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Processing speed as measured by the WISC-IV: Age and gender differences in performance and relations with achievement

25 July 2014


With the most recent revision of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV; Wechsler, 2003), processing speed has garnered recognition as its own unique construct that plays a significant role in overall intelligence. How processing speed influences intelligence and the degree to which it may affect academic performance is unknown. Previous studies have compared processing speed tasks among different gender and age groups, studying how these demographic variables may influence performance. However, most studies have utilized research-driven tasks as the metric upon which to base their findings as opposed to more commonly used commercial tests. Using the processing speed tasks from the WISC-IV and selected subtests from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III; Wechsler, 2009), data were collected from 114 participants. Contrary to previous studies, there were no significant gender performance differences. Processing speed showed a strong relationship with achievement tasks such as the Numerical Operations subtest of the WIAT-III. Verbal abilities measured by the WISC-IV were moderately linked to processing speed, and no significant relationship was found between reading fluency and processing speed. Reservations and limitations are discussed in view of the possible improvement of the representativeness of the sample and other conditions for future studies.


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