The beginning of the concept of IQ—or intelligence quotient- and testing starts in France in the early 1900s. Alfred Binet, psychologist, was tasked by the French government to assess pre-school age children to try to predict those who would struggle the most in school.
Teamed with Theodore Simon, he developed a testing system which allowed them to measure concepts taught in school such as attention span and memory. Based on his data, he was able to generate a mental age. This is now referred to as the Binet-Simon scale.
This scale soon migrated to the United States. In 1916, a Stanford Psychologist took the scale and Americanized it. The psychologist, Lewis Terman, made an adaptation of the scale named Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale.
This intelligence scale takes into account both the chronological and mental age of the subject and produces a score. This test is still used today, although it has been through several revisions.
With the onset of World War II, the government was tasked with assessing the recruits. From this need, two tests emerged: Army Alpha and Beta tests. Army Alpha test was written, but the more common Beta test was used to assess those recruits who could not read. Over 2 million recruits were tested to see where they would best be used in leadership roles during the war.
1955 brought another iteration of testing for intelligence called Wechsler Intelligence Scales. Through many revisions, this test is used for children and adults in assessing learning disabilities. The score measures the subject against those in their own age group.
Today the IQ testing has a wide range of uses from placement in school and the workplace to choice of profession. While IQ testing is not the only indicators of intelligence, it is the most common and the world of psychology’s biggest advancement in studying and categorizing intelligence.
While the standard of IQ testing is one’s reasoning and problem-solving abilities, it also analyzes math, language, and visual abilities. IQ is not the only measurement of intelligence. It does not measure practical or street smarts.
From the early 1900’s to today, the idea of measuring one’s capacity for learning has had many different faces. From the first iteration to today, it has evolved into an amazing psychological advancement.