Cognitive proficiency (CP) is a sensitive gauge of neurological status, but it is not typically viewed in relation to focal cerebral function. We examined CP and its relationship to general intellectual ability and seizure focus in 90 patients with pediatric epilepsy. CP was significantly lower than general ability (GA) in the overall sample. In particular, it was more deficient than GA in patients with right- than left-lateralized epilepsy onset, and in patients with frontal- than temporal-onset epilepsy. The discrepancy between CP and GA varied with participants' overall intelligence, being more pronounced (i.e., GA-CP difference larger) in individuals of lower overall ability. Deficits in CP are a defining characteristic of pediatric epilepsy and serve as an important marker of neurocognitive status, especially when seizures originate from a primary epileptogenic focus within the right hemisphere or the frontal lobe.