the starting point appropriate for children of their age. For each, a pattern was presented to the child, and the child was asked to replicate the pattern using solid plastic cubes with black and yellow patterns on each side. On completion of each pattern, the interviewer coded whether or not the pattern was constructed correctly, and whether or not the pattern was constructed within the time limit. The patterns increased in complexity as the assessment progressed.
    Duration: 9 - 12 minutes (from data)
    Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/mcs4_cog_phys_documentation.pdf (opens in new tab)
    Scoring:Score is based on accuracy and speed. Starts at item 8 and first decision point at item 16.
    Item-level variable(s):DCSCOR0H-DCSCOR0K (Items 8 - 11)
    DCSCOR0L-DCSCOR0P (Items 12 - 16)
    DCSCOR0Q-DCSCOR0W (Items 17 - 23)
    DCSCOR0X-DCSCOR0Z (Items 24 - 26)
    DCSCOR0A-DCSCOR0G (Items 1 - 7)
    Total score/derived variable(s):DCTOTS00 (raw score - total number of correct responses)
    DCPCAB00 (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)
    DCPCTS00 (ability and age adjusted on BAS II age normed data)
    Age of participant (months):Mean = 86.73, SD = 2.98, Range = 76 - 98
    Descriptives:DCTOTS00DCPCAB00DCPCTS00
    (raw score)(ability adjusted)(ability and age adjusted)
    N13,70313,70313,703
    Range0 - 7210 - 21120 - 80
    Mean18.89116.1352.99
    SD7.0517.2511.08
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    Other sweep and/or cohort:MCS – Age 5 – BAS II Pattern Construction
    ALSPAC – Age 4 – WPPSI-RUK Block Design
    ALSPAC – Age 8.5 – WISC-III Block Design
    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:Chaplin Gray, J., Gatenby, R., Simmonds, N., & Huang, Y. (2010). Millennium Cohort Study Sweep 4: Technical Report (Second Edition). London: NatCen.
    Connelly, R. (2013). Interpreting Test Scores. Millennium Cohort Study Data Note 2013/01. 2013, London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
    Reference examples:Jones, E., Gutman, L., & Platt, L. (2013). Family stressors and children's outcomes. DfE Research Report DFE-RR254. London: Dept for Education.
    Gilligan, K. A., Flouri, E., & Farran, E. K. (2017). The contribution of spatial ability to mathematics achievement in middle childhood. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 163, 107-125.

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