The Measurement of Intelligence: An Explanation of and a Complete Guide for the Use of the Stanford Revision and Extension of the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale

By Lewis M. Terman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

Necessity of securing attention and effort. The child's intelligence is to be judged by his success in the performance of certain tasks. These tasks may appear to the examiner to be very easy, indeed; but we must bear in mind that they are often anything but easy for the child. Real effort and attention are necessary for his success, and occasionally even his best efforts fall short of the desired result. If the tests are to display the child's real intellectual ability it will be necessary, therefore, to avoid as nearly as possible every disturbing factor which would divide his attention or in any other way injure the quality of his responses. To insure this it will be necessary to consider somewhat in detail a number of factors which influence effort, such as degree of quiet, the nature of surroundings, presence or absence of others, means of gaining the child's confidence, the avoidance of embarrassment, fatigue, etc.

One should not expect, however, to secure an absolutely equal degree of attention from all subjects. The power to give sustained attention to a difficult task is characteristically weak in dull and feeble-minded children. What we should labor to secure is the maximum attention of which the child is capable, and if this is unsatisfactory without external cause, we are to regard the fact as symptomatic of inferior mental ability, not as an extenuating factor or an excuse for lack of success in the tests.

Attention, of course, cannot be normal if any acute

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