This article focuses on intelligence tests and how they are used to assess children in the public schools. Descriptions of some of the more commonly used intelligence tests in individual and group settings as well as the history of intelligence testing are also included. The article reasons why it is important that only people who are trained in appropriate test administration procedures conduct testing and why only school counselors and school psychologists should administer the non-standardized, individual tests.
Keywords Group Testing; Individual Testing; Intelligence Quotient; IQ Testing; Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test; Wechsler Intelligence Test
Intelligence is the ability to think, analyze, solve problems, and understand. There are two primary forms of intelligence, verbal and nonverbal. Verbal intelligence revolves around language problems and the skills needed to comprehend, assess and solve them. Nonverbal intelligence revolves around visual and spatial problems and the tendency to understand and solve those types of problems. Intelligence is known by many different names; among them are intelligence quotient, cognitive functioning, intellectual ability, and general ability. Overall, intelligence testing attempts to determine a student's intellectual functioning level (Logsdon, n.d.).
Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, created the first modern intelligence test in 1905 with the assistance of Theodore Simon. This was spurred by the passage of a law in 1904 that required every child to be educated in a school. But some children were not able to stay afloat with the ongoing workload that school required, and the French government needed to figure out what to do for those students. Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon developed the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale in order to identify those children who would not be able to keep up with classroom work so that they could receive additional assistance or be put into an different classroom setting. The Binet-Simon test was created as a means to evaluate a student’s vocabulary and level of understanding in regards to word relationships. Each tasks was designated an age-level that was appropriate to the skill required of it. An age was given to a task that at least 70 percent of students were able to complete correctly. Each score could then measure a student’s intellectual level and “age” and take away the number from the child’s actual age in years. If the resulting number was two years or higher, the child was said to have mental retardation. The test was revised in 1908 and again in 1911, shortly before Alfred Binet died.
In 1912 a German psychologist William Stern coined the phrase 'intelligence quotient,' sometimes better known today as IQ (Intelligence Tests, n.d.). Lewis Terman, an American professor of psychology at Stanford University, revised the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale in 1916. This revision had students demonstrate competency in many different areas, including language comprehension, eye-hand coordination, mathematical reasoning, and memory. He also used William Stern's intelligence quotient theory that an individual's intelligence could be measured by dividing mental age by chronological age and multiplying it by one hundred so there would be no decimals. He named this combination of theories and his revisions the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, a test which is still widely used today (Intelligence Tests, n.d.).
Achievement and aptitude tests are sometimes mistaken for intelligence tests because they all have commonalities and similar formats. While intelligence tests sample behavior already learned in an attempt to predict future learning, achievement tests attempt to measure what children already know about specific content areas such as mathematics and English. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the ACT test, which is used for college entrance, are examples of achievement tests. Aptitude tests are used to try to predict future performance. The Differential Aptitude Test and SAT Reasoning Test are examples of aptitude tests. Whichever assessments are chosen, it is appropriate to select instruments that work well with the child's strength and can collect achievement, aptitude, and intelligence data in varying degrees. The amount of verbal content on a test is also of special consideration when working with children who have English as their second language or who come from culturally diverse backgrounds (Selecting the Test, n.d.).
Intelligence tests are used for a variety of reasons, including to help identify students who may have learning disabilities and to help screen and identify students who may qualify for gifted and talented programs in school. Intelligence tests have also helped the nation understand that all students can learn but that they may learn in different ways. They have also helped show that some students learn more easily than others and some students learn certain things more easily than others. This reinforces the concept that teachers need to be able to present course materials in different ways to accommodate students' various learning styles because some students are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some are tactile learners, and some can use a combination of styles. It is important that assessments take into consideration the various learning styles, and multiple measures should be used when assessing intelligence in order to produce valid results (Law, 1995).
Types of Individual Intelligence Tests
Individual intelligence tests are generally comprised of open-ended questions and must be administered by a trained psychologist or testing professional who is capable of interpreting the responses as well as the behavior of the test taker during the testing session and in the classroom. Individual intelligence tests can be used for the purpose of identifying learning disabilities, usually in conjunction with other instruments.
Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children is a clinical instrument that assesses children between the ages of 3 and 18. This newly revised test can be used to determine if there are learning disabilities, and it can also aid in identifying giftedness. The original standardized test was relatively new to the assessment field and was created to better address certain testing needs, such as learning disabilities for their cultural and verbal minorities. There are a variety of core subtests grouped by mental processing and achievement as well as supplementary subtests. A mental processing test consists of two subtests, sequential processing and simultaneous processing. It takes approximately 25-70 minutes to complete the test, and the time it takes is dependent upon the student's age and number of subtests given. Test scores may be expressed as percentiles and age or grade equivalents. The test has a norm score of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 (Kaufman Assessment Battery, n.d.).
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test
The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test is a standardized test that assesses children at least two years of age. This test can be used for school placement, determining if there are learning disabilities, and for tracking intellectual development. Its 1986 revised edition was designed to be more representative of gender and race. The Stanford-Binet assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract/visual reasoning, and sort-term memory. These subjects are further divided into 15 subtests, which include vocab, comprehension, copying, number series, and various memory exercises. It takes approximately 45-90 minutes to complete the test, and the time it takes is dependent upon the student's age and number of subtests given. The resulting scores are calculated from how many items were answered, which then corresponds to a standard age score and age group. With a standard score of 100 and 16 as its standard deviation, the test is helpful in placing students in grade-levels and monitoring their development (Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, n.d.).
Wechsler Intelligence Test
Wechsler Intelligence Scales are a set of exams that are able to measure and compare children’s abilities and intellectual levels. There are three scales of Wechsler tests: the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales. These tests can be used for school placement, determining if there are learning disabilities, and designating children as gifted. Every Wechsler scale has six verbal and five performance subtests. It takes approximately 60-90 minutes to complete the test, which gives both verbal and performance IQ scores, which then comprise a full IQ score. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children is now in its third edition and includes two optional symbol search and mazes performance subtests. The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence is designed to be used with children age...
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