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Assessment of Intelligence


Assessment of Intelligence:

Psychologists have focused much of their attention on development of intelligence tests so that to quantify a person’s intelligence.

The benefit of these tests is that they can identify people or students who need special attention or have cognitive difficulties and help them to make positive choices. Firstly the size of head was theorized to be the representative of a person’s intelligence.

Many psychological tests are used today to assess intelligence.

Types of Tests:

Mental ability tests: most common type of test composed of

Intelligence Tests:

Focuses on intellectual potential and measures general mental ability than learned knowledge.

Aptitude Tests:

Also designed to measure potential rather than knowledge but the difference is that these tests assess specific aspect of mental ability. Example aptitude tests like differential aptitude tests measure verbal reasoning numerical ability abstract reasoning and perceptual speed in a person.

Achievement Tests:

These tests are supposed to measure the learned knowledge of an individual but a specific aspect is gauged in this too.

Example Mastery of a Subject.

Personality Tests:

These tests are designed to study aspects of personality such as interests, motivations values and attitudes.

Evolution Of Intelligence Testing

Galton’s Study of Hereditary Genius:

Galton believed that intelligence was more of a hereditary thing coined the phrase nature vs nurture to refer to the hereditary environment issue. He believed that sensory, perceptual and motor processes were the key dimensions of intelligence. His research work raised many questions about how intelligence should be measured what are its components and how much of it is inherited and how much environmentally affected.

The Benet’s Tests:

Benet’s work was based on the identification of children who could not get full benefit from the education (dullest students) binet indentified some bright and dull students through the help of their teachers and gave them tasks to complete, if the task won completed by brighter ones and failed by duller ones it was retained and a combination of such tasks was devised as a test which could distinguish dull from the bright.

According to binet, the core of intelligence consisted of complex cognitive processes like memory, imagery, comprehension and judgment his test included items to test a child’s ability to draw define abstract concepts, or as simple as touching one’s own nose or ear when instructed. He also proposed that a child’s mental ability increased with age and developed the concept of M.A mental age. M.A is an individual’s level of mental development.

Example If an average 10- year old answered a set of items in a specific way, anyone who answered that set of items was assigned a mental age of 10 years.

For an average child, MA scores correspond to his / her chronological age. Bright child’s MA will be above CA and a dull one’s will be considerably below CA.

Lewis Terman and Stanford Binet:

To incorate advances in the understanding of intelligence and its assessment, many revisions by lewis terman. Terman developed extensive forms and provide clear detailed instructions for each item on the test. Terman also applied a new scoring scheme based on intelligence quotient proposed by William stern. The IQ system enabled children of different ages to be compared. Since its publication in 1916, the Stanford-Binet test has been updated periodically at Stanford University. It now analyzes an individual’s responses in 4 content areas.

  1. Verbal Reasoning.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning.
  3. Abstract / visval Reasoning.
  4. Short-Term Memory.

The average score is 100 but the test is scored by comparing how the test takers perform as compared to other persons of the same age. The test is in its 5th edition and formally referred to as Stanford-Binet intelligence scale. The items on the test vary according to the age of the test taker.


Younger children are required to answer the test by completing some verbal tasks such as defining an orange or an envelope or copy figures, trace a path through a maze. Adults are asked to explain proverbs solve analogies (idleness vs laziness) or define words such as disproportionate and regard.

The Stanford binet test also produces separate sub scores that provide clues to a test takers particular strength and weaknesses.

Wechsler Scales (Ability to deal effectively with the environment)

WAIS Wechsler adult Intelligence Scales developed by David Wechsler in 1939 for adults also developed test for children – WISC between the ages 6-16 and Wechsler pre-school and primary scale of Intelligence – WPPSI for children 4-16 ½ the Wechsler test provides an overall IQ score as well on six verbal and five nonverbal measures.

  • This allows the examiner to separate verbal and non-verbal scores and identify the areas where an individual is locking or exceeding the expected average score.

Thus, it is good for both verbal and non-verbal representation of intelligence. Verbal scales in Wechsler scales of Intelligence.

Analogy / similarities

Example: in what ways are a lion and a tiger alike.

Comprehension - what is the advantage of keeping money in bank.

Non-Verbal – arrange the given blocks in a specific manner.

The tests were less dependent on verbal ability than the Stanford – binet test.

He used a new scoring scheme based on the normal distribution instead of the previous on IQ currently, the Stanford – Binet intelligence test also uses the same scoring scheme.

Both WAIS – IV and WISC – IV measure verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed.

Intelligence tests like Stanford –Binet and WAIS -4 are difficult to conduct and score on a large scale as they require one-on-one administration.

Currently group IQ tests are also evolving, though this kind of testing has its disadvantages like less motivation in answering questions and fewer questions asked but it has at least enabled psychologists to administer test on a large scale.

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