Stanford-Binet Subtests

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test is an assessment tool that takes approximately an hour to complete. It can assess the level of intelligence across several age spans and ability levels. It begins with easy questions and progresses to harder ones; the level of difficulty is adjusted for the ability and the age of the subject so that he does not become frustrated with problems that are too difficult for him. The Stanford-Binet looks at intelligence in five areas. Each of these subtests are given in a verbal or a non-verbal method to accommodate very young children, even two-year-olds, and non-readers. 

Fluid Reasoning

This is the ability to solve problems on a spontaneous level, without advance preparation. The non-verbal version of the test uses objects and matrices to solve spatial problems. The verbal test ranges from reasoning in picture problems to verbal explanations of problem solutions, verbal absurdities such as asking a subject what is wrong with a sentence like: “I put ink on my hairbrush and cleaned my teeth.” The results of both versions of this test are used to rout subjects to appropriate levels of other test areas. 


This test assesses what the subject knows about his surroundings and how things are done. The non-verbal component uses pictorial representations of verbal absurdities as well as “procedural: knowledge” the subject explains in gestures. The verbal test involves verbal explanations of pictures of items as well as words. This test area is used for routing as well. 

Quantitative Reasoning

This tests measures how well the subject can use mathematical principles to solve problems. In the non-verbal form, the test includes number tapping and measure estimation. The verbal test contains five levels from number concept tapping to geometric measurement estimation problems.

Visual/Spatial Reasoning

This test measures how well the test subject can manipulate figures that are represented as multi-dimensional. In the non-verbal test subjects are asked to make patterns from sets of foam-board pieces. In the verbal assessment the subject is asked to explain the direction represented, identify and verbalize the relationships between shapes and be able to recognize their orientation in space. 

Working Memory

This area assesses how well the subject recalls facts and objects. At lower levels, the non-verbal test involves asking the subject to find an object hidden under a cup, or block tapping in which the subject must repeat a sequence of tapping on blocks initiated by the examiner. The verbal test requires the subject to recall the last words of several sentences in a series.

In general, the tests measure the ability of people tested to listen and use language, asses the acquired knowledge of the subject and his ability to apply that knowledge in reasoning and problem-solving, his mastery of math concepts, understanding of spatial representations and ability to visualize them and his memory. The Stanford-Binet assessment is valuable in designing educational programs for special needs children but, but is an asset in working with people of all levels of functioning.