NCDS1 (1965)

At each of the first three follow-ups (1965, 1969 and 1974), information was obtained from four main sources: the children themselves, the parents, Local Authority Medical Officers, and schools.

After piloting in a number of local authorities, the interview schedules and questionnaires were despatched to local health authorities and to local education authorities, who organised their distribution to medical officers and health visitors who were to carry out the medical examinations and parental interviews, and to schools respectively. They also arranged for the collection of completed schedules and their return to the Bureau.

In summary: 

  • Parental Interview - the parents (in fact most commonly the mother alone) were interviewed in the home by an officer of the local authority, usually a Local Authority Health Visitor, using a structured interview schedule. 
  • Medical Examination - each child received a full medical examination from a Local Authority Medical Officer, who also carried out some special tests and completed a medical schedule, additionally using some information available from medical records to help in compiling a medical history.
  • Schools Questionnaire - the schools (usually the headteacher and class teacher(s)) completed a questionnaire providing information on the school and on the study child.
  • Subject - at age seven, the child's direct contribution to the study was limited to the completion of tests administered in school.

Parental Interview

The following areas have been covered: Father's and mother's occupation, length of parents' education, smoking habits, aspirations and expectations for child's future education and occupation, family relationships, parent-school contacts, sources of income and indices of poverty, housing circumstances, child's general health and information on accidents, hospital admissions and visits to the doctor, and details of medical history relating to vision, hearing, speech therapy, convulsions, asthma, migraine, enuresis, psychiatric problems, dental care and pubertal development.

Medical Examination

The medical officer obtained information on aspects of medical history, similar to that obtained from parents. He or she recorded the results of test of near and distant vision, hearing, speech, and motor co-ordination and measured the child's height and weight. In the course of a systematic examination, results were recorded of any findings relating to skin conditions, hernias, respiratory tract infections, and any defects in the cardiovascular system, the alimentary tract, the urogenital system, bones and joints, and the neuromuscular system.

Schools Questionnaire

The areas covered include: type and size of school, social composition and academic record of the school, provision for sex education and career advice, parent-school contacts, disciplinary methods used, size and nature of child's class, ability ratings, likely examination entries, details of any special provisions for the child, attendance record, prediction of future educational and occupational progress, and ratings of parental interest.

Teachers completed a standardised instrument to provide a description of the child's behaviour in school. At seven, this was the Bristol Social Adjustment Guide (Stott 1963).

Tests of Attainment, etc

  • Southgate Reading Test (Southgate, 1962*) - a test of word recognition and comprehension particularly suited to identifying backward readers. 
  • Copying Designs Test - to obtain some assessment of the child's perceptuo-motor ability. 
  • Drawing-A-Man Test (Goodenough, 1926**) - as an indication of the child's general mental and perceptual ability.
  • Problem Arithmetic Test (Pringle and others, 1966***).

* Southgate, V (1962) Southgate Group Reading Tests: Manual of Instructions.  University of London Press.

** Goodenough, F (1926) Measurement of Intelligence by Drawings.  World Book  Company.

*** Pringle, M.K, Butler, N, and Davie, R (1966) 11,000 Seven Year Olds. Longman, in  association with National Children's Bureau.