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
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).
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).