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Recall of Designs

Normed for ages 5:0 to 17:11 (Usual age range is 6:0 to 17:11; Out of level age range is 5:0 to 5:11).

This subtest assesses the ability to encode and retain visual-spatial information and then use adequate levels of motor skills to reproduce the design; short-term visual recall; spatial orientation; and drawing skills. The child reproduces pictured designs that have been exposed to view for only 5 seconds and then removed.

The Recall of Designs subtest contains a total of 21 items. Sixteen items are scored 2, 1, or 0 while the last five items are scored as 3, 2, 1, or 0. Three different starting points are available (age 5:0 to 7:11 start at item 1; 8:0 to 11:11 start at item 4; 12:0 to 17:11 start at item 9).

Factor analytic findings

The Recall of Designs subtest is considered a fair measure of g across all ages (overall r = .63). This subtest contributes substantially to the Spatial factor (loading = .69). Specificity is ample for all age groups 6:0 to 17:11.

Reliability and correlational highlights

Recall of Designs is considered to possess medium overall reliability (r = .84), with reliability coefficients ranging from .79 to .89 across all of the 13 whole-age groups It correlates best with Pattern Construction (r =.57) and least with Speed of Information Processing (r = .16). It has a moderate correlation with the GCA (r = .71). Despite the obvious memory demand, Recall of Designs has relatively low correlations with other DAS subtests requiring memory: r = .35 with Recognition of Pictures, r = .25 with Recall of Objects-Immediate and .22 with Recall of Objects-Delayed, r = .19 with Recall of Digits.

Gf-Gc classification

In the Broad stratum definition of abilities, Recall of Designs is considered to be a strong measure of Visual Processing (Gv). In the Narrow stratum of abilities, it is considered to be a probable measure of Visual Memory (MV) (McGrew & Flanagan, 1998, p. 118).

Administrative and interpretive considerations

The Recall of Designs subtest is described on pages 147 to 193 in the DAS Administration and Scoring Manual and discussed on pages 55 and 56 in the DAS Introductory and Technical Handbook. The child draws the designs on paper provided that has been cut into sheets approximately 4 inches high by 5 inches wide. These authors have found that having available a stapler or a paperclip can be very useful and prevents 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.

Second attempts at drawing the designs are allowable if the child is dissatisfied with the initial drawing. The examiner should not cue the child to this possibility. A number of children will naturally trace the designs in the air while the design is in view. This is permissible so long as the child does not attempt to draw the figure on the paper. Erasing is permitted.

Although a 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. The Manual recommends writing the item number consistently in the same corner of each sheet. The examiner should, of course, also do this in each quadrant of a folded sheet of paper if folded sheets are used. Examiners should also get into the habit of 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 example of what is 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 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 memory problems. 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 refer 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 1 point since they failed only the 2-point criteria. Examiners should study the criteria, practice scoring, score very carefully with the provided templates, and seek second opinions from colleagues until they become truly proficient in scoring this subtest.

Although, as noted above, Recall of Designs is not highly correlated with other DAS memory subtests, a child with a serious memory weakness might be penalized on this subtest and might appear to have lower Spatial ability than is actually the case. Examiners should be alert to this possibility.

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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