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The Future For The Tests

Creator: Walter Lippmann (author)
Date: November 29, 1922
Publication: The New Republic
Source: n/a

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6. The claim that a universal test of native intelligence exists is not only unfounded and harmful, but it is also stultifying to the practical development of the tests themselves. Instead of aiming at a universal test of hereditary intelligence, psychological research should be directed towards the development of a multitude of specific tests for the use of administrators, industrial, scholastic or military, as the case may be, who have to deal with the practical problem of selecting and classifying groups of people. The aim should be to test, not the capacity of the germplasm of John Smith, for that cannot by any knowledge we possess be distinguished from his training, but the specific fitness of John Smith at this moment to do the work of the eighth grade, to run a freight locomotive or to sell medium priced automobiles. For tasks of modern life are much too varied to be measured by a single and universal test. One series of tests for intelligence is as meaningless as would be the attempt to measure time, space, weight, speed, color, shape, beauty, justice, faith, hope and charity, with a footrule, a pound scale and a speedometer.


W. L.

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