Daniel Starch.

Educational psychology online

. (page 8 of 41)
Online LibraryDaniel StarchEducational psychology → online text (page 8 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

distinction, and if he is born with mediocre or slender capacities,
he will not achieve anything beyond his limits no matter what he
may do. While it is certainly true that no one may achieve a
position higher than his original capacities will permit, it does not
follow that a mechanical, fatalistic view needs to be taken. Nature
predominates enormously over nurture only in the relative and
not in the absolute sense. This distinction must always be borne
in mind in studies of heredity. In fact, in the absolute sense,
nurture predominates enormously over nature. A Newton born
among Australian bushmen would no doubt have become a re-
markable bushman, but never a world-renowned scientist. The
necessary stimuli of environment must be at hand to train and
develop original capacities. The difference between relative and
absolute achievement may be illustrated in any of the experimental
results concerning the effects of equal practice cited in a preceding
section. The fact that all individuals improve by practice shows
absolute gain in performance or skill. The fact that the gifted ones
maintain their lead or even gain in their lead is relative achieve-
ment. Before practice, no child can write; after practice, all normal
children can uTite with more or less excellence. This is absolute
gain. Before practice, some children have greater original capaci-
ties for learning to write; after practice, these same children main-
tain the same superiority. This is relative gain. A Newton and
an ordinary bushman born and reared among bushmen would
probably be superior and ordinary bushman respectively. A
Newton and an ordinary bushman born and reared in New York
City at the beginning of the 20th century would probably become,
respectively, the one a great scientific, professional or business
man, and the other an ordinary person, able to get on, earn a
living, and enjoy life within the ordinary limits. The original
abilities of ancient civilized peoples were probably very little
different from the original abilities of modern civilized peoples.
The differences are probably due to the transformation of the
environment which is constantly being brought about through
the efforts of man. A Newton born in a modern civilized com-


munity would have greater and different stimuli than one bom
in an ancient or uncivilized community. His ultimate eminence
would be determined by his environment.

The pessimistic air may further be dispelled by noting the fact
that hardly one person in a thousand makes all the absolute gain
possible for him even in a single capacity. It has been proved over
and over again in numerous abilities which have been used daily
in one's occupation that by a little special practice each day their
efficiency may be enormously improved. Consequently, while the
possibilities of each individual are limited by his original inherited
equipment, each one may develop his capacities far beyond the
usual degree of attainment. While experimental evidence indicates
emphatically that under equal opportunities the more gifted surpass
the less gifted, yet rarely does anyone do his best or attain his limit
even in a single capacity. Life is a matter of competition; let every-
one compete Lo the fullest extent of his inherited ability.



Problem. Strictly speaking, it is impossible to measure directly
the original equipment of a human being unmodified by environ-
mental causes. The nearest approach would be the preparation of
a complete inventory, and an exact measurement, of all the capac-
ities that an individual possesses at birth. Even then, pre-natal
conditions have entered into the growth of the organism. The next
nearest approach would be a measurement of all capacities which
are not directly or specifically trained by school, occupation, or
special circumstances. In fact, no one can live and possess capac-
ities without any modification of them from outside causes; hence
the best that we can do is to measure as many capacities and abil-
ities as possible which have been modified least by special exercise
or training, and then to consider them as approximately represent-
ing a person's original abilities, or, to make such allowances as we
can for the influence of external causes. No human being up to
the present time has been measured in all respects at any given
point in his growth by thoroughly accurate methods. A great
many persons, however, have been partially measured in a great
many capacities by more or less accurate or inaccurate methods at
various stages of their growth.

General Value. John Stuart Mill has said the "greatest thing
in the world is man, and the greatest thing in man is mind." To
this statement we might possibly add that the greatest achieve-
ment of science would be the measurement of the mind. The im-
port and value of definite means for measuring the capacities of
human beings would touch all phases of human life in which in-
telligence is involved. If we had accurate means of describing a
given person's capacities in all directions in terms that could be pre-
cisely defined and understood, we would have an instrument for
evaluating human beings far beyond our present possibihties. We
would then be able to obtain a precise notion of the capacities of
an individual. Consider for a moment what the advantages would
be! In all sorts of human relations, men are called upon con-
stantly to pass judgment upon their fellows concerning their fit-



ness, capacity, and promise of success for this or that particular
Hue of work. The one thing which is probably most important of
all, aside from the special training in a given field, is the intelligence
and native ability which a person possesses. What aptitudes does
a person have for this or that type of work? Enormous waste in
the energies of men are due to mal-adaptation of individual to
task. The business world is rapidly turning toward psychology for
help, and if psychology is to give the help it will have to be in the
form of adequate measurements of the capacities of human beings.
Sound vocational guidance, in which much interest has recently
sprung up, will have to be founded upon a sound vocational psychol-
ogy whose development lies largely in the future. Courts are
recognizing that responsibility for conduct rests upon mental
maturity and intelligence, and that these must be determined first
before proper adjudication may be made of an individual's behavior.
Psychological laboratories ha\'e therefore been established in recent
years in connection with juvenile courts. The immigration office
finds it necessary to make intelligence examinations, even if crude,
in order to exclude those distinctly unfit. In normal times a con-
siderable number, 80 to 100 per month, are returned to the coun-
tries whence they came on account of mental deficiency.

One of the large problems of the school is the proper adjustment
of work and progress to the natural ability of the pupils and, in
particular, the discovery of the morons and borderline individuals
so that they may be taken care of in special classes or otherwise to
the best advantage to themselves and to the other pupils in the
school. Intelligence examinations would be useful not only in
connection with the relatively small percentage of backward and
defective pupils, but also in connection with the normal and supe-
rior individuals. Such tests would be valuable in conjunction
with the measurement of attainment in school subjects specifically,
so that a child's progress and rate of advancement could be deter-
mined on the basis of both types of measurements. Precise methods
of evaluating the actual capacities of pupils would be of decided
value in making possible a more accurate promotion or retardation
of pupils according to their abilities, and a more accurate prescrip-
tion of work to be done and of the progress that can most profitably
be made. The school has paid relatively more attention to the
backward pupils by putting them into special classes than to the
superior ones. And yet the latter will be the ones who will con-
tribute most to the advancement of society as a whole. Why


should there not be special classes for the gifted pupils so that
they might be led to reach their fullest intellectual growth and
thus return to society the most that they are capable of?

Methods of Measuring Original Capacities. In general two
types of methods have been developed, at least in part, and used
for determining the native ability of human beings. The term
"native" of course, must be understood to signify not pure, native
ability unmodified by experience, but native or original only in the
sense of not being directly affected by specific training. The one
method consists of a considerable variety of reactions to questions
and situations which a child would be able to make as a result of
normal growth in a normal environment. The tests developed on
this principle are the Binet-Simon tests and the various modifica-
tions of them.

The second general method has proceeded on the basis of meas-
uring, by fairly precise methods, certain special mental functions
from year to year, and of determining thereby the mental status
and growth of the individual. Thus, for example, many capacities
might be measured by a definite psychological technique from year
to year, and certain norms might be established for each year so
that we could say that a given individual's memory has been de-
veloped to the norm or average of a child of ten. Similar tests and
norms could be developed in as many different mental capacities as
would seem to be necessary in order to obtain a fairly complete
evaluation of an individual's natural abilities. This second general
method has not as yet been developed to the same degree of com-
pleteness as the Binet-Simon type ('05) with respect to either the
selection of the particular capacities that should be tested, or the
types of tests that ought to be used, or the technique by which
they should be given. Brief consideration will be given to both
plans of measurement.

The Binet-Simon Scale. This series of tests is arranged in
groups according to years. Thus there is a series of tests for every
year from age three up to twelve or fifteen, and in some of the
revisions even to adult life. These tests were first prepared by the
French psychologist, Binet, and the French physician, Simon,
who collaborated for a period of twelve or fifteen years in the
selection of tests and in assigning them to the proper years accord-
ing to the growth and development of the child. These tests were
first published in 1905 and since then were revised by the original
authors in 1908 and in 191 1. A number of investigators have


attempted to revise them and to adapt them to the conditions in
their respective countries, and to improve them so that they would
be more reliable and more accurately graded according to the
growth of children from year to year. In this country, the chief
revisions and improvements have been made by Goddard, Kuhl-
mann, Yerkes, Terman, and others. Probably the most satis-
factory and careful revision of the original Binet tests is the one
recently prepared by Terman and known as the Stanford Revision.
This revision consists in the elimination of some of the original
tests, in the addition of a considerable number of new tests, in the
readjustment of other tests up or down the scale of years according
to their difficulty, and particularly in the development of a more
precise technique for giving and evaluating the tests, so that ex-
aminers may. be guided specifically in the administration of them.
The following is a complete list of the tests in the Stanford re-
vision. The detailed directions for giving and scoring the tests
together with extensive results, are given in Terman's The Meas-
urement of Intelligence.

The Stanford Revision and Extension

Year III. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Points to parts of body. (3 of 4.)

Nose; eyes; mouth; hair.

2. Names familiar objects. (3 of 5.)

Key, penny, closed knife, watch, pencil.

3. Pictures, enumeration or better. (At least 3 objects enumerated

in one picture.)
(a) Dutch Home; (b) River Scene; (c) Post-Officc.

4. Gives sex.

5. Gives last name.

6. Repeats 6 to 7 syllables, (i of 3.)
Ai. Repeats 3 digits, (i success in 3 trials. Order correct.)

Year IV. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Compares lines. (3 trials, no error.)

2. Discrimination of forms. (Kuhlmann.) (Not over 3 errors.)

3. Counts 4 pennies. (No errors.)

4. Copies square. (Pencil, i of 3.)

5. Comprehension, ist degree. (2 of 3.) (Stanford addition.)
"What must you do?" "When you are sleepy?" "Cok".?"


6. Repeats 4 digits, (i of 3. Order correct.) (Stanford addition.)
Ai. Repeats 12 to 13 syllables, (i of 3 absolutely correct, or 2 with i

error each.)


Year V. (6 tests, 2 mbnths each.)

1. Comparison of weights. (2 of 3.)

3-15; 15-3; 3-15-

2. Colors. (No error.)

Red; yellow; blue; green.

3. Esthetic comparison. (No error.)

4. Definitions, use or better. (4 of 6.)

Chair; horse; fork; doll; pencil; table.

5. Patience, or divided rectangle. (2 of 3 trials, i minute each.)

6. Three commissions. (No error. Order correct.)
Ai. Age.

Year VI. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Right and left. (No error.)

Right hand; left ear; right eye.

2. Mutilated pictures. (3 of 4 correct.)

3. Counts 13 pennies, (i of 2 trials, without error.)

4. Comprehension, 2nd degree. (2 of 3.) "What's the thing for

you to do?"

(a) "If it is raining when you start to school?"

(b) "If you find that your house is on fire?"

(c) "If you are going some place and miss your car?"

5. Coins. (3 of 4.) Nickel; penny; quarter; dime.

6. Repeats 16 to iS syllables, (i of 3 absolutely correct, or two with

I error each.)
Ai. IVIorning or afternoon.

Year VII. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Fingers. (No error.) Right; left; both.

2. Pictures, description, or better. (Over half of performance de-

scription.) Dutch Home; River Scene; Post-Office.

3. Repeats 5 digits, (i of 3. Order correct.)

4. Ties bowknot. (Model shown, i minute.) (Stanford addition.)

5. Gives differences. (2 of 3.)

(Fly and butterfly; stone and egg; wood and glass.)

6. Copies diamond. (Pen. 2 of 3.)

Ai. I. Names days of week. (Order correct. 2 of 3 checks cor-
Ai. 2. Repeats 3 digits backwards, (i of 3.)

Year VIII. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Ball and field. (Inferior plan or better.) (Stanford addition.)

2. Counts 20 to I. (40 seconds, i error allowed.)

3. Comprehension, 3d degree. (2 of 3.) "What's the thing for

you to do?"


(a) " When you have broken something which belongs to some-

one else?"

(b) "When you are on your way to school and notice that you

are in danger of being tardy?"

(c) "If a playmate hits you without meaning to do it?"

4. Gives similarities, two things. (2 of 4.) (Stanford addition.)

Wood and coal; apple and peach; iron and silver; ship and

5. Definitions superior to use. (2 of 4.)

Balloon; tiger; football; soldier.

6. Vocabulary, 20 words. (Stanford addition. For list of words

used, see record booklet.)
Ai. I. First six coins. (No error.)

Ai. 2. Dictation. ("See the little boy." Easily legible. Pen. i

Year IX. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Date. (AHow error of 3 days in c, no error in a, b, or d.)

(a) day of week; (b) month; (c) day of month; (d) year.

2. Weights. (3, 6, 9, 12, 15. Procedure not illustrated. 2 of 3.)

3. Makes change. (2 of 3. No coins, paper, or pencil.)

10-4; 15-12; 25-4.

4. Repeats 4 digits backwards, (i of 3.) (Stanford addition.)

5. Three words. (2 of 3. Oral, i sentence or not over two co-

ordinate clauses.)

Boy, river, ball; work, money, men; desert, rivers, lakes.

6. Rhymes. (3 rhymes for two of three words, i minute for each

part.) Day; mill; spring.
Ai. I. Months. (15 seconds and i error in naming. 2 checks of 3

Ai. 2. Stamps, gives total value. (Second trial if individual values
are known.)

Year X. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Vocabulary, 30 words. (Stanford addition.)

2. Absurdities. (4 of 5. Warn. Spontaneous correction allowed.)

(Four of Binet's, one Stanford.)

3. Designs, (i correct, i half correct. Expose 10 seconds.)

4. Reading and report. (8 memories. 35 seconds and 2 mistakes in

reading.) (Binet's selection.)

5. Comprehension, 4th degree. (2 of 3. Question may be repeated.)

(a) "What ought you to say when some one asks your opinion

about a person you don't know very well?"

(b) "What ought you to do before undertaking (beginning)

something very important?"



(c) "Why should we judge a person more by his actions than
by his words?"
6. Name 60 words. (Illustrate with clouds, dog, chair, happy.)
Ai. I. Repeats 6 digits, (i of 2. Order correct.) (Stanford addi-
Ai. 2. Repeats 20 to 22 syllables, (i of 3 correct, or 2 with i error

Ai. 3. Form board. (Healy-Fernald Puzzle A. 3 times in 5 min.)

Year XII. (8 tests, 3 months each.)

1. Vocabulary, 40 words. (Stanford addition.)

2. Abstract words. (3 of 5.)

Pity; revenge; charity; envy; justice.

3. Ball and field. (Superior plan.) (Stanford addition.)

4. Dissected sentences. (2 of 3.) (r minute each.)

5. Fables. (Score 4; i. e., two correct or the equivalent in half

credits.) (Stanford addition.)
Hercules and Wagoner; Maid and Eggs; Fox and Crow;
Farmer and Stork; Miller, Son, and Donkey.

6. Repeats 5 digits backwards, (i of 3.) (Stanford addition.)

7. Pictures, interpretation. (3 of 4. "Explain this picture.")

Dutch Home; River Scene; Post-Office; Colonial Home.

8. Gives similarities, three things. (3 of 5.) (Stanford addition.)

Snake, cow, sparrow; book, teacher, newspaper; wool, cotton,
leather; knife-blade, penny, piece of wire; rose, potato, tree.

Year XIV. (6 tests, 4 months each.)

1. Vocabulary, 50 words. (Stanford addition.)

2. Induction test. (Gets rule by 6th folding.) (Stanford addition.)

3. President and king. (Power; accession; tenure. 2 of 3.)

4. Problems of fact. (2 of 3.) (Binet's two and one Stanford addi-


5. Arithmetical reasoning, (i minute each. 2 of 3.) (Adapted

from Bonser.)

6. Clock. (2 of 3. Error must not exceed 3 or 4 minutes.)

6.22; 8.10; 2.46.
Ai. Repeats 7 digits, (i of 2. Order correct.)

Average Adult. (6 tests, 5 months each.)

1. Vocabulary, 65 words. (Stanford addition.)

2. Interpretation of fables. (Score 8.) (Stanford addition.)

3. Difference between abstract words. (3 real contrasts out of 4.)

Laziness and idleness; evolution and revolution; poverty and
misery; character and reputation.

4. Problem of enclosed boxes. (3 of 4.) (Stanford addition.)


5. Repeats 6 digits backwards, (i of 3.) (Stanford addition.)

6. Code, writes "Come quickly." (2 errors. Omission of dot

counts half error. Illustrate with "war" and "spy.") (From
Healy and Fernald.)
Ai. I. Repeats 28 syllables, (i of 2 absolutely correct.)
Ai. 2. Comprehension of physical relations. (2 of 3.) (Stanford
Path of cannon ball; weight of fish in water; hitting distant

"Superior Adult." (6 tests, 6 months.)

1. Vocabulary, 75 words. (Stanford addition.)

2. Binet's paper-cutting test. (Draws, folds, and locates holes.)

3. Repeats 8 digits, (i of 3. Order correct.) (Stanford addition.)

4. Repeats thought of passage heard, (i of 2.) (Binet's and Wis-

sler's selections adapted.)

5. Repeats 7 digits backwards, (i of 3.) (Stanford addition.)

6. Ingenuity test. (2 of 3. 5 minutes each.) (Stanford addition.)

The mental maturity or intelligence of a child is expressed in
terms of a quotient which represents the relation between his
mental age and his chronological age and is obtained by dividing
the former by the latter. Thus, a child 10 years old with a mental
age of ID would have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of i.oo; a child
10 years old with a mental age of 11, would have an intelligence
quotient of, or a child 10 years old with a mental age of 8
would have an intelligence quotient of .80. If the quotient is
under i.oo it means that the child is below the average and if it
is above i.oo, it means that the child is above the average. Ter-
man has suggested the following classification of intelligence
quotients with their approximate meanings:

"IQ Classifiaition

Above 1 .40 "Near" genius or ".genius.

1 . 20-1 .40 Very superior intelligence.

I . lo-i . :o Superior intelligence.

.90-1 .10 Normal, or average, intelligence.

. 80- .90 Dullness, rarely classifiable as feeble-mindedness.

. 70- .80 Border-line deficiency, sometimes classifiable as dullness

often as feeble-mindedness.
Below .70 Definite feeble-mindedness.

"Of the feeble-minded, those between .50 and .70 IQ include
most of the morons (high, middle, and low), those between




.25 and .50 are ordinarily to be classed as imbeciles, and those
below .20 or .25 as idiots. According to this classification the
adult idiot would range up to about 3-year intelligence as the
limit, the adult imbecile would have a mental level between 3 and
7 years, and the adult moron would range from about 7-year to
ii-year intelligence."

Terman ('17) has attempted to estimate the boyhood intelligence
quotient of Sir Francis Galton from such records as are available
of his youth, and believes it quite certainly to have been 2.00.
For example, on the day before his fifth birthday he wrote the
following letter to his sister, the statements of which have been
corroborated by other general evidence:

"My dear Adcle,

" I am 4 years old and I can read any English book. I can say all the
Latin Substantives and Adjectives and active verbs besides 52 lines of
Latin poetry. I can cast up any sum in addition and can multiply by
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, (9), 10, (11).

" I can also say the pence table. I read French a little and I know the

" Francis Galton,
" February 15, 1827."

At the age of 10, young Galton wrote the following letter which
represents maturity of judgment and intellectual interest worthy
of a high school or college student:

" December 30, 1832.
" My Dearest Papa:

" It is now my pleasure to disclose the most ardent wishes of my heart,
which are to extract out of my boundless wealth in compound, money
sufficient to make this addition to my unequaled library.

The Hebrew Commonwealth by John 9

A Pastor's Advice 2

Hornne's Commentaries on the Psalms 4

Paley's Evidence on Christianity 2

Jones Biblical Cyclopedia 10


To illustrate concretely the manner of determining the mental
age of a child, the following record of the examination of a boy 14


years and 1 1 months old is cited. The test numbers refer to the
preceding list.

Year III. (6 tests, 2 months each.)
I. Passed.

Year IV. (6 tests, 2 months each.)
I. Passed.
3- "

4. "

5. "

6. Failed.

Year V. (6 tests, 2 months each.)
I. Passed.

3. Failed.

4. "

5. Passed.

Year VL. (6 tests, 2 months each.)

1. Passed.

2. Failed.

3. "

4. "

5. Passed.

6. Failed.
Ai. Passed.

Year VII. (Failed.)

This boy passed all the tests of the third year and twelve addi-
tional tests scattered through the years IV, V, and VI, for each
of which he receives two additional months of credit. Hence his
mental age is three years plus 24 months or five years, and his
intelligent quotient is .34. He falls into the class of imbeciles.

A different plan of evaluation has been prepared by Yerkes and


Bridges ('15) in the construction of their point scale from the
materials contained in the original Binet tests. This modification
has proved quite satisfactory in practice. Haines has constructed
from the same material a similar j^oint scale which is adapted for
use with the blind. Pintner and Paterson ('17) have assembled
and standardized a series of fifteen performance tests chiefly of
the form-board type which are especially valuable for use with the
deaf and the mute.

It must not be assumed from the apparent simplicity of the
Binet tests that any novice can use them. On the contrary it
requires considerable training and psychological insight to use
them properly. Some persons by reason of lack of tact and sym-

Online LibraryDaniel StarchEducational psychology → online text (page 8 of 41)