NCDS – Age 11 – Reading Comprehension Test

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The 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 11 sweep using the Reading Comprehension Test.

Details on this measure (devised by the National Foundation for Educational Research) and the data collected from the CMs are outlined in the table below.


Domain:Verbal (reading)
Measures:Reading comprehension
CHC:Gc (Crystallised)
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administrative method:Teacher at school; individually face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:The test consisted of 35 sentences. Before the test was administered the child was shown two examples which the child and teacher completed together. The child was required to read a sentence and choose from a selection of 5 words the most appropriate to complete the sentence. From the list, the child was required to underline the missing item which completed the sentence.
Duration: 20 minutes
Link to questionnaire:https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NCDS2-Guide-to-the-Dataset.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:35 items. Each correct answer receives one mark. The total of possible marks for the test is 35.
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):N923
Age of participant (months):Mean = 134.25, SD = 1.70, Range = 130 - 152
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 14,130
Range = 0 - 35
Mean = 15.98
SD = 6.29
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:NCDS – Age 16 – Reading Comprehension Test
NSHD – Age 8 – Reading Comprehension
NSHD – Age 15 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test
NSHD – Age 26 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test
Source:Constructed by National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) specifically for use in the NCDS. The test was designed to parallel the Watts-Vernon test of reading ability (Watts-Vernon, 1947).
Technical resources:Shepherd, P. Measures of ability at ages 7 to 16. National Child Development Study User Guide, 2012.
Reference examples:Butler, N. R., & Goldstein, H. (1973). Smoking in pregnancy and subsequent child development. BMJ, 4(5892), 573-575.
Blanden, J., Gregg, P., & Macmillan, L. (2006). Accounting for intergenerational income persistence: non-cognitive skills, ability and education. CEEDP (73). Centre for the Economics of Education, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 07530 2084 X

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