NSHD – Age 11 – Vocabulary

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 11 sweep using the Vocabulary measure.

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


DomainVerbal (comprehension)
Measures:Lexical Knowledge/word understanding
CHC:Gc (Crystallized intelligence)
Administration method:Teacher/psychologist/trained individual; face to face; read aloud
Procedure:After the participant completed the word reading task, the interviewer asked the child whether they knew the meaning of each word, e.g. "What is a ___", "What do we mean by ___". The interviewer noted the number of correct responses. The overall testing session at age 11 lasted under 2 hours.
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:1957_sm_nf3.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One mark for each correct word (0 - 50)
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):VOC11R, VOC11R57, VOC1157, VOC11N
Descriptives:Raw scoreNormalised score
N = 4,027N = 4,027
Range = 0 - 49Range = 50 - 153
Mean = 29.99Mean = 102.25
SD = 7.45SD = 15.33
(click image to enlarge)
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 130.33, SD = 1.06, Range = 128 - 137
Other sweep and/or cohort:NSHD – Age 8 – Vocabulary
BCS70 – Age 10 – BAS Word Definition
ALSPAC – Age 8.5 – WISC-III Vocabulary
Source:Pigeon DA. Tests used in the 1954 and 1957 surveys. In: Douglas JWB, ed. The home and the school. London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1964. (Appendix 1.)
Technical resources:None
Reference examples:Richards, M., Hardy, R., Kuh, D., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Birth weight and cognitive function in the British 1946 birth cohort: longitudinal population based study. BMJ, 322(7280), 199-203.
Kuh, D., Richards, M., Hardy, R., Butterworth, S., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2004). Childhood cognitive ability and deaths up until middle age: a post-war birth cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 33(2), 408-413.

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