intelligence: Intelligence Tests
Although a strict definition of intelligence has proved elusive, a number of psychologists have argued that it can be quantified, primarily through testing. In 1905, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon devised a system for testing intelligence, with scoring based on standardized, average
The Army Alpha Test, which was first administered to nearly 2 million new recruits in World War I, and the Otis Group Intelligence Scale, were forerunners of many other group tests that are administered economically and quickly to large numbers, and were thus effective for use in schools and industry. National, standardized group tests are administered for college and graduate school entrance, and for a number of civil service positions.
The work of Binet, Terman, and Wilhelm Stern paved the way for a method of classifying intelligence in terms of a standardized measure, with standardization ensured by the large number of individuals of various ages taking the test. German psychologist L. Wilhelm Stern was the first to coin the term
One criticism of intelligence testing is that it is difficult to insure that test items are equally meaningful or difficult for members of different sociocultural groups. Testing is often considered validated in part, however, by the finding that the quantity measured by the tests can be closely correlated in American society with career and academic achievement. There has been a decline in interest in pure intelligence tests since the 1920s, with a corresponding increase in the number of mental tests that measure special aptitudes and personality factors (see psychological tests).
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