Normed for ages 2:6 to 6:11 (Usual age range is 2:6 to 5:11; Extended age
range is 6:0 to 6:11).
Verbal Comprehension assesses the child’s understanding of the language
through the receptive mode. None of the items on this subtest requires an oral
response. Items tap a child's ability with syntax and prepositional and
relational concepts; the ability to formulate and test hypotheses; the ability
to follow verbal directions; and short-term auditory memory.
There are 36 items on this subtest. Children aged 2:6 to 3:11 start with item
1, while all others start at item 13. All items are scored as 1 or 0. Although
some items require the child to acknowledge more than one item (e.g., item 15
requires that the child give to the examiner 3 toys that share some common
characteristic), no partial credit is given on any item.
The first items use a picture of a Teddy Bear on which the child points to
several features. Next the child is shown an array of toys which samples the
child’s understanding of names, of commands, and of functions. The next level
measures the child’s ability to understand prepositions, and the final items
demonstrate the child’s ability to understand complex instructions.
Factor analytic findings
The Verbal Comprehension subtest is considered a good measure of g across all
ages (overall r = .76). For ages 2:6 to 4:11, it has good g loadings, while from
ages 5:0 to 6:11, it is considered to have fair g loadings. This subtest
contributes substantially to the Verbal factor (loading = .81). Specificity is
ample for all age groups.
Reliability and correlational highlights
Verbal Comprehension is considered to possess medium overall reliability (r =
.84), with reliability coefficients ranging from .74 to .86 across all of the
age groups. It correlates best with Naming
Vocabulary (r =.64) and least with Recall of Objects (r = .18). It
has a moderate correlation with the GCA (r = .79).
In the Broad stratum definition of abilities, Verbal Comprehension is
considered to be a logical measure of Crystallized intelligence (Gc). In the
Narrow stratum of abilities, it is considered to be a probable measure of
Language Development (LD) and Listening Ability (LS) (McGrew & Flanagan,
1998, p. 98).
Administrative and interpretive considerations
The Verbal Comprehension subtest is described on pages 72 to 77 in the DAS
Administration and Scoring Manual and discussed on page 45 in the DAS
Introductory and Technical Handbook. For this subtest, all the words spoken
by the examiner are printed on the protocol itself. All instructions may be
repeated once if the child has not responded to the initial instruction or if
the child asks for repetition. Examiners should say "Listen carefully"
if necessary to gain the child's attention.
Sixteen of the 36 items begin with the words, "Give me . . ."For
these items, the examiner should hold out an open hand so the child will place
the object(s) there. It is permissible for the child to simply push the object
toward the examiner.
Items 1 through 6 require the child to point to parts of a pictured Teddy
Bear. Although most of the directions ask the child to indicate plural parts
(e.g., Teddy's eyes), the child is given credit if he or she indicates either
one or both of the body parts. Items 7 through 18 utilize the box of toys. Be
sure to take the items out of the box but do not name the items. The box should
remain on the table through these items. Items 19 through 29 use objects nested
in an inset tray. The examiner names the objects before administering item 19.
Positioning of objects (laying them flat or standing them up) and taking items
out of the inset tray or leaving them in the inset tray do not effect the
scoring of the items. Before administering the final items (30-36) with colored,
plastic chips, the examiner must make sure the child can identify the shapes and
colors. If the child cannot, the test is terminated. If the child cannot
identify the colors on request, the child should, as a precaution, be tested for