Limitations of the Binet-Simon Test Analysis

Development of Binet -Simon test:
French psychologist Alfred Binet was deeply concerned about seeing the biases against academically unsuccessful children. During educational law reforms, he was offered to develop an intelligence test that could help identify children with low academic vigor and would need extra assistance. Theodore Simon was also a part of the public instruction ministry. Binet and Simon had similar views about the intelligence tests; according to the intelligence, tests should be dependent upon testing candidates’ judgment skills instead of merely psychological processes. By judgment skills they meant the ability of the person to devise a series of steps to the problem at hand, that is their ability to devise a strategy, and can monitor their performance all the through the process. Thus Binet Simon through their test wanted to assess cognitive skills of high level including verbal and social understanding skills.The tests given to children in the Binet-Simon test were individual tasks and not group tasks; after one task the next task would be a high level of difficulty. Each task represented the cognitive judgmental skill that a child usually has at that particular age. The highest age level task that I child could do was known as their mental age. This test can be easily applied to multiple populations since they are comparing the skills of a child to that of normal cognitive skills found in other children of that age. Thus Binet-Simon test had great practical applications and the ability to diagnose learning difficulties in children. They carried out their experiments with five different age groups and ten children were taken in each age group. Thirty tasks were given in the test with each task at a higher level of difficulty than the previous. Some examples of the tasks are as follows: simpler tasks tested minor abilities such as following a light source and conversations with the examiner; tasks on the higher level than this included testing of verbal skills such as the formation of simple sentences, repeating counting of two digits numbers, ability to define simple words, indicate body parts, etc; Then tasks slightly harder than these included ability to draw out of memory, ability to differentiate between objects, ability to generate sentences out of a few words, etc. Tasks on the highest level judged their higher-order thinking skills; examples include logical questions on different types of situations, numerical based questions, etc. This test has been revised several times to increase its applicability.

Revisions of the Binet-Simon test:

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One of the first modifications of this test was given by Lewis Terman, from Stanford University and hence he renamed the law as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scale. He designed it for use in America. His modification of the test helped to point out people (children and adults both) who have higher-level intelligence than that of an average number of people. So, it had a greater purpose than just diagnosis of learning deficits in children. This test too was given to people in an individual manner. The test consisted of 10 tasks and was used for people both old and young. The test aimed to assess people in skills such as reasoning abilities, verbal-non-verbal skills, memory, knowledge, visual-spatial skills. Thus, this test looks at both verbal and nonverbal skills, unlike the Binet-Simon test which was more focused on verbal skills. This test was also used to derive the concept of IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which was given by William Stern. IQ is defined as the ratio of a person’s mental age to their actual chronological age multiplied by 100. IQ has been further modified to give deviation IQ which also helps to know the performance/intelligence of the person in comparison to others of the same age.

Limitations of the Binet-Simon Test:
Binet himself gave the limitations of the test. According to him, intelligence was a complex cognitive trait influenced by various factors. He also believed that intelligence is not entirely based on genetics and can be acquired during a lifetime thus its changeable and not constant. He suggested that intelligence should be compared between children with a similar external environment; and that more qualitative parameters should be assigned since one quantitative parameter was not enough.

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