Normed for ages 2:6 to 17:11 (Usual age range is 3:0 to 17:11; Out of level
age range is 2:6 to 2:11).
This subtest assesses short-term auditory sequential recall. The child
repeats back to the examiner a sequence of digits presented orally. The items
are arranged in eight "blocks" of increasingly long digit sequences.
Sequences start with 2 digits and increase progressively up to 9 digits.
Factor analytic findings
The Recall of Digits subtest is considered a fair measure of g for ages 2:6
to 2:11 (r = .58) and a poor measure of g for all remaining ages (mean r = .41).
Specificity is ample for all age groups 2:6 to 17:11.
Reliability and correlational highlights
Recall of Digits is considered to possess medium overall reliability
(r = .87), with reliability coefficients ranging from .85 to .90 across all of
the age groups. It has low correlations with all other subtests (mean r =.24)
in the battery.
In the Broad stratum definition of abilities, Recall of Digits is considered
to be a logical measure of both Short-term Memory (Gsm). In the Narrow stratum
of abilities, it is considered to be a probable measure of Memory Span (MV)
(McGrew & Flanagan, 1998, p. 114).
Administrative and interpretive considerations
The Recall of Digits subtest is described on pages 249 to 250 in the DAS
Administration and Scoring Manual and discussed on page 66 in the DAS
Introductory and Technical Handbook. This is one of the few subtests on the
DAS that utilizes a basal and ceiling rule for selecting items. The
basal/ceiling procedure allows the examiner to give only those items that the
child has a reasonable chance of passing and does not require the child to
repeat items of the same length when the expectation is that he or she would
pass them with certainty. The items are arranged in eight "blocks" of
increasingly long digit sequences. Each child begins with item number 1 (the
item number is circled on the record form). If the or she correctly repeats the
sequence the examiner proceeds to the next block, and administers the first item
in that block (circled). Continue with the first item on each block until the
child makes a mistake. When the child fails the first item of a block, go back
to the previous block and administer the remaining items in that block. If the
child fails more than 1 item in a block, continue backward until the child has
no more than one failure in the block. This block becomes the basal. Test
forward until the child passes no more than one item in a block. That block
becomes the ceiling.
On this subtest, unlike most other DAS subtest, credit is given for items not
administered below the basal.
Items are administered at a rate of two digits per second. The use of such a
"fast" presentation prevents the child from using a verbal rehearsal
strategy during the presentation, making the subtest a purer measure of
short-term auditory memory. Examiners should practice reading digits at this
rate with a metronome or clock.
There is no "digits-reversed" aspect to this subtest. A test of
"digits-forward" requires different abilities than does a task of
"digits-reversed." The first requires a basic short-term memory while
the latter requires different processing since the child must not only remember
the digits but must also manipulate (reverse) them.
Some examiners may simply score this subtest by marking whether the child got
the items correct or incorrect and not take the time to accurately record how
the child actually repeats back the numbers. These authors strongly suggest that
examiners take the time to record verbatim the sequence of numbers that the
child remembers. This information can be potentially very useful in determining
if there is a generalized memory problem (remembering few numbers but in correct
sequence), a sequencing problem (remembering all the correct numbers but in the
wrong order), or some other potential problem.