Term of Art: Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test

“Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test: The most widely used intelligence test for measuring the mental skills of children. Binet was the principal author of the original test, designed to identify those French schoolchildren who were in need of special education, in the early twentieth century. He compared the performance of each child with what was average or normal for his or her age. Researchers at Stanford University in the United States later adapted the test, linking it to the concept of an intelligence quotient (IQ), and standardizing test scores round an average IQ of 100. These scores express the alleged intelligence of each child relative to his or her peers in the population. Because they are standardized, it is possible to compare the performance of children in different age-bands, or the same child across time. The items in the test have been subject to periodic revision to allow for socio-economic and cultural change.

A number of other similar intelligence tests are also now in use. However, all such instruments have been subject to criticisms of cultural, class, racial, or sexual bias, and the whole area of intelligence testing remains highly controversial, in both academic and political circles.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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