Individual Differences

Understanding IQ

Examples of Intelligence Tests

Last updated:
20 Dec 2003


Example: Non verbal test - Raven's Progressive Matrices

The Raven Progressive Matrices test is a widely used intelligence test in many research and applied settings. In each test item, one is asked to find the missing pattern in a series.  Each set of items gets progressively harder, requiring greater cognitive capacity to encode and analyze.

Item from Raven's Progressive Matrices
Sample item from the Raven Progressive Matrices tests

Raven's Progressive Matrices was designed primarily as a measure of Spearman's g.  There are no time limits and simple oral instructions. There are 3 different tests for different abilities:

  • Coloured Progressed Matrices (younger children and special groups)

  • Stanford Progressive Matrices (average 6 to 80 year olds)

  • Advanced Progressive Matrices (above average adolescents & adults)

In terms of its psychometrics, Raven's Progressive Matrices:

has good test-retest reliability between .70 and .90 (however, for low score ranges, the test-retest reliability is lower)

  • has good internal consistency coefficients - mostly in the .80s and .90s

  • has correlations with verbal and performance tests range which between .40 and .75

  • fair concurrent validity in studies with mentally retarded groups

  • lower predictive validity than verbal intelligence tests for academic criteria

Read more about Raven's Progressive Matrices.

Example: Non-verbal test - Gesell Developmental Schedules for very young children

Prior to the preschool years, the assessment tools for infants measure somewhat different components of intellectual ability.  An example of an oft-used test is the Gesell Developmental Schedules.  This test was first introduced in 1925 and has been revised periodically. The schedules are designed to measure developmental progress of babies and children from 4 weeks to 5 years. These schedules provide a standardized procedure for observing and evaluating the developmental attainment of children in five areas:

  • Gross motor skills: cruises a rail using 2 hands

  • Fine motor skills: uses “scissors” grasp on string

  • Language development: uses “da-da” with meaning

  • Adaptive behaviour: pulls a string to obtain a ring

  • Personal-social behaviours: pushes arm through dress if started.

Gesell identified naturally occurring situations in the home or clinic and uses objects or tasks with high appeal for infants and preschoolers. Well-trained observers can attain interrater reliabilities in the mid .90s (Knobloch & Pasamanick, 1974).

Gessell didn’t intend his schedules to be intelligence tests, rather they are used to identify neurological impairment and mental retardation.

Gesell determined that normal development is a time-bracketed phenomenon: that is the age variability for attaining developmental milestones in infancy is very small; on the order of a few weeks for many tasks.  Many studies indicate that the Gesell Schedules function well in the screening of intellectually at-risk infants. Virtually all infant tests have borrowed from or adapted the original schedules devised by Arnold Gesell (1880-1961).

Tests for special populations

  • Tests may be individual or group

  • Typically designated as performance, non-language or nonverbal tests

  • Tests designed for groups such as infants, preschoolers, mentally retarded people, physically disabled (hearing, visual, motor), and multicultural populations (language & cultural issues)

  • The major non-verbal test in use is Raven's progressive matrices