Binet believed that the Binet-Simon scale was simply a measure of a child's ability to perform specific tasks at a particular moment in the student's life. He felt that intelligence was too complex to be defined by a single number, and he warned against efforts to attach greater meaning to the results. Despite those warnings, in the United States Henry Goddard used the tests to identify levels of "feeblemindedness," and was convinced that these scores were reliable indicators of intelligence.
In the spring of 1913, Goddard decided to prove the effectiveness of the test by sending two field workers to Ellis Island in New York harbor, the entry point for most immigrants. The two workers were told to "pass by the obviously normal" immigrant and choose individuals from the great mass of "average immigrants" for testing. They selected 35 Jews, 22 Hungarians, 50 Italians, and 45 Russians. Based on the results of those tests, Goddard claimed that 80 percent of the Hungarians, 79 percent of the Italians, 87 percent of the Russians, and 83 percent of the Jews were "feebleminded."2
By 1917, IQ tests were being administered by people like Goddard and Lewis Terman. Data was being accumulated and results were being analyzed. But it wasn't until Robert M. Yerkes, a Harvard Psychologist, joined the team and took the tests to the United States Army, that IQ Testing on a mass level was born. Yerkes and his staff administered the test to approximately 1.75 million recruits and the data they accumulated provided powerful fodder for eugenics propaganda, and had a profound effect on social policy.To take the Army Beta test, click here.