MCS – Age 7 – BAS II Word Reading

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 7 sweep using the Word Reading 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 (reading)
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:Home interview, face to face; verbal reading
    Procedure:The child reads aloud a series of words presented on a card. 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. All of the children in MCS4 started at the first item, as this was the starting point for children of their age.
    As the child reads the words, the interviewer records whether or not the child pronounced each word correctly in the CAPI.
    A child's progression through the assessment was dependent on the number of words they read correctly. If a child made eight errors in a block of 10 words, then the assessment stops.
    Duration: 5 - 6 minutes
    Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/mcs4_cog_phys_documentation.pdf (opens in new tab)
    Scoring:1 point for each correct word
    Item-level variable(s):DCWR0100 - DCWR9000
    Total score/derived variable(s):DCWRSC00 (raw score- total number of correct responses)
    DCWRAB00 (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)
    DCWRSD00 (ability and age adjusted on BAS II age normed data)
    Age of participant (months):Mean = 86.72, SD = 2.98, Range = 76 - 98
    Descriptives:DCWRSC00DCWRAB00DCWRSD00
    (raw score)(ability adjusted)(ability and age adjusted)
    N13,59113,59113,591
    Range0 - 9010 - 22255 - 145
    Mean44.05106.43111.27
    SD19.3730.8718.11
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    Other sweep and/or cohort:NSHD – Age 8 – Word Reading
    NSHD – Age 11 – Word Reading
    BCS70 – Child of CM (Multi-Age) – BAS Word Reading
    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. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.
    Reference examples:Russell, G., Ryder, D., Norwich, B., & Ford, T. (2015). Behavioural Difficulties that co-occur with specific word reading difficulties: A UK population based cohort study. Dyslexia, 21(2), 123-141.
    Bono, E. D., Francesconi, M., Kelly, Y., & Sacker, A. (2016). Early maternal time investment and early child outcomes. The Economic Journal, 126(596), F96-F135.
    Dickerson, A., & Popli, G. K. (2016). Persistent poverty and children's cognitive development: evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 179(2), 535-558.

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