Assessment Tests

Both creativity and intelligence can be assessed by specialized tests designed for that purpose. One of the first people to examine the concept of intelligence in the United States was James McKeen Cattell (1860-1944). He is credited with the introduction of the use of the phrase "mental tests." After studying in Europe, Cattell developed and sought to refine tests which focused on the cognitive skills that he believed indicated intellectual ability: strength, reaction time, and sensory discrimination.

The first test to examine individual differences in intelligence was devised and published in France by Alfred Binetand Théodore Simon in 1905; it was called the Binet-Simon test. The Binet-Simon test was translated into English and went through a series of revisions by various people. The version of the Binet-Simon test most used in the United States is the Stanford-Binet, which was first published in 1916.

E. Paul Torrance developed the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. These tests seek to assess creativity as it relates to fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. Each of these areas can be understood in the context of examples. Fluency in creativity is the ability one has to produce numerous original ideas that solve problems. For example, persons may demonstrate fluency when they can state multiple uses for a ballpoint pen. Flexibility in creativity is the ability to produce ideas that show a variety of approaches that may be used. Originality is the ability to create uncommon or unusual responses; for example, a unique or unconventional use of the ballpoint pen would be classified as original. Elaboration refers to a person's ability to add details to a basic idea. For example, if a common item such as a ballpoint pen is discussed in extreme and minute details that do not focus on obvious aspects of the pen, elaboration is being demonstrated.

Intelligence tests consist of standardized questions and tasks that seek to determine the mental age of a person or the person's relative capacity to solve problems and absorb new information. Intelligence tests try to measure students' capacity to learn separate from their actual academic achievement.

Intelligence tests are either group-administered or individually administered; in group testings, large numbers of students can be assessed at the same time. According to Miles Storfer, individual intelligence tests such as the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler series provide a good approximation of most people's abilities in the cognitive skills that the tests are designed to measure. These cognitive skills include being able to solve problems well, reasoning clearly, thinking logically, having a good vocabulary, and knowing an abundance of information in many areas.

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