NCDS – Age 7 – Southgate Group Reading Test

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The 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 7 sweep using the Southgate Group Reading Test.

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


Domain:Verbal (reading)
Measures:Reading ability (word recognition and comprehension)
Particularly suited to identifying children with reading difficulties.
CHC:Gc (Crystallised ability)
Grw (Reading/writing)
Administrative method:Teacher at school in a group; face to face; read aloud and by the child
Procedure:On 16 (of 30) occasions, the child was given a picture of an object and had to ring the word, from 5 different options describing that object in the picture. On the other 14 occasions, the teacher read out a word and the child had to circle the correct one.
Duration: The test lasted approximately 15-20 minutes (expected 60 -90 minutes for all 4 tests at age 7).
Link to questionnaire:No direct link to pdf. Information can be found in the file ‘ncds1_1965_questionnaires_and_codebook.pdf’ which accompanies data download from UK Data Service website.
Scoring:30 items. Each correct answer receives one mark. The total of possible marks for the test is 30.
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):N92
Age of participant (months):Mean = 85.11, SD = 1.56, Range = 82 - 93
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 14,929
Range = 0 - 30
Mean = 23.34
SD = 7.14
(click image to enlarge)
Other sweep and/or cohort:None
Source:Southgate, V. (1962). Southgate Group Reading Tests: Manual of Instructions. University of London Press
Technical resources:Shepherd, P. Measures of ability at ages 7 to 16. National Child Development Study User Guide, 2012.
Pringle, M. K., Butler, N. & Davie, R. (1966). 11,000 Seven Year Olds. Longman, in association with National Children's Bureau
Reference examples:Currie, J., & Thomas, D. (1999). Early test scores, socioeconomic status and future outcomes (No. w6943). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Richards, M., Power, C., & Sacker, A. (2009). Paths to literacy and numeracy problems: evidence from two British birth cohorts. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 63(3), 239-244.

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