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The Role of the Stanford-Binet in the Hunter Admissions Process

Break the mold
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The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition (SB5), is an IQ test required for entry by The Hunter College Elementary School (HCES/ “Hunter”) in Manhattan. Some parents who apply to NYC Firm Schools for kindergarten also apply to HCES, a terrific public school for intellectually talented kids that accepts 48 new kindergarten students per year.

For HCES, the SB5 must be administered in the Fall by an approved HCES psychologist (you will receive a list of approved NYC psychologists, if you apply). Your child will be ineligible to take the SB5 if they have taken it within the past year.

The Stanford-Binet is a standardized test that assesses intelligence and cognitive abilities in children and adults aged 2 to 85+. The purpose of this test is to help measure intellectual development.

SB5 covers the following 5 areas of cognitive abilities:

  • Fluid Reasoning
  • Knowledge
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Visual-Spatial Processing
  • Working Memory

According Riverside Publishing (the publisher of the SB5):

At the most granular level of the norm-referenced scores are the 10 subtest scores (scaled scores have a mean of 10, SD of 3, score range 1–19). These subtest scores combine to form four types of composite scores: factor index, domain, abbreviated, and full scale (each with scaled score means of 100, SD of 15, score range 40–160). Two subtests (one verbal, the other its nonverbal complement) combine to form each factor index. There are two domain scales: Nonverbal IQ (NVIQ) (combines the five nonverbal subtests) and Verbal IQ (VIQ) (combines the five verbal subtests). Two routing subtests combine to form the Abbreviated Battery IQ (ABIQ). Finally, the Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) combines all 10 subtests.

For 2009 kindergarten admissions at HCES, the eligibility score for Round 2 was “a Sum of Scaled Scores at or above 148.” For more information on SB5 scoring and gifted categories, we recommend: SB5 Assessment Service Bulletin #3: Use of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition in the Assessment of High Abilities by Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.

Deborah Ruf, Ph.D. is a private consultant and specialist in gifted assessment, test interpretation, and guidance for the gifted in Minneapolis, MN. Since 2003 she has been the National Gifted Children Program Coordinator for American Mensa. Having been a parent, teacher, and administrator in elementary school through graduate education, she writes and speaks about school issues and social and emotional adjustment of gifted children. She is the author of Loving Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind (2005).

If you are interested in more information on gifted children, Dr. Ruf’s website has some excellent articles and resources, including an article entitled, “Gifted or Highly Gifted? What’s the Difference?” The article appeared in the March 2009 issue of Parenting for High Potential, the National Association for Gifted Children’s parent publication and provides a description of five levels of giftedness and possible developmental milestones.

Prepping for the SB5

Like the ERBs, it is no secret that some parents “prep” for the SB5 using coaches, consultants, or workbooks and materials that they purchase online or through local bookstores. We understand that many parents feel compelled to prep their children since the cut-off score for the SB5 for admissions to HCES has been raised higher each year and competition becomes more fierce. Simply stated though, we do not recommend prepping for an IQ test.

As with all testing scenarios, the best preparation is to have your child well rested and relaxed on testing day in order to perform his or her best.

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