The relationship between WISC performance subtest scores and reading deficiency in normal I.Q. children



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The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility of finding significant differences in the subtest scores obtained on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children by two groups of first grade children matched on I.Q., one deficient in reading ability and the other average or above in reading achievement. The groups were selected on the basis of reading achievement scores obtained on either the Metropolitan or the California Achievement Tests to participate in an experiment to test left-right discrimination in connection with reading difficulties as part of a doctoral dissertation by Thomas O. Blackmon. The groups were matched on I.Q., varying only two mean full-scale I.Q. points on the WISC and were classified in the average range according to the Wechsler classification scale. The Goodenough Draw-A-Man mean I.Q. scores for both groups were also in the average range and were equal in numerical mean I.Q. points. In comparing the test results of the two groups, it was found that the group with reading difficulties scored lower on every performance subtest on the WISC. The difference in the mean scores on the Block Design subtest was significant at the 2% level of confidence. The Picture Arrangement subtest showed the second greatest difference in the mean scores of the two groups, but the difference did not prove statistically significant. The results of this study along with the findings of several studies conducted under similar conditions seem to point to a positive relationship between skills necessary for proficiency on the performance subtests of the WISC and abilities required for success in beginning reading. The fact that success on these performance items involves the ability to perceive a whole and analyze it into its component parts, to differentiate essential from non-essential detail, and to form visual associations indicates that success in reading may be related to adequate development in perceptual and symbolic learning, especially that involving spatial relationships. Further studies of this type using larger group samples would possibly help substantiate these findings and hopefully contribute to the understanding of reading problems in normal I.Q. children.



Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Reading disability