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
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).
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
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.