Measurement Invariance and Latent Mean Differences in the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS): Does the German Version of the RIAS Allow a Valid Assessment of Individuals with a Migration Background?

PLoS One. 2016 Nov 15;11(11):e0166533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166533. eCollection 2016.


This study examined measurement invariance and latent mean differences in the German version of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS) for 316 individuals with a migration background (defined as speaking German as a second language) and 316 sex- and age-matched natives. The RIAS measures general intelligence (single-factor structure) and its two components, verbal and nonverbal intelligence (two-factor structure). Results of a multi-group confirmatory factor analysis showed scalar invariance for the two-factor and partial scalar invariance for the single-factor structure. We conclude that the two-factor structure of the RIAS is comparable across groups. Hence, verbal and nonverbal intelligence but not general intelligence should be considered when comparing RIAS test results of individuals with and without a migration background. Further, latent mean differences especially on the verbal, but also on the nonverbal intelligence index indicate language barriers for individuals with a migration background, as subtests corresponding to verbal intelligence require higher skills in German language. Moreover, cultural, environmental, and social factors that have to be taken into account when assessing individuals with a migration background are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests / standards*
  • Intelligence*
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics / methods*

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.