Study Guide 2: Historical and Social Context of Testing Flashcards Preview

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Anti-testing movement

In the 1950's-70's, there was a movement to stop/slow down testing. Important events included: Whyte's book on American corporate culture, schools burning answer sheets, McCarthyism (accusations of disloyalty without proper evidence), employment legal cases (e.g. Myart vs. Motorola), Civil Rights Act, and Head Start.



Natural ability to do a certain kind of work. It is cannot be gained or acquired. Aptitude tests measure more specific abilities than intelligence tests (i.e. one ability domain).


Army alpha

military intelligence test used in WWI, reserved for the LITERATE. 8 verbally loaded tests for average and high-functioning recruits.


Army beta

Military intelligence test used in WWI, reserved for the ILLITERATE and ESL. Consisted of non-verbal tests (visual-perceptual and motor tests).



judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture. This is problematic in evaluating tests developed outside one's own cultural context. E.g. The ojibway approach to role assignment may be seen as non-objective from a Western perspective.



social philosophy/movement that advocates for practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population. Early means focused on selective breeding. Modern means focus on prenatal tests, birth control pills, genetic counselling, etc.


Flynn effect

name given to a substantial and long-sustained increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world


Idiographic approach

(Kant) British influence on measurement - seeking to understand the meaning of unique and often subjective phenomena. Typical of qualitative approaches and the social sciences.


Ipsative approach

respondent is compared only with himself or herself.


Nomothetic approach

German influence on measurement - seeking to develop generalizations and laws to explain often objective phenomena. Typical of quantitative approaches and natural sciences.


Projective hypothesis

The idea that ambiguous, unstructured stimuli, such as the Rorschach inkblot test, are necessary to bypass a person's defenses and discover his or her unconscious needs, motives, and conflicts.


The Bell Curve (book)

Its central argument is that human intelligence is substantially influenced by both inherited and environmental factors and is a better predictor of many personal dynamics (e.g. economic, social, and overall success). Additional points: intelligence is largely heritable, no one has been able to manipulate IQ significantly through changes in environmental factors, individuals w/ high intelligence are becoming separated in the US - social policies need to address this.


Sir Francis Glaton

1822-1911 – obsessed with measurement. Attempted to measure intellect through reaction time
& sensory discrimination tasks. But also tried to measure beauty, personality, lecture boringness, efficacy of prayer. Wrote “Hereditary genius”, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its development. Had a psychometric laboratory where he tested 17,000 people.
His contribution to the testing movement was showing that objective tests can be devised


James McKeen Cattell

1860-1944 – emphasized the study of individual differences in his studies of reaction time. Worked with Galton and Wundt. Also created a mental battery that involved reaction time, and physical tests. Also had many students through whom his influence was felt. Associated with the “brass instruments” as this is what he used in his lab.


Clark Wissler

A student of Cattell’s: looked at relationship between test scores and academic grades. Was the first to actually validate this relationship – but obvs. His mental tests showed barely any correlation. Attempts to correlate reaction time with academic achievement were abandoned after he published his paper – BUT, this was premature given that he only used university students in his sample size (restricted range of scores), and few trials of RT (poor reliability).


Alfred Binet

(1857-1911) Introduced his scales of intelligence in 1905 in Europe. Prolific author and researcher – began career in medicine, switched to psych. Became disenchanted with Cattellian approach to measurement. Decided that attention was key component of intelligence. Recommended using endless patience, and entertaining tricks to keep children engaged. The 1908 revision was standardized on 300 children. Thus allowing for the concept of mental age


Robert M. Yerkes

Well-known psych professor at Harvard, convinced U.S. government that all U.S. recruits had to be given intelligence tests (1919). Chaired committee responsible for this with Goddard and Terman. Developed Army Alpha and Beta tests. These consisted of: following directions, arthimetical reasoning, practical judgment, synonym-antonym pairs, disarranged sentences, number series completion, analogies, information.


Henry H. Goddard

Imported Binet’s intelligence scales into the U.S. Was hired by the Vineland training institute to do research on the feebleminded. He translated the Binet-Simon scale for American children. He classified residents of the Vineland facility as idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded etc. Was then invited to Ellis island ¬to examine immigrants. Though first thinking that it would be hard to use intelligence tests on immigrants cuz no stats on their rates existed, he became convinced that the rates were much higher in immigrants. Basically, engaged in blatant misuse of intelligence tests.