At one time in their history there was little danger of the Women's Colleges of Liberal Arts receiving students who were unlikely to benefit by a higher education. Women who sought college training were in general of high intellect and character. The road to college in those days, however, had to be stormed by women, whereas at the present time it is an open highway. Thus candidates for admission have greatly increased in number and represent a more varied sample of interests and abilities than in the past. It is most improbable that only the industrious, the studious, and the intellectually gifted now apply for entrance.
The aim of this paper is to summarize a considerable portion of the work that has been done in administering intelligence tests to college students. The material at my command is doubtless not exhaustive, but it is sufficiently complete to indicate the general situation in this field of intelligence testing.
The task of education is to make changes in human beings. We teachers and learners will spend our time this year to make ourselves and others different, thinking and feeling and acting in new and better ways. These classrooms, laboratories, and libraries are tools to help us change human nature for the better in respect to knowledge and taste and power.
The rapid development and extensive use of so-called intelligence tests during the past few years is one of the most striking and interesting facts in the field of educational psychology and one of the most significant in the province of school administration. Not only are psychologists today giving a large measure of their attention to devising, improving, and applying mental tests, but teachers and school administrators are employing these tests more and more to determine the ability of school children to do school work. Indeed, there is danger at present that the movement in the direction of intelligence testing may grow out of all bounds; that it may be misunderstood in theory and erroneously and even harmfully applied in practice. It is with the purpose of making somewhat clearer the nature of intelligence tests and of pointing out their value and their limitations that this chapter is composed.
The purpose of this chapter is threefold: first, to describe for teachers and administrators common and elementary methods of treating test data (Section I); second, to summarize the newer and more elaborate statistical methods for research workers (Section II); third, to present an annotated bibliography which will put the advanced student of educational statistics in touch with the new methods (Section III).
The following list of intelligence tests presents in convenient form, condensed information concerning the compiler, the composition, the range of ages or grades covered, the time needed for administration, the publisher, the price, and sources of further information with respect to the tests that have come to my attention. The list suffers from several limitations. It makes no attempt to include tests or combinations of tests that are designed for individual application.
A study of present practice in that important part of school administration having to do with the measurement of teaching efficiency reveals the greatest diversity of method. The study also discloses a surprising number of large cities having no method at all in determining the relative specific efficiency of their teachers.
Discussions of the "ideal teacher" are numerous in educational titerature. Every educational essayist has described that mythical creature in glowing terms. The pages of the reports of the National Education Association are full of her virtues. There is much of inspiration and suggestion in these discussions but little or nothing of scientific value, little of which a superintendent could make practical use. Each writer or speaker has described the qualities as they appeal to him, usually emphasizing one or two virtues to the exclusion of others. The great bulk of the writing on the subject of teaching merit has been of the subjective, a priori type without any basis beyond the theory and experience of the one who was writing.
Objective measurement of educational products and processes has not yet reached the point where we can rely upon such measurements to give us all or even most of the information we need about our teachers. We are still dependent, to a very great extent, on the judgment of supervisors and others whose business it is to have this information. This does not mean that we are to be without exactness in our judgment of teaching efficiency, or that we have to belong to the ranks of those who judge by "general impression."
Any conclusions to which we may come later in regard to the relative importance of the various qualities of merit and in regard to other problems involved are based on the experience and work of between 40 and 50 school men and women who have tried out and criticized for us the scheme just described. In the correlations to be discussed later, ratings of 424 teachers from 39 schools were used. These 39 schools were representative of 27 cities, all but 8 of which are in Illinois. They represent populations varying in size from less than four thousand to two million.
The rating device which wehave described in the preceding chapter was designed primarily to obtain for us information on which to base an accurate estimate of the value of the qualities of teaching merit there set forth. Our idea has been to make it as easy as possible for school officials to give us correct information. The rating officer is not worried by any schedule of values or what he thinks is the relative importance of the qualities under consideration. He has before him in each case an actual teacher whose various qualities he is judging in terms of Excellent, Good, Medium, Poor, and Very Poor, with variations.
The following points are apparently most important as resulting from our study of the problem up to this point.
Explicit criteria have been widely published to accurately evaluate both quantitative and qualitative research. Peer review that uses one paradigm on the basis of the other, however, is inappropriate at best, raises ethical questions in regard to fairness, and can have dire consequences for faculty careers.
In this commentary, I reflect on the value of qualitative research methodology classes. As I show in my discussion of the classes I teach, what students learn from the class is not solely a methodological approach to inquiry, but a different (and for many, a new) way to ask questions, and as I suggest, to “see the world anew.”