Intelligence Testing
4.)  Intelligence testing has changed over the years.  Trace the development of this significant assessment in a historical perspective.The American Psychological Association website cites that standardized intelligence testing has been called one of psychology’s greatest successes.  Attempts to develop such tests to categorize a person’s intelligence began over 100 years ago.Francis Galton devised a test to try and determine if there was a ‘hereditary genius’ that was passed on from generation to generation.  This was inspired by Darwin’s work on natural selection.  The text states on p416 that he administered this test, which tried to measure such traits as reaction time, sensory acuity and muscular power, during the 1884 London Exposition.  Although there were over 10,000 subjects tested, the results did not correlate or suggest anything of significance.Building on the idea that intelligence can be measured and used as a method of classification; there were some fundamental developments during the turn of the century.  One of these improvements was Alfred Binet’s use of standardized testing to identify learning-impaired Parisian school children in the early 1900s.  The other was the U.S. military’s use of standardized test to predict recruit’s strengths and weaknesses during World War 1.Binet’s approach was built on the theory that some children advance more rapidly than others.  Quoting the text on p416 ‘The average 9-year-old has a mental age of 9.  Children with below-average mental ages would struggle with schoolwork considered normal for their age.’  This promotes the concept of ‘mental age’.  Binet used a combination of reasoning and problem-solving questions, actually experimenting on his own children.  An important note mentioned in the text, is that he made no assumptions as to why some children were more or less advanced.

Adding to Binet’s tests, Stanford University professor Lewis Terman added new items and adjusted the age norms on the test.  This revised test is called the Stanford-Binet test, which is still in use today.  Taking things a step further, German psychologist William Stern established the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) from these tests.  The U.S. government adapted these test for recruits (and immigrants) in the world’s first mass administration of an intelligence test (text p417).  It is important to note that the results of these tests were unfortunately used to classify people and reduce immigration quotas from certain parts of Europe.  Incidentally this is something that Binet had feared (text p417).  Today aptitude or achievement tests are commonplace.  School-age children are subjected to regular aptitude testing as they progress through the elementary grades to monitor progress, culminating in the SAT (scholastic aptitude test).  In addition to focusing on children, intelligence tests have been adapted for adults.  The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test (WAIS) is the most widely used.  Most important to note in this test is the ability to pinpoint a particular learning issue.  For example, per the text on p418, ‘a low verbal comprehension score combined with high scores on other subtest could indicate a reading or language disability.’  This aspect of intelligence testing provides the most benefit in my opinion.  By being able to reliably uncover a person’s weaknesses, so they can be focused on and developed, is the true spirit of the effort.

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Such Tests And Alfred Binet’S Use. (May 31, 2021). Retrieved from