Intelligence Tests: Nature & Classification

PsychologyPersonality Psychology

Intelligence refers to an individual's global mental capacities, and intelligence tests essentially measure an individual's rational and abstract thinking. They are designed to measure the global mental capacities of an individual in terms of verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, reasoning, and so on. The goal is generally to assess the subject's aptitude for a certain vocation or academic study. A set of exercises meant to evaluate the ability to construct abstractions, learn, and deal with unexpected situations comprise intelligence testing. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler scales are two of the most often utilised intelligence tests. There are various types of intelligence tests that may be used to assess learning and aptitude in a wide range of subjects and talents.

Types of Intelligence Tests

Following are the three significant basis to classify intelligence tests −

  • On the Basis of Administration
  • On the Basis of the Nature of Items
  • On the Basis of Culture Fairness

Images Coming soon

On the Basis of Administration

Individual or group tests are classified based on their style of administration. At the moment, only one test can be given to one person, which is an excellent technique to gather detailed information from the testee. They are often used in clinical evaluations. Popular examples are −

  • Standford Binet Scale,
  • Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children (WISC),
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS),
  • Bhatia's battery of performance tests, and
  • Aurthur Point Scale.

The individual tests require one-on-one consultation and the development of rapport between administrator and participant.

Group tests can be administered to several persons simultaneously. Group-administered tests involve a series of different problems and are generally used in mass testing situations such as the military and schools. They are economical and time-saving. Examples include Army Alpha and Beta Test, Raven's Progressive Matrices, Terman's Group Tests, and Otis Self- Administrative Tests.

Difference Between Individual Tests and Group Tests
S. No. Individual Tests Group Tests
1. It is administered to an individual at a time. It is administered to a group at the same time.
2. It is costly in terms of administration and time. It is less expensive.
3. A trained tester is required to administer it. No trained person is required to administer it.
4. There is a face-to-face interaction between the individual and the tester. There is no such face-to-face interaction.
5. The individual test is more reliable. Guidance can be provided to the individual based on the results. Several factors may influence group tests.
6. It is useful for small children. It is normally more appropriate for adolescence and adults, as they need less direction.
7. The tester can motivate the individual by means of praise and encouragement as he can adapt to the needs of the individual child. This is simply not feasible.
8. There is very little scope for cheating. Cheating on a large-scale is possible.
9. There is no competition in individual testing. Speed and reading ability may influence the test score.
10. No special formalities are observed in individual testing. Several formalities are observed in administering.
11. Instructions can be made clear before testing. A few members of the group may not clearly understand the instructions.

On the Basis of the Nature of Items 

According to the nature of items, tests can be classified into Verbal tests, Non-verbal tests & performance tests. Verbal tests require respondents to respond verbally, either orally or in writing. As a result, they can only be administered to those who are literate. Nonverbal exams employ images or graphics as test items. Nonverbal tests emphasize but do not completely erase the significance of language by employing symbolic resources such as pictures, figures, and so on. Such tests employ language in their instructions but not in their objects. Raven's Progressive Matrices is an excellent nonverbal test. Performance tests are those, which require subjects to manipulate objects and other materials to perform a task.

S. No. Verbal Test Non-Verbal Test Performance Test
1. Requires subject to give verbal answers, either written or oral. It does not require subject to give verbal answers either written or oral. It does not require subject to give verbal answers either written or oral.
2. It does not need any object manipulation. It does not require any object manipulation. It requires manipulation of objects.
3. Administered only on literate people. Can be administered on literate and illiterate people. Can be administered on literate and illiterate people.
4. Culturally Biased Culturally Fair Culturally Fair

On the Basis of the Scope of Application Across Cultures

A crucial but contentious distinction based on the scope of the tests is that they may be divided into culture-specific and culture-free tests. Culture-biased tests are the ones that show a bias toward the culture in which they are developed. Tests developed in America and Europe are for educated urban populations. Hence, it was observed that migrants and people from cultures other than American and European tend to score lower on IQ tests. Culture-neutral tests are intended to measure intellect (or other characteristics) without depending on information specific to any one cultural group. Non-verbal and performance tests are less culturally biased than verbal tests, and Culture-fair tests do not use specific language.

Examples of culture fair tests include −

  • the Army Beta test,
  • the Cattell Culture Fair test, and
  • Raven's Progressive Matrices.

On the Basis of Scoring

Tests are categorized as self-scored versus expert-scored or hand scored versus machine-scored tests based on the manner of scoring. In a hand-scored test, the number of right responses is counted on the answer sheet, commonly done using a stencil. These results may need to be transformed from a raw score count to a more useful format, such as a percentile or standard score. The necessary hand scoring processes and raw score conversion must be taught to the staff. Machine scoring is less error-prone than this method, and scoring should be double-checked to increase accuracy. Hand scoring a test may take more time and effort, but it may be the most cost-effective technique when only a few tests need to be scored.

A computer and test scoring software acquired from the test publisher can be used to score computer-based tests. Staff must be keyed in raw scores and identifying information after the test session is completed when the test is conducted in a paper-and-pencil format. Scores that have been converted and interpretation reports can be printed right away. When a test is given on a computer, the results are usually generated automatically after completing the test; there is no need to input raw scores or identifying information.

On the Basis of Performance

Based on performance, Psychological tests are also classified as speed test and power tests. A speed test has a time restriction wherein the participant must answer all the questions. This test assesses the individual based on the time testee has taken to answer the items correctly. All of the objects in a speed test are of the same difficulty level. The power test evaluates an individual's underlying ability (or power) by giving them enough time, i.e., these tests have no time restriction. In a power test, the items are generally arranged in increasing order of difficulty. If a person, for example, cannot solve the sixth problem, he or she will struggle to answer the remaining questions. However, creating an actual speed or power test is challenging. The majority of the tests are a combination of both speed and power.


Intelligence tests can be classified by the ways in which they are constructed, stored, and administered. There are different intelligence tests, and the IQ test is the most popular one. However, other types of intelligence tests can be more beneficial for certain people and can be applied as per need.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47