The Stanford-Binet intelligence scale is the successor to the Binet-Simon test, initiated in 1905, which is considered to be the first intelligence test. The Stanford-Binet was introduced in 1916. It is a standardized test used to assess intelligence and cognitive abilities. The test is used as a tool in school placement, determining presence of learning disabilities, and tracking intellectual development. It is sometimes used in neurological testing.


The Stanford-Binet has been revised several times. The current version, the fifth, was instituted in 2003. The 1986 revision was designed to minimize racial and gender differences that had caused problems in earlier versions. The test was originally intended for children. By the fourth version, it was stated to cover ages two to 23. The present version can be used for adults as well as children aged two and over.

Areas Covered

The present version of the Stanford-Binet covers six areas: general intelligence, knowledge, quantitative reasoning, fluid reasoning, visual-spatial processing, and working memory. In addition, there are 10 subtests. Subtests are assigned based on the results of preliminary testing of vocabulary and matrices (non-verbal reasoning), and on the age of the participant. The test takes 45 to 60 minutes to complete, depending on the number of subtests and the age of the individual being tested.

Scoring of the Test

The Stanford-Binet intelligence scale has a standardized score result similar to IQ. The mean/average score is 100, with a standard deviation of 15. Plus and minus two standard deviations takes in approximately 95 percent of the population. The norms are established by administering the test to a large representative sample. The design of the currently used fifth edition was partially based on data from the 2000 census.

Advantages of the Stanford-Binet

The Stanford-Binet is administered by a clinically trained examiner, often a psychologist. The results are evaluated by a psychologist, who offers recommendations. This makes it superior to an IQ test that just gives you a number. The design of the test makes it possible to make specific recommendations. Because of its long history and meticulous design and evaluation, the Stanford-Binet carries prestige that general IQ tests do not. Its cost is often covered by health insurance.