Alfred Binet, a self-taught psychologist, created the scale which is now one of the best known measures of intelligence. In 1904 a French child psychology society began looking into determining which students would qualify for special education, and Binet – who had “published more than 200 books, articles, and reviews in what now would be called experimental, developmental, educational, social, and differential psychology” – responded the government’s appointment of the society to develop a measure by creating his scale.
According to a teacher’s resource provided by Indiana University, Binet made it clear that “intellectual development progressed at variable rates, could be impacted by the environment and was therefore not based solely on genetics, was malleable rather than fixed, and could only be used on children with comparable background.” But his test and scale soon made it into the hands of Henry H. Goddard, an American eugenicist.
Goddard was among many at the time who, like Francis Galton, believed that the best way to raise national averages in health and intelligence would be to prevent the “feeble-minded” and others not up to their standards from reproducing. Methods of included contraception, forced sterilization, and abortion. “Eugenicists claimed IQ tests could quantify innate human ability in a single measurement, despite the objections of the tests’ creator, Alfred Binet.[Wiki]”
The test has now come to be used on a single scale for people from all cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds around the world. The test was never meant to compare even children from the same neighborhood from different economic classes, yet it is being used to compare Aborigines to European aristocrats.
It’s clearly time that a new standard for intellectual measure be developed, the only question is whether the reward will be greater to create it, or prevent it.