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Test Overview Raven's Vocabulary Scales
Manual Sections Computerised tests
Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) Board form tests


Non-verbal tests are often misleadingly described as tests of intelligence when, in fact, they sample only certain aspects of intellectual functioning. The reason for using vocabulary scales in conjunction with the Progressive Matrices is that the two are complementary. While the Progressive Matrices test primarily for eductive ability, vocabulary tests measure reproductive ability or acquired information. Raven and Walshaws, providing a rationale for the vocabulary tests described below, said:

"The only justification for constructing scales in which vocabulary tests are indiscriminately combined with other tests appears to be that theoretically, it is impossible to design a test which is purely eductive or purely reproductive in nature Nevertheless we can construct tests in such a way that with the subjects for whom they are intended, the process to be examined is the one and only process lying nearly balanced between possibility and impossibility of occurrence. Just as we can construct tests which are mainly eductive in nature, so also we can construct tests in which the eductive processes at the time of testing are so simple and general that the recall of information, resulting from intellectual activity in the past, is the one and only decisive process: and there is every advantage in keeping the results of such a test distinct from the results of a test in which eductive activity at the time of the test is decisive."

Many of the research studies employing the Progressive Matrices have also featured a vocabulary test In some cases the Wechsler Vocabulary Scale has been used. Many studies have used the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale despite the failure of many test agencies outside the UK to market the test. The Raven's Vocabulary Scales have the advantage over subscales of other tests in that they cater for different levels of ability, and are available in multiple-choice or open-ended form, in oral or written form.


The forms of the Scales

As with the Progressive Matrices, there is a basic version of the Vocabulary test from which a number of other options derive. The basic form is the open-ended version of the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, made up of 88 words divided into two parallel sets of 44 words arranged in ascending order of difficulty.

From this the Junior and Senior versions of the test have been derived. In the former, the 22 most difficult words have been omitted in order to avoid confronting chidren with too many words they do not know. In the latter, the 20 easiest words have been omitted. In both of these, half of the words are presented in open-ended format and half in multiple-choice format. It has been possible to develop parallel forms of the tests in the same fashion that the CPM was derived from the SPM by removing the harder items and adding easier ones, a similar derivative has been prepared for the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale.

Multiple-choice vs. Open-ended versions;

The Multiple-choice sections of the test are intended to measure reproductive ability with the minimum involvment of eductive activity. Whilst this approach has been much commended it, and has been used by others, it also has some inherent disadvantages. In particular, the multiple-choice approach does not allow qualitative distinctions, so that the scores attenuate towards the upper end of the ability range. The Open-ended of Definitions approach allows a more detailed qualitative appraisal of word usage and knowledge.



The words in the Vocabulary Scales were systematically sampled from the dictionary, arranged in order of difficulty and then selected in such a way as to yield approximately equal increments in difficulty.

Specialist words known only to subsets of the population were eliminated.

The distracters for the multiple-choice sections were chosen from the wrong answers given in response to the Open-Ended form and supplemented by words of similar difficulty.

Experiment revealed that it was unsatisfactory to give double marks for good definitions, or half marks for doubtful explanations. In a similar way it was established that it was best to arrange the options from which a choice had to be made in the multiple-choice sections of the test in groups of six below the stimulus word, and not, for example, at the side.

The order of presentation of the words was revised in 1976 and 1980. In the course of the American standardisation carried out between 1984 and 1988, two words on the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, and one on the Crichton Vocabulary Scale, were changed to suit American usage.

Vocabulary tests have advantages going well beyond the assessment of reproductive ability. They can, for exam-ple, be used in the study of verbal dysfunction.

To capitalise on these advantages, a "Short Form" of the Scale was developed in which people were asked to use every fifth word in the original scale in a sentence as well as to explain its meaning. Through a cyclical process which simultaneously led to the formulation of a theory identifying the main Co-ordinates of Conduct, a classification was developed of what word usage can reveal about disintegration of intention, attention, order, and values. This was in turn used to compare and contrast the nature of the differential thought disorders found in different types of mental illness. This framework and its experimental uses are fully described in the MHV Section of the Manual.


Mill Hill vocabulary Test Crichton vocabulary Test
Mill Hill vocabulary Test

Eight versions of the Mill Hill vocabulary Scale are available. These are:

- The MHV Open-Ended, or Definitions, Form: This consists of all 88 words in open-ended format. It is not available in Junior or Senior forms, or in parallel forms.

- MHV, Forms 1 and 2, Junior: In the Junior version the 22 most difficult words have been omitted. Half the words are presented in open-ended format and half in multiple-choice format. On Form 1, the first half of the test (Set A) is in open-ended format and the second half (Set B) in multiple-choice format. On Form 2, Set A is presented in multiple-choice format and Set B in open response format.

The Junior forms are designed for respondents aged between 11 and 14 and may be administered either individually or to groups. In general, increments of about three words per year can be expected.

- MHV, Forms 1 and 2, Senior: In the Senior versions, the 20 easiest words have been omitted. Once again, on Form 1, the first half of the test (Set A) is in open-ended format and the second half (Set B) in multiple-choice format. On Form 2, the order is reversed. Forms 1 and 2, Senior and Junior, are the most widely used forms of the test.

Occassionally it may be neccessary to use only the open-response or multiple-choice halves of the Junior or Senior tests. Under these circumstances it is possible to estimate the total score which would be expected on the combined test from the normative tables provided.

- MHV, All-Multiple-Choice Junior and Senior Forms: Both of these are available in the USA. No Junior All-Multiple-Choice version is avaiable in the UK, where the Senior Form has been produced in Easy-Score format for use with the Advanced Progressive Matrices.

- MHV, Short Form: This can be used (a) to obtain a brief assessment of the respondent's ability to communicate, or (b) to collect information to aid the qualitative analysis of responses, more detailed information on word usage, thought disorder, and the use of language to organise experience, future plans, and current activities. It consists of every fifth word in the original versionof the MHV Scale, and it is administered orally to allow additional probing. Those taking the test are asked to use each word in a sentence in addition to defining it. Such qualitative information can be of particular relevance in clinical assessments.


Crichton vocabulary Test

For the Crichton Vocabulary Scale (CVS) 40 new words have been prepared to parallel the 40 easiest words from the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, and the more difficult words have been ommited. It is intended for use with children up to 11 years of age, and with older, low-scoring, people. The test is designed to be given orally. If the person being tested functions at the upper end of the scale, he or she can progress directly from the first half of the CVS to the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale





































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