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Normed for ages 3:6 to 7:11 (Usual age range is 3:6 to 5:11; Extended Age range is 6:0 to 7:11).

This subtest assesses fine-motor ability and the ability to perceive similarities between figures. Items start very simple (straight line) and progress to more complex geometric figures. No items are timed. The child sees the design the entire time while drawing.

There are 20 items on this subtest. Children aged 3:6 to 4:11 start with item 1, 5:0 to 5:11 start at item 5, while all others start at item 11. One item is scored as 0-1, fourteen items are scored 0-2, and the remaining five items are scored 0-3.

Factor analytic findings

The Copying subtest is considered a fair measure of g across all ages (overall r = .59). This subtest contributes moderately to the Nonverbal factor (loading = .61). Specificity is ample for all age groups.

Reliability and correlational highlights

Copying is considered to possess medium overall reliability (r = .86), with reliability coefficients ranging from .82 to .88 across all of the nine age groups. It correlates best with Block Building (r =.51) and least with Recall of Objects (r = .14). It has a medium correlation with the GCA (r = .65).

Gf-Gc classification

In the Broad stratum definition of abilities, Copying is considered to be a logical secondary measure of Visual Processing (Gv). In the Narrow stratum of abilities, it is considered to be a possible measure of both Visualization (VZ) and Finger Dexterity (P2) (McGrew & Flanagan, 1998, p. 110).

Administrative and interpretive considerations

The Copying subtest is described on pages 111 to 145 in the DAS Administration and Scoring Manual and discussed on pages 53 and 54 in the DAS Introductory and Technical Handbook The child is to draw the designs on paper provided that has been cut into sheets approximately 4 inches high by 5 inches wide. These authors have often found that having available a stapler or a paperclip can be very useful and prevent the problem of losing all the loose sheets of paper. It has also been suggested that examiners simply fold an 8 by 11-inch paper into quarters and allow the child to draw on the folded page. For each subsequent design, simply turn the page over to a new folded section. At the end of the subtest, you will have all the designs drawn in separate sections of the paper.

A second attempt at drawing the designs is allowable if the child is dissatisfied with the initial drawing. The examiner should not cue the child to this possibility. When a child does spontaneously attempt a second copy, score the better of the two attempts.

Although the child is allowed to rotate the paper to any position he or she wishes, the scoring of the final design is dependent on correct orientation. Examiners should get into the habit of numbering each sheet (or quadrant of the large, folded sheet) in the same place and also placing an arrow or some other mark on the paper if the child rotates the sheet so as to be able to correctly score each item later.

Although scoring is not difficult, and the DAS Administration and Scoring Manual provides many examples of what are correct and incorrect drawings, the following are noted:

Carefully study the scoring procedures in Appendix B (pp. 417-431) of the Manual and become proficient in the use of the two transparent scoring templates provided in the DAS kit. Examiners must be careful to use Set B (not A) to score straightness of lines. It would be prudent to attach a reminder note to your scoring template.

Until you are fully familiar with the scoring criteria, rather than trying to score each item as it is produced (in order to follow the 3 by 3 rule) examiners should simply administer all of the items in the age-appropriate block. This procedure speeds up administration time and, in the vast majority of cases in our experience, there was no need to go back or continue on with the next block. As one gains more experience with the scoring, it becomes fairly evident when a design has failed or when the designs are perfectly drawn.

It is important to watch as the child draws the designs since the examiner must determine if any added lines are due to poor coordination or if the child indicates that additional lines were not intended. Small gaps are also acceptable if they are due to crudeness, not misperception of the design. If either is the case, the child should not be penalized. Decorative additions as well as overworked, feathered, or scribbled lines are generally acceptable. The child may also use one of the edges of the paper as one line of drawing.

Be aware that the criteria given for scoring refers to the criteria for a specific score (e.g., a 1- or 2-point criteria). For example, the Manual notes that "Criteria for 2 points: lines are straight according to Set B (H, I fail)." Although the figures H and I fail this criterion, they are not scored as 0-points. They are scored as one point since they failed only the 2-point criteria.

Word Definitions Similarities Matrices Sequential & Quantitative Reasoning
Recall of Designs Pattern Construction Block Building Verbal Comprehension
Picture Similarities Early Number Concepts Naming Vocabulary Copying
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