The Stanford-Binet Test traces its roots to the Binet-Simon Scale, a French device for identifying levels of intelligence, originally developed in an attempt to quantify human intelligence. The Binet-Simon Scale was developed by Alfred Binet and his student Theodore Simon. French education laws were in a state of flux at the time and Binet was approached by a governmental commission. The commission wanted a device to detect children that possessed notably below-average levels of intelligence for their age, allowing for the creation of tailored educational experiences.
The Stanford-Binet test is meant to gauge and analyze intelligence through five factors of cognitive ability. These five factors include fluid reasoning, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, visual-spatial processing and working memory. Both verbal and nonverbal responses are measured. Each of the five factors is given a weight and the combined score is often reduced to a ratio known commonly as the intelligence quotient, or IQ. The Stanford-Binet test is the reason we have the IQ scale we are most familiar with today, and the one most high-IQ societies base their admission threshold by.
The test is among the most reliable standardized tests currently used in education. It has undergone many validity tests and revisions throughout its century-long history, and while there are undoubtedly a few issues with the assessment, most results are treated as accurate. That is, individuals with high scores are usually gifted, and those with low Stanford-Binet test scores often face some sort of cognitive disability. With that, it is important to state the the test is not designed to assist in measuring the abilities of those who do not use English as a first language, which has made it hard to use the Stanford-Binet to accurately assess the cognitive abilities of non-English speakers. Issues such as these tend to disadvantage those less familiar with English, and could potentially falsely label them as having a cognitive impairment.
Since its creation over one hundred years ago, the Stanford-Binet has come a long way in its ability to measure the intellectual abilities of test takers, and recent developments have made incredible strides in providing greater accuracy across both verbal, and non-verbal tests.