Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition (SB4): Evaluating the Empirical Bases for Interpretations

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Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition (SB4): Evaluating the Empirical Bases for Interpretations

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition (SB4; Thorndike, Hagen, & Sattler, 1986b) is the most recent edition in a line of instruments going back almost a century (viz., Binet & Simon, 1905). The 1986 revision revitalized the Stanford-Binet by both maintaining links with previous editions of the scale and simultaneously incorporating more recent developments found in other popular tests of intelligence. The SB4 retains as much item content as possible from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Form L-M (SB-LM; Thorndike, 1973). SB4 also respects tradition by covering approximately the same age range as SB-LM (ages 2-23); it incorporates familiar basal and ceiling levels during testing, and it provides an overall score that appraises general cognitive functioning. As this chapter is being written, the fifth edition of the Stanford-Binet (SBS) is beginning item tryouts in preparation for standardization. The plan for this newest edition also shares a commitment both to the Stanford-Binet tradition and to incorporating current theories about psychometrics (e.g., item response theory) and the structure of intelligence.

Despite these similarities, these revisions are substantially different from their predecessors. The SB4 eliminated the traditional age scale format. In its place are 15 subtests whose age-corrected scaled scores make it possible to interpret profile elevations and profile depressions. Four “area” scores, derived from theoretically based subtest groupings, are also new. These reformulations add to interpretative possibilities, and they attempt to broaden the coverage of cognitive ability over that offered by SB-LM. SB4 permits calculation of the Composite (overall IQ) for performances based on specific “abbreviated batteries,” as well as for any combination of subtests psychologists wish to regroup-promoting flexibility in administration and interpretation.

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