Though the attempt was to use the Beta test as an intelligence test comparable to the Alpha but freed of influences of literacy and the English language, examination of the subtests in (Figure 4) reveals major differences between the Alpha and Beta tests both in terms of the knowledge called for and the information processing skills involved in processing graphically presented information.
As noted in the discussion of the developmental model of literacy (Figure 2, p. 6) there are two main aspects to literacy. On the one hand, literacy involves the use of graphics technology to produce a second signaling system for speech. That is, the written language is a graphical representation of the spoken language to a large degree.
However, the second major aspect of literacy is the use of the elements of graphics technology - light, space, and permanence - to produce graphic devices to be used in information processing for problem solving, reasoning, and communicating. In the subtests of the Beta test, it is clear that literacy as the use of graphics technology for problem solving and reasoning is included in every subtest.
Test 1: Maze, requires looking at the graphically represented maze while reasoning about the path to be taken.
Test 2: Cube Analysis, requires counting cubes in the graphic representation and this combines the use of graphics information with knowledge of the language of arithmetic for counting
Test 3: X-O Series, requires reading graphic displays in left to right sequences while reasoning in working memory.
Test 4: Digit Symbol, requires scanning the upper number and graphic symbols, holding them in working memory while scanning the lower numbers and then producing the appropriate mark to match the graphic symbol to the number.
Test 5: Number Checking, is similar to Test 4 in requiring scanning and matching of graphic symbols, this time in numeric forms.
Test 6: Picture Completion, clearly involves the scanning of graphic displays and the knowledge of the depicted objects to complete the picture.
Test 7: Geometrical Construction, involves studying in working memory the graphics information on the left and mentally rearranging it to construct the figure on the right.
From the foregoing analysis, it becomes clear that both the Alpha and Beta assessed cognitive skills with the concomitant use of literacy. That is, the ability to utilize graphic marks arrayed in various designs for information processing is common to both tests. The primary difference between the two tests is that the Alpha requires extensive reading defined in the developmental model as looking while languaging, while this is not required to any significant degree in the Beta test (though reading the letters and numbers of Tests 3, 4 and 5 permits some reading while languaging).
In turn, languaging of sentences requires the retrieval of semantic information from the knowledge base stored in long term memory to be used in working memory for comprehending the information being picked-up from the graphic display in the text of the test. In the Beta test, on the other hand, most of the information processing could be done in working memory without the need to locate and retrieve semantically encoded knowledge from the long term memory.
Inter-correlations among the Beta subtests ranged from a low of .41 for subtests 1 (Maze) and 5 (Number Checking) to a high of .75 for subtests 5 (Number Checking) and 4 (Digit Symbol). Perhaps the relatively high correlation of .75 for subtests 4 and 5 reflects the fact that both make extensive use of number reading (Yerkes, 1921, p. 155, Table 634).
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