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Picture Similarities

Normed for ages 2:6 to 7:11 (Usual age range is 2:6 to 5:11; Out of level age range is 6:0 to 6:11).

Picture Similarities is a non-verbal subtest that assesses a child’s reasoning ability. This task does not require a verbal response from the child. It reflects the child’s ability to solve nonverbal problems, to identify pictures, to formulate and test hypotheses, to use verbal mediation, and to attach meaning to pictures.

For each item, the child is shown a row of pictures or designs in a booklet. The child places a fifth card with a single picture or design below the stimulus picture that it best goes with. The child is asked to recognize a relationship based upon a common concept or element. The child must perceive various, possibly relevant features of drawings and engage in hypothesis testing to select the correct elements of commonality. The relationships become increasingly complex as the subtest progresses.

There are 32 items on this subtest. Children aged 2:6 to 4:5 start with item 1, while all others start at item 11. All items are scored as correct or incorrect.

Factor analytic findings

The Picture Similarities subtest is considered a fair measure of g across all ages (overall r = .53). This subtest contributes moderately to the Nonverbal factor (loading = .55). Specificity is ample for all age groups.

Reliability and correlational highlights

Picture Similarities is considered to possess Low overall reliability (r = .76), with reliability coefficients ranging from .33 to .84 across all of the nine age groups. It correlates best with Early Number Concepts (r =.44) and least with Recall of Objects (r = .17). It has a medium correlation with the GCA (r = .65).

Gf-Gc classification

In the Broad stratum definition of abilities, Picture Similarities is considered to be a logical measure of Fluid intelligence (Gf). In the Narrow stratum of abilities, it is considered to be a probable measure of Induction (I) (McGrew & Flanagan, 1998, p. 100).

Administrative and interpretive considerations

The Picture Similarities subtest is described on pages 78 to 80 in the DAS Administration and Scoring Manual and discussed on page 46 in the DAS Introductory and Technical Handbook.

Administration of this subtest is fairly straightforward. The examiner provides the child with one card at a time and instructs the child to place the card under the one picture (out of four) that it best goes with. Vertical lines between the pictures on the response booklet help the examiner determine how to score the items. Examiners should question any response that seems unclear.

Although the DAS Administration and Scoring Manual notes that the cards should be placed on the table and presented to the child one at a time, we have experienced children picking up the cards from the table and then, unfortunately, dropping them onto the floor. We have found that if examiners hold the cards in their hands and present them one at a time, the chance of them dropping is lessened.

Occasionally, a child with serious communication difficulties, such as hearing loss or Pervasive Developmental Disorder, will earn a much higher score on Picture Similarities than on the other DAS preschool subtests. Rather than either ignoring this hint of higher intellectual ability or overinterpreting a single subtest score, the examiner should seek a more comprehensive intelligence test with a similar nonlanguage format and abstract conceptual demands, such as the Leiter International Performance Scale-Revised (Roid & Miller, 1997).

Word Definitions Similarities Matrices Sequential & Quantitative Reasoning
Recall of Designs Pattern Construction Block Building Verbal Comprehension
Picture Similarities Early Number Concepts Naming Vocabulary Copying
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