Throwback Thursday Object: Perkins-Binet Intelligence Test




Our object this week is an intelligence test adapted for blind students at the Perkins School for the Blind in the 1960s and 70s and published in 1980 by Dr. Carl Davis.  Intelligence tests have been used in schools since the early 20th century to predict aptitude.  The black box includes all sorts of blocks and small toys that go along with various tasks the test asks the student to complete.   The science behind intelligence tests is complicated, but they try to compare the abilities of the test taker to other kids of the same age, and assign a score based on that comparison.  The available pool of students that were blind or visually impaired was never really large enough to allow test designers to establish what “normal” was, so these kinds of tests fell out of fashion.  But it is a good example of how researchers try to adapt materials developed for sighted learners to the blind community.  Ralph Bartley, our former head of educational research, told me that when he was at the Kansas School for the Blind, he would routinely add 20 points to any IQ score in a blind child’s file to get an accurate idea of the student’s abilities. 
Photos:  I included pictures of the black fiberboard box that holds the test components, a bag of blue wooden beads in different shapes, a toy coffeepot with lid, and a bag holding a small box, a pair of small scissors, and a plastic dog.
 Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

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