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Reasoning Tests


What we would nowadays call reasoning tests were first developed by Alfred Binet (1910); a French educationalist who published the first test of mental ability in 1905. Binet was concerned with assessing the intellectual development of children, and to this end he developed the concept of mental age. Questions assessing academic ability were graded in order of difficulty, according to the average age at which children could successfully answer each question. From the child’s performance on this test it was possible to derive the child’s mental age. Thus, for example, if a child performed at the level of the average 10 year old on Binet’s test then that child was classified as having a mental age of 10, regardless of the child’s chronological age.


Binet’s early tests were subsequently revised by Terman et al. (1917) to produce the famous Stanford-Binet IQ test. What were then termed tests of mental ability, or intelligence tests, were first used for selection purposes during the First World War, by the American military, when Yerkes (1921) tested 1.75 million soldiers with the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests. During this period, IQ tests were also being developed for clinical as well as for educational use. Working out of the Bellevue Hospital (in New York State) in the late 1930s, David Wechsler developed the Wechsler Bellevue Intelligence Scale which was subsequently revised to form the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS); which is now in its third edition (WAIS-III).








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