Mental tests for college entrance

L. L. Thurstone
1919 Journal of Educational Psychology  
PURPOSE OF THE MENTAL TESTS One of the main duties of the division of applied psychology at Carnegie Institute of Technology is to advise the deans and the faculty concerning the admission of students and their subsequent promotion and transfer from one course of study to another. Our main concern so far has been to establish the diagnostic value of mental tests as a criterion for admission. In order to demonstrate the practical value of mental tests we have been giving a series of tests to the
more » ... freshmen early in their first year of residence. The test papers were scored and filed until scholarship records and faculty estimates were available. Then we asked ourselves this question: If we had been given complete control over admissions could we have predicted by means of our tests which students were to fail and which were to succeed in their college work? This is a practical problem. Our results may be ever so interesting from some theoretical standpoint but even if we compile tons of norms of performance, the work is a failure if we are unable to establish a relation between the test scores and the criterion which is in this case the student's performance in college work. The present report is an answer to this question with reference to the entering students at the women's college at Carnegie Institute of Technology. DESCRIPTION OF GROUP The students to whom we gave these tests were all freshmen at the Margaret Morrison Carnegie School of Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. All of the 114 freshmen were high school graduates. The four year course in the women's college is devoted mainly to applied science, including household economics, secretarial studies, costume economics, home arts and crafts, social work and general science. The freshmen look forward to specializing in one of the above mentioned departments. For this reason it is apparent that the school does not attract students of academic preferences, but the grade of work in the special subjects mentioned above is comparable with that of other well known women's colleges. The first year course, on which the instructors based their estimates of the students, contains the following subjects: physics, sewing, history, English, drawing and color, hygiene, chemistry, foods, accounting, and social ethics. *Since this article was written our mental test program has been arranged in the cycle-omnibus form, using most of the test material here described. The results of the cycle-omnibus form will be published later.
doi:10.1037/h0071432 fatcat:2ksztc3b3fbothunhtlp3or2ry