NSHD – Age 8 – Reading Comprehension

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The MRC National Survey of Health of Development (NSHD) assessed their cohort members (CMs) during the study’s age 8 sweep using the Reading Comprehension measure.

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:Teacher/psychologist/trained individual; face to face; pen and paper
Procedure:Participants were presented with a list of 35 sentence, and were asked to underline the correct word (from 5 different options) to complete each sentence, e.g. “Come with me to the shops to buy some (fire, water, stone, sweets, motors)”. The overall testing session at age 8 lasted under 2 hours.
Link to questionnaire:https://skylark.ucl.ac.uk/NSHD/lib/exe/fetch.php?media=questionnaires:1954_sm_nf2.pdf (opens in new tab)
Scoring:One point awarded per correct answer (0 - 35)
Item-level variable(s):Not currently available
Total score/derived variable(s):SC8R, SC8R54, SC854, SC8N
Descriptives:Raw scoreNormalised score
N = 4,259N = 4,259
Range = 0 - 34Range = 69 - 153
Mean = 14.20Mean = 102.16
SD = 7.78
SD = 15.16
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(click image to enlarge)

Age of participants:8 years 6 months
Other sweep and/or cohort:NCDS – Age 11 – Reading Comprehension Test
NCDS – Age 16 – Reading Comprehension Test
NSHD – Age 15 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test
NSHD – Age 26 – The Watts-Vernon Reading Test
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’.