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British Ability Scales, Third Edition (BAS3)

The British Ability Scales, Third Edition (BAS3) is a series of individually administered tests to assess children or teenagers for whom further understanding of their underlying ability is needed. It provides a comprehensive and flexible means of assessing different aspects of a child’s current intellectual functioning and basic educational progress.

The assessment is designed to allow the examiner to decide which elements of the test should be administered. The examiner is encouraged to consider whether the verbal tasks would give a fair measure of a deaf child's ability.

Two separate assessments are available, for early years and for school age. They are not labelled as such in the assessment resource, but the ages are given.

Age range

3–17 years, 11 months

Who can use it?

The assessment is designed to be delivered by educational and clinical psychologists. Teachers of the Deaf cannot currently use it.

What does it give us?

BAS3 provides a verbal ability score, a non-verbal reasoning ability score and a score of spatial ability. These can be compared with standardised scores.

There are three sub-scales in both batteries: verbal ability; non-verbal reasoning ability; and spatial ability. Each assessment gives a composite score for General Composite Ability (GCA). Where a child is unwilling or unable to complete the verbal scales, it is still possible to produce a composite score called the Special Non-Verbal Composite Score. The BAS also contains achievement assessments the Word Reading Scale, the Number Skills Scale and the Spelling Scale.

How is it used?

A variety of subtests are included within the BAS3.  Approximate timings for each subtest are below.

3–5 years, 11 months

Core: 32 minutes
Diagnostic: 20 minutes
Achievement: 35 minutes

6–17 years, 11 months

Core: 45 minutes
Diagnostic: 25 minutes
Achievement: 20 minutes


  • Gives a lot of flexibility to the examiner.
  • The examiner can determine how much they think the child can cope with.
  • Includes teaching items.
  • Gives a breakdown of three ability scores. The verbal score doesn’t have to be administered if the child’s language levels are low.
  • Can be compared to a standardised population.
  • Provides insight into a child's progress in school.
  • Has been co-normed with the YARC. Using the same population for the standardisation of both assessments allows discrepancies between cognitive abilities and reading comprehension to be identified and compared.


  • It can only be carried out by educational psychologists.
  • The reliance on professional judgement requires solid understanding of deaf children’s needs.
  • Write-up must include details of the language used in the assessment and considerations as to how a child's deafness may influence the results.

Is there a cost?


Where can I access it?