Intelligence Test – An Overview of Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test
An intelligence test is defined as a questionnaire or series of exercises designed to measure intelligence. A standardized test is used to establish an intelligence level rating by measuring a subject’s ability to form concepts, solve problems, acquire information, reason, and perform other intellectual operations. It is generally understood that intelligence tests are less a measure of innate ability to learn than what the person tested has already learned. There are many types of intelligence tests, and they may measure learning and/or ability in a wide variety of areas and skills. Scores may be presented as an IQ (intelligence quotient), a mental age, or on a scale.
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test
The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition is a standardized test that measures intelligence and cognitive abilities in children and adults, from age two through mature adulthood. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale is a descendant of the Binet-Simon scale which was developed in 1905 and became the first intelligence test. The Stanford-Binet intelligence scale was developed in 1916 and was revised in 1937, 1960, and 1986. The present edition was published in 1986 and is called the Stanford-Binet Fourth edition, or SB-4.
The Stanford-Binet intelligence scale is used as a tool in school placement, in determining the presence of a learning disability or a developmental delay, and in tracking intellectual development. In addition, it is sometimes included in neuropsychological testing to assess the brain function of individuals with neurological impairments.
The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale has a rich history. It is a descendant of the Binet-Simon scale which was developed in 1905 and became the first intelligence test. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale was developed in 1916 and was revised in 1937, 1960, and 1986. The present edition was published in 1986. The Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale is currently being revised and the Fifth Edition is expected to be available in the spring of 2003.
Administration of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale typically takes between 45 to 90 minutes, but can take as long as two hours, 30 minutes. The older the child and the more subtests administered, the longer the test generally takes to complete. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale is comprised of four cognitive area scores which together determine the composite score and factor scores. These area scores include: Verbal Reasoning, Abstract/Visual Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Short-Term Memory. The composite score is considered to be what the authors call the best estimate of “g” or “general reasoning ability” and is the sum of all of subtest scores. General reasoning ability or “g” is considered to represent a person’s ability to solve novel problems. The composite score is a global estimate of a person’s intellectual functioning.
The Stanford-Binet IQ Test is designed to test intelligence in four areas including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract and visual reasoning, and short-term memory skills. The Stanford-Binet also scores 15 subtests including:
- Verbal absurdities
- Pattern analysis
- Paper folding and cutting
- Number series
- Equation building
- Memory for sentences
- Memory for digits
- Memory for objects
- Bad memory
The test consists of 15 subtests, which are grouped into the four area scores. Not all subtests are administered to each age group; but six subtests are administered to all age levels. These subtests are: Vocabulary, Comprehension, Pattern Analysis, Quantitative, Bead Memory, and Memory for Sentences. The number of tests administered and general test difficulty is adjusted based on the test taker’s age and performance on the sub-test that measures word knowledge. The subtest measuring word knowledge is given to all test takers and is the first subtest administered.
The following is a review of the specific cognitive abilities that the four area scores measure. The Verbal Reasoning area score measures verbal knowledge and understanding obtained from the school and home learning environment and reflects the ability to apply verbal skills to new situations. Examples of subtests comprising this factor measure skills which include: word knowledge, social judgment and awareness, ability to isolate the inappropriate feature in visual material and social intelligence, and the ability to differentiate essential from non-essential detail.
The Abstract/Visual Reasoning area score examines the ability to interpret and perform mathematic operations, the ability to visualize patterns, visual/motor skills, and problem-solving skills through the use of reasoning. An example of a subtest which determines the Abstract/Visual Reasoning score is a timed test that involves tasks such as completing a basic puzzle and replicating black and white cube designs.
The Quantitative Reasoning area score measures: numerical reasoning, concentration, and knowledge and application of numerical concepts. The Quantitative Reasoning area is combined with the Abstract/Visual Reasoning area score to create an Abstract/Visual Reasoning Factor Score.
The Short-Term Memory score measures concentration skills, short-term memory, and sequencing skills. Subtests comprising this area score measure visual short-term memory and auditory short term memory involving both sentences and number sequences. In one subtest that measures visual short-term memory, the participant is presented with pictures of a bead design, and asked to replicate it from memory.
By and large, SB4’s reliabilities are quite good. Internal consistency for the Composite is excellent, with Kuder-Richardson 20 coefficients ranging from .95 to .99 across age levels. Reliabilities for area scores are also substantial. Internal consistency for two-, three-, and four-subtest groupings vary from .86 to .97 for Verbal Reasoning (median r = .95). Coefficients for Abstract Visual Reasoning range from .85 to .97 and show a median of .95.
Similarly, estimates for Quantitative Reasoning vary from .80 to .97 (median r = .94), and internal consistency for 5hort-Term Memory ranges from .86 to .95 (median r = .86). It is worth noting that only the Composite achieves reliability coefficients consistently greater than Kelley’s (1927) recommended threshold of .94 for making decisions about individuals. Most of the area scores attain the less conservative threshold (reliabilities ~ .85) proposed by Weiner and Stewart (1984) for individual classification. Subtest internal consistencies are lower, as would be expected from their shorter test lengths.
Nonetheless, with the exception of one sub test, median coefficients are reasonably high (range == .83 to .94 across age groups). The exceptional subtest (Memory for Objects) is located in the Short-Term Memory area, and it produces coefficients of marginal reliability (median r == .73). Thesubtest with the second lowest reliability is also in the Short-Term Memory area (Memory for Digits; median r == .83). As a result, psychologists should be alert that subtest scores from the Short-Term Memory area are likely to be less precise than subtest scores from other areas in SB4. Standard errors of measurement (SEMs), and “confidence bands” derived from SEMs, are the reliability issues most likely to affect everyday practice.
Confidence bands produce information relevant to the fallibility of test scores, and consequently help to clarify the relative verity and utility of test scores in decision making about individuals (Glutting, McDermott, & Stanley, 1987). Memory for Objects provides the least precise scores in SB4 (i.e., the largest confidence bands). Its SEM shows a median of 4.15 points across age groups. The subtest with the second largest SEM is Memory for Digits (median == 3.25). However, the SEMs of these two sub tests (and for all other more reliable subtests) are within reasonable limits.
Also, as might be expected, greater precision in scores is found when interpretations are based on the four area scores. Median SEMs for Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Visual Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Short-Term Memory are as follows: 3.9, 3.6, 3.8, and 4.8, respectively. Finally, the most precise score in SB4 is the Composite (median SEM == 2.3; all SEMs as reported in Sattler, 1992).
The Technical Manual (Thorndike et al., 1986c) calculates score stability for samples of preschoolers (5-year-olds) and children attending elementary school (8-year-olds). Preschoolers’ test-retest coefficients are reasonable for the Composite (r == .91) and for area scores (range == .71 to .78). Less stability is evident for individual subtests, and in particular for Bead Memory (r == .56). The pattern of test-retest coefficients of elementary school children is similar to that found for preschoolers.
Appreciable stability is present for the Composite (r == .90) and for the areas of Verbal Reasoning, Abstract Visual Reasoning, and Short-Term Memory (r’s == .87, .67, and .81, respectively). However, somewhat lower stability is found for the Quantitative Reasoning area (r == .51). Preschoolers’ Composites will, on average, increase approximately 8.2 points from test to retest administrations. Similarly, Composites are likely to increase by 6.4 points for elementary school children who are tested twice across short intervals. SB4 offers no stability data for examinees of junior high or high school age, or for young adults, making it difficult to approximate the score increases that might be expected of these age groups.
An impressive amount of validity information has been gathered in support of SB4. In particular, investigations have addressed developmental changes of raw scores by age; quantitative analyses of item fairness across gender and ethnic groups; correlations with other IQ tests, using samples of both normal and exceptional examinees; correlations with achievement tests; score differences between the standardization sample and special groups (individuals who are gifted, have learning disabilities, or have mental retardation); and the factor structure of SB4’s test dimensions.
- Applicable for everyone from age 2 to mature adulthood
- It helps to place children in appropriate educational settings.
- This test provides much more information about strengths and weaknesses as well as learning styles. 4. It is useful in the diagnosis of learning disability, developmental delay, mental retardation or giftedness.
- The SB has been criticized for not being comparable for all age ranges since there are different subtests for different age groups.
- Sattler, J., & Sattler, J. (1988). Assessment of children. San Diego: J.M. Sattler.
- Marom, Jenifer P.. “Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale.” Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. 2003. Retrieved February 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405700368.html
- Prewett, P. (1992). Short Forms of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition. Journal Of Psychoeducational Assessment, 10(3), 257-264. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/073428299201000305
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