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INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS AT THE WASHINGTON IRVING HIGH SCHOOL
IN NEW YORK EDWARD CORNELL ZABRISKIE, PRINCIPAL During the past year 61 girls have been given individual psychological examinations by the Terman revision of the Binet tests. Of the 44 girls in grades above the first term, all except one were selected for reasons such as being over-age and failures in work, apparent lack of interest in their studies, misconduct, or discouragement shown either in a resentful attitude or in almost superhuman effort to master subjects that seemed beyond their abilities. The one exception was examined to help decide whether she had high enough intelligence to warrant us in recommending her for college. She had never failed in high school, but had done work of only fair quality. The 17 firstterm girls all belong to the class which entered in February, 1921, and were selected because they had low scores in the Haggerty group tests given in January, and because in all cases except six they were over-age for first-term work.
The object of the examination was in every case to determine the girl's general level of intelligence. If this was found to be below that necessary for probable success in the course she had chosen, an effort was made to guide her into the type of work in which she could probably succeed; if her general intelligence was found to be sufficient for the probable realization of the aim toward which she was working, the effort was to encourage her to continue where she was and to remove what seemed the cause of her difficulty.
These individual examinations can be given to only one at a time, and take at least an hour. They have been made possible at Washington Irving through the kindness of Miss Elizabeth E. Farrell in arranging for psychologists qualified under the New York State law to give the examinations.
GRADES OF INTELLIGENCE The grades of intelligence of these 61 girls occur with the following degrees of frequency among 1,000 unselected school chil
dren, according to the facts given by Dr. Terman on page 78 of
The 38 girls with IQ's of 60-89 are distinctly below average in general intelligence; the 8 with IQ's of 90-94 rank as “low average;" and the 14 of 95-105 as average. The one between 106-110 ranks as “high average," and is the girl who has been recommended for college.
Cost OF FAILURE The cost of grades of work taken by these 61 girls, but not passed, in both elementary and high school, has been computed on the figures for the year 1919: $45.75 a year for an elementary school pupil, and $115 a year for a high school pupil. The total is $6,391.08. As the present cost is about 40% more than it was in 1919, the total would be about $10,650, if the present cost were taken.
FOLLOW-UP WORK In every case there has been thorough follow-up work by the general advisers of the school, Miss Mary H. Johnson and Miss Edith M. Tuttle, and program adjustments have been made, when they were found desirable, and when the girl and her parent would consent to them, by Miss Dorothea Eltzner of the Program Committee. When it was judged that a girl would continue to fail in the course she was attempting, she was told that she seemed not to have the type of mind necessary for success in that course, but that she probably had a very good mind of a different type, and a different course was recommended. The diversified courses of Washington Irving make it possible to hold out hope of success in another type of work to many who fail in what they choose at first. The advice given has been based in every case not only on the findings of the psychological examination, but on all that can be known of the girl's elementary and high school record, her temperament, health, industry, aims in life, etc. The following statement shows the results of this follow-up: Are following advice to change or modify course. ......... 25 Will not follow such advice now, but may later....... Definitely refuse advice................................. Are being guided out of high school.... No change of course recommended at present, but good re
sponse to encouragement to do their best, to care for health, etc. . . . ... No change of course recommended; poor response, to efforts
to have them improve.........
At least two-thirds of the girls are following the advice given.
CORRELATION WITH IQ's in HAGGERTY GROUP TESTS The 17 girls of the first-term class who were given the individual examinations show the need of checking up in this way the results of group tests for those who score low, as group tests are not reliable for every individual, especially those who score low, but only for about 80% of all. Of these 17 girls:
8 represent 17 of IQ 64-79 in Haggerty tests. 9 represent 81 of IQ 80-89 in Haggerty tests.
The IQ's in the Haggerty and the Terman tests compare as follows: Practically the same........ 10 points or more lower in Terman.... 10 points higher in Terman........ 27 points higher in Terman..........
Of these 17 girls, 14 repeated grades in elementary school, all had failures in work at the first end-term in high school, in spite of the fact that the teachers of their classes adapted the pace of the work to the ability of the girls, and all except three had very few marks above 60-65%. Of these three, one evidently failed to do herself justice in the Haggerty test, but showed average intelligence in the Terman, and is doing work of about 70% grade in the academic course. Two others who were low in both the Haggerty and the Terman tests are doing work of about 70% grade, one in the academic and one in the commercial course. Their work will be watched to see whether the low IQ's are mistakes, or whether the present school standing is the result of extraordinary effort which the girls cannot maintain. No effort is being made to divert these three girls from the courses they have chosen. The other 14 girls have been advised to change their courses, and five of them are doing so.
INDIVIDUAL ILLUSTRATIONS The following illustrate the types of problems that these girls present, and the reactions of the girls and their parents to advice:
No. 1-Age: 15 years, 3 months.
Mental age: 13 years, 9 months.
This girl was in her third term in the school about a year and a half ago, failing in the commercial course, being reported to the office for sullenness, refusal to follow directions, and demoralizing others. She frequently resorted to hysteria, and her teachers thought her mentally subnormal. A visit to her home, and interviews with her father and her aunt at school, gave us the information that she had always been highly nervous and not very well, and that two uncles had been insane.
She was advised to change to the dressmaking course and to take an elective in hand work instead of her foreign language. She readily followed this advice, and with patience and understanding on the part of her teachers, she seems to be overcoming the habit of failure and her tendency to hysteria. She is now in the fifth term of the dressmaking course.
No. 5-Age: 18 years, 6 months.
Mental age: 15 years, 7 months.
disturbance; pathologically shy and sensitive.
Attended parochial and public schools in New York 11 years; reached high school at the age of 17.
This girl was in her third term in the academic course. She works very hard, worries over her work, cries easily, does not get along with her family at home, has been reported to the office for refusing to recite, crying and starting to leave the room when asked to hold up her head, etc. Her father wishes her to leave school; her mother would like her to stay in school and go into some course where the work would be easier. She suffers from a feeling of inferiority through her inability to do as well as the other girls in her class, but she persists in her determination to stay in the academic course. She is being given a lightened academic program, with sewing as an elective. No. 6-Age: 15 years.
Mental age: 12 years, 3 months.
Attended a New York elementary school for 9 years; marked deficient in arithmetic and geography in the 6B term.
This pupil will not be able to follow the academic course successfully. She enjoys sewing; says: “I was always the best sewer in our class. I always got good marks in sewing." In such pursuits as sewing this child is able to get a sense of achievement. She says her reason for not changing her course now at the end of her first term is that her father wishes her to be something high."
No. 7-Age: 19 years, 2 months.
Mental age: 12 years, 6 months.
Attended New York elementary schools for 13 years; marked deficient from 2A on in arithmetic, English, history, etc.
This girl had been three terms in high school, failing in the academic course. Her mother had refused the advice that she