Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Lisa Hain, PsyD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Virginia Salzer, PhD

Third Advisor

Rick Shillabeer, PsyD


Global scores such as the FSIQ have been routinely utilized in decision making for special education eligibility. Over time, the use of the FSIQ in making important educational decisions has been replaced by a subtest analysis approach, because the FSIQ was not able to differentiate individual gifted traits, which led to heterogeneity in the gifted and talented population. In the ipsative approach, emphasis is placed on the interpretation of student performance at the subtest level rather than at the level of the global score, the latter of which can obfuscate important individual characteristics. In this sample of data drawn from a population of gifted and talented students (n =107), hierarchical cluster analysis was undertaken with the WISC-IV standard subtests in order to determine if meaningful subtypes of gifted children could be extrapolated, based upon a pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Four differential cognitive
subtypes were identified: Perceptual/Problem Solving Subtype; High Functioning
Subtype; Low Functioning/Executive Subtype; and Low Functioning/Problem Solving Subtype. WISC-IV subtest scores and achievement scores in reading, written language, and mathematics were correlated to determine if significant relationships would be present. A Pearson correlation revealed the FSIQ, which is used often in making decisions about gifted eligibility, did not have the strongest relationship with each academic area when compared with other cognitive scores. Statistically significant subtype differences were found across all cognitive variables, with the exception of Similarities. Statistically significant subtype differences were also revealed between areas of academic achievement, mainly in math calculation and math reasoning. Overall results support the use of a subtest analysis approach in determining giftedness, which promotes individualization of educational programming. Future research should center on clinical exploration of individual case studies.