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DSS-ROCF - Developmental Scoring System for the Rey-Osterrieth Complex

The ROCF assesses perceptual organization and visual memory. The Developmental Scoring System "allows the examiner to objectively evaluate ROCF performance within a developmental context and to determine the age-appropriateness of the child's Copy and Recall productions.

The DSS-ROCF measures not only the child's ability to accurately reproduce the figure, but also the child's qualitative, organizational, and stylistic approaches to the figure."

On the Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR) website (, it states: "DSS-ROCF measures four parameters of ROCF performance:
Organization, Style, Accuracy, and Errors. Age-referenced norms for these four parameters provide guidelines for determining the developmental appropriateness of a child's production. The Organization score quantifies the child's appreciation for the organizational goodness of complex, visually represented materials. The Style rating objectively categorizes the child's approach to information processing as Part-oriented, Intermediate, or Configurational.

The Accuracy score quantifies the actual ROCF elements that are accurately reproduced (independent of Organization and

The Error score quantifies the extent to which elements are distorted (rotation, perseveration, misplacement, and conflation).”




Bernstein, Jane H., & Waber, Deborah P.

Bernstein, J.H., & Waber, D.P. (1996). Developmental scoring system for the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure: Professional manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.

Contact Information: 
Cost Involved
Domain Assessed: 
Psychosocial Functioning
Age Range: 
Measure Type: 
In-depth Assessment
Measure Format: 
Administered Assessment


Number of Items: 
Average Time to Complete (min): 
Reporter Type: 
Average Time to Score (min): 
Response Format: 

To administer, place the stimulus card in front of the child and ask him/her to copy it. Afterward, remove the stimulus; give the child a new piece of paper, and ask the child to draw the design.

Wait 15 to 20 minutes and again ask the child to recall and draw the figure (without prior warning that you will ask him or her to do so).

Materials Needed: 
Testing Stimuli
Sample Items: 
DomainsScaleSample Items
Information Provided: 
Areas of Concern/Risks
Continuous Assessment
Raw Scores
Standard Scores


Training to Administer: 
Training by Experienced Clinician (4+ hours)
Training to Interpret: 
Training by Experienced Clinician (4+ hours)
Certified Psychologist
Prior Experience in Psych Testing/Interpretation

Parallel or Alternate Forms

Parallel Forms: 
Alternate Forms: 
Different Age Forms: 
Altered Version Forms: 


Age Groups
Notes on Psychometric Norms: 

Percentiles are provided for each year of age between 5 and 14.The normative sample consists of 454 children from a middle- to lower-middleclass
school district in the Northeastern United States. The sample ranged in age from 5 through 14 years. Half of the sample was female, and 90% was

Clinical Cutoffs: 
Clinical Cutoffs Description: 
Internal Consistencyn/a
Parallel/Alternate Forms
References for Reliability: 

1. Test-retest reliability has not been calculated b/c clinical considerations make this invalid (i.e., novelty of the task is required).
2. Interrater reliability: .95 for Copy condition and .94 for Recall. For style ratings, IRR was .88 for Copy and .87 for Recall productions.
3. Internal consistency is not applicable.

Content Validity Evaluated: 
References for Content Validity: 

The manual states that original normative studies of the ROCF first classified ROCF protocols by organization and style according to clinical inspection.

Construct Validity: 
Validity TypeNot knownNot foundNonclincal SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Sensitive to ChangeYes
Intervention EffectsYes
Longitudinal/Maturation EffectsYes
Sensitive to Theoretically Distinct GroupsYes
Factorial ValidityYes
References for Construct Validity: 

1. DSS-ROCF has demonstrated ability to discriminate between normative controls and children with developmental learning disabilities, ADHD, sensory
deficits (deafness), leukemia treatment-related CNS effects, high-risk infants (e.g., low birthweight), neurodevelopmental disorders (spina bifida and
hydrocephalus), and acquired head injury.
2. The correlation between clinical and operationalized/non-clinical DSS-ROCF ratings was r=.82, p<.001.
3. The correlation between clinical and operationalized/non-clinical DSS-ROCF ratings for Style was .78 across the whole sample.

Criterion Validity: 
Not KnownNot FoundNonclinical SamplesClinical SamplesDiverse Samples
Predictive Validity:Yes
Postdictive Validity: Yes
Overall Psychometric Limitations: 

Due to the nature of the test, many of the psychometric categories do not apply, and thus there is a lot of missing information. This measure has been used for many years, and this particular scoring system appears to have a solid foundation of psychometric data. This reviewer believes that this measure is psychometrically sound.



Population Information

Population Used for Measure Development: 

The measure was developed 50 years ago, and the sample used to develop the measure is different from the sample used to develop the scoring system. The scoring system was developed with 454 children (50% males and 50% females) in Kindergarten (age 5) through grade 8 (age 14). Children came from a middle- to lower-middle-class school district in the Northeastern U.S.; 90% were right-handed. The ethnic breakdown was not

Populations with which Measure Has Demonstrated Reliability and Validity: 
Medical Trauma
Use with Diverse Populations: 
Population Type: Measure Used with Members of this GroupMembers of this Group Studied in Peer-Reviewed JournalsReliableGood PsychometricsNorms AvailableMeasure Developed for this Group
1. Developmental DisabilityYes
2. DisabilitiesYes
3. Children with ADHDYes
4. Deaf ChildrenYes

Pros & Cons/References


This detailed scoring system provides important qualitative information in a developmental
context about children's approach to the task.


1. Scoring process is lengthy.
2. This measure has not been normed with ethnically diverse populations.

Author Comments: 

The complexity of the ROCF makes it a very rich source of hypotheses for the clinician.
The same complexity makes creating a scoring system a psychometric challenge (the user
will note, for example, the size--and thus overlap--of the standard deviations around the
Organization scores).
In developing the DSS we had to choose between clinical utility and psychometric rigor, and
erred on the side of the former. In the clinical setting, the instrument does not (and should
not be taken to) function as a population-standardized measurement tool. Rather, the
clinician should use it to anchor him or herself in "developmental space," so to speak, to
avoid making inferences about cognitive or (especially) neuropsychological malfunctioning
on the basis of behavioral observations that are in fact developmentally appropriate (see the
DSS-ROCF) manual for discussion.
In the research context, not only the Organization score but also the Accuracy scores
(indexing structural versus incidental elements) have been very useful in group


A PsychInfo search (6/05) for “Developmental Scoring System for the Rey-Osterrieth
Complex Figure” or “DSS ROCF” anywhere revealed that the measure has been referenced
in 24 peer-reviewed journal articles. Below is a sampling:
1. Beebe, D.W., Ris, M.D., Brown, T.M., & Dietrich, K.N. (2004). Executive functioning and
memory for the Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure Task among community dwelling
adolescents. Applied Neuropsychology, 11, 91-98.
2. Sami, N., Carte, E.T., Hinshaw, S.P. (2003). Performance of girls with ADHD and
comparison girls on the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure: Evidence for executive processing
deficits. Child Neuropsychology, 9(4), 237-254.
3. Waber, D.P., Bernstein, J.H. (1995). Performance of learning-disabled and non-learningdisabled
children on the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure: Validation of the developmental
scoring system. Developmental Neuropsychology, 11(2), 237-252.
4. Waber, D.P., & Holmes, J.M. (1986). Assessing children's memory productions of the
Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 8,
5. Waber, D.P., & Holmes, J.M. (1985). Assessing children's copy productions of the Rey-
Osterrieth Complex Figure. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 7, 264-

Developer of Review: 
Marla Zucker, Ph.D.
Editor of Review: 
Madhur Kulkarni, M.S., Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Ph.D.
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, January 14, 2014