NSHD – Age 26 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 26 sweep using the Watts-Vernon Reading Test.

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


Domain:Verbal (reading)
Measures:Word comprehension/lexical knowledge
Reading comprehension
Reading decoding
CHC:Gc (Crystallized Intelligence)
Grw (Reading/Writing)
Administration method:Trained interviewer; face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:Participants were presented with a list of 45 sentence (35 from the test administered at age 15, and an additional 10 to increase difficulty and avoid ceiling effects). Participants were asked to underline the correct word (from 5 different options) to complete each sentence, e.g. "You can buy stamps at a post (station, house, shop, man, office)".
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:1972_t.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One mark for each correct sentence (0 - 45)
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):WV26R, R26R, R26N
Descriptives:Raw score
N = 3,715
Range = 0 - 35
Mean = 28.76
SD = 5.40
(click image to enlarge)
Age of participants (months):Mean = 315.88, SD = 6.04, Range = 312-356
Other sweep and/or cohort:NSHD – Age 8 – Reading Comprehension
NSHD – Age 15 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test
NCDS – Age 11 – Reading Comprehension Test
NCDS – Age 16 – Reading Comprehension Test
Source:Ministry of Education (1950). Reading Ability. London: HMSO.
Technical resources:Pigeon, D. A., Douglas, J. W. B., Ross, J. M., & Simpson, H. R. (1968). Details of the fifteen years tests. All our future. London: Davies.
Reference examples:Lovell, K., Gray, E. A., & Oliver, D. E. (1964). A further study of some cognitive and other disabilities in backward readers of average non_verbal reasoning scores. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 34(3), 275-279.
Goldstein, H. (1983). Measuring changes in educational attainment over time: Problems and possibilities. Journal of Educational Measurement, 20(4), 369-377.

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