Since the induction of the original Stanford-Binet scales in 1916, intelligence tests have faced the challenges of excessive length and a dependence on motor coordination and reading skills, which encumbers the test and advantages those with superior skills in certain fields. Indeed, in World War 1 the average intelligence of a US Army recruit was determined to be that of a 13-year old due primarily to the low education of the recruits. Utilizing the Cattell model of testing, Cecil B. Reynolds adapted the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS) as an exam that could be administered in under 30 minutes and would be unbiased by the motor coordination or literacy of its takers. He standardized the RIAS for public use in, and again in 2002. He later made a second revision, the RIAS-II, which added difficulty settings to the exam to further enhance.
Reynolds made a further adaptation in the Reynolds Intellectual Screening Test, which can be administered in 10 minutes to quickly screen large amounts of students to determine if any require a full examination in order to determine special or gifted education.
What Does the Test Measure?
The RIAS measures intelligence through its two sub-sections of Crystal Intelligence, and Fluid Intelligence. Crystal intelligence is an individual’s ability to gain knowledge through experiences, such as education and verbal memorization. The RIAS measures this through questions on verbal reasoning and educated guessing. Fluid intelligence represents an individual’s natural problem solving and learning ability. This is measured through questions on odd man out, and what’s missing.
While the Cattell Model measures these two features, the RIAS abbreviates the exam process and adds a memory index section. It measures this through questions on verbal, and non-verbal memory. This section is supplementary and is administered at the decision of each testing school.
The RIAS is administered individually by experts, adjusting the difficulty by the age of the individual being examined. There are three sections of the exam, which each have two further sub-sections. The Screening Test uses one sub-section each of the Verbal and Non-Verbal intelligence tests to perform its quick assessment.
- Verbal intelligence Index, VIX, which measures Crystal intelligence.
- Non-Verbal intelligence Index, NIX, which measures fluid intelligence
- Composite Memory Index, CMX, which measures memory. This is supplementary.
Scoring for the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales
The RIAS uses a median score of 100 with a standard deviation of 15, like most intelligence exams. This means that scores between 85 and 115 are considered average, or the median 50 percentile points. As a rule of thumb, any score two standard deviations above the median (130), is in the gifted range. The Verbal and Non-verbal tests produce the Verbal Intelligence Index Score and Non-Verbal Intelligence Index Score. These two indexes are combined to get the Composite Intelligence Index (CIX). The CIX is the true measure of the individual’s intelligence and is measured against other scores in percentile points. As a supplementary exam, the CMX is measured separately.
The RIAS uses exclusively visual questions. Here are examples of questions from the odd man out sub-test, where the test-taker would view a group of objects and select the one object that doesn’t fit in series with the rest.
Practical uses of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales
The RIAS II has many practical uses. These include:
- Screens for individuals in need of comprehensive assessment or intellectual reevaluation
- Determines if students need special education
- Selects students for accelerated learning programs
- Basic intellectual assessment.
- Diagnosing intellectual disabilities
Benefits of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales
The RIAS was designed to provide several benefits over other types of intelligence tests. These include:
- It is a fast exam requiring 25-35 minutes to complete
- It is not influenced by outside factors, such as an individual’s education
- It has a memory exam, to quickly index an individual’s memory
- There is a screening test