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The Complex Figure Test


The Complex Figure test was originally developed by Rey (1956) but was elaborated as a DA measure by Feuerstein et al. (1979) and adapted for young children by Tzuriel and Eiboshitz (1992, 1999). The Complex Figure, which is part of the LPAD (Feuerstein et al., 1979), is used extensively in clinical and educational settings.

Two versions (A and B) of the Complex Figure test were developed for young children; version B is more difficult than version A. The two versions allow assessment of transfer of learning from the easy version to the difficult version. Another possibility is to use the two versions for evaluation of cognitive education programs before and after their implementation.

The Figure shows the two versions of the test. The Complex Figure test is composed of five phases:

  1. In the first phase (Copy-I), the child is asked to copy the figure on a rectangular blank page. This phase might take between 2 and 5 minutes. No help is given in this phase except encouragement to perform the task in case the child is inhibited from starting the task.

  2. In the second phase, the child is required to draw the figure from memory (Memory-I). The child does not know in advance of that requirement and no help is given except encouragement to start performance when the child shows signs of inhibition.

  3. The third phase is a Teaching (mediation) phase in which the child is taught efficient strategies of drawing. The strategies include gathering the information systematically, planning the construction of the figure (i.e., drawing first the major lines and then secondary lines, going in clockwise order), and paying attention to precision, proportions, and the quality of lines.

  4. The fourth phase is a second copy phase (Copy-II) similar to the first phase (Copy-I).

  5. The fifth phase is a second memory phase (Memory-II) similar to the second phase (Memory-II). Comparison of copy and memory phases before and after teaching provides information about the cognitive modifiability of the child's performance in terms of accuracy, precision, and organization of the figure.

The Complex Figure has 11 components, each one given 1 point for accuracy and 1 for location, for a possible total score of 22. A third, qualitative, score, ranging from 1 (low) to 7 (high), is given for organization.

The reliability of the test was studied on a sample of 15 kindergartners and first graders by two independent raters who were previously trained to rate the Complex Figure and had extensive experience in rating (Tzuriel, 1999a).

For the sake of clarity the Accuracy and Location scores were summed up, as both scores revealed a similar pattern for the majority of children. The interrater reliability coefficients computed by Pearson correlation for Accuracy + Location scores were as follows: Copy-I .99, Memory-I .98, Copy-II .98, Memory II .97. The parallel reliability coefficients for Organization scores were Copy-I .90, Memory-I .95, Copy-II .48, Memory II .78.

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