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Florence Nightingale School
NERVOUS AND BACKWARD CHILDREN
BOARDING SCHOOL :
DAY SCHOOL :
g Organized by teachers experienced and zealously interested in the work of educating nervous and backward children. g Most approved special methods of teaching are employed. g Individual instruction by graduate teachers, experienced in the training of difficult children.
Kindergarten, Elementary and Manual Training Departments
FULL PARTICULARS UPON APPLICATION. RUDOLPH S. FRIED, Principal
Entered as second-class matter March 28, 1916, at the Post Office at Concord, N. H.,
under the Act of March 3, 1879
A REPORT OF A SURVEY OF THE CHILDREN IN THE UNGRADED CLASSES IN THE BOROUGH
OF THE BRONX
ELIZABETH M. TEAS
NEW YORK CITY
This survey of the Ungraded Classes of the Bronx was undertaken that a bird's-eye view might be had of the mental power of the children in them, at a given time. These classes are established to provide school opportunity for those mentally defective children only who can profit by attendance thereon. In determining the profit to be derived from school attendance, two factors are to be considered,-a. Educability; b. Educational opportunity. Educability is a matter of individual, personal, mental equipment. Educational opportunity is such only when it considers the needs and capacities of those to be educated. It is true that the traditional school stigmatizes as dunce or dullard a large group of children who in a different educational environment prove to have ability along certain lines. It is to provide this different educational environment that the ungraded class is organized.
In realizing the aim of the survey, it was possible to get information on other points. This also is presented. Some of these points are:
1. Proportion of the total public school population of the Bronx on register in the ungraded classes of that borough.
2. Sex distribution of children in these ungraded classes.
3. Classification as determined by the Town revision of the Binet-Simon tests of children in these ungraded classes.
4. Failures of children in five selected tests of the Town revision of the Binet-Simon scale.
5. Variability of school attainments in reading and in arithmetic of 18 children of this study having a similar Binet score of 8.
6. Children in the ungraded classes who have had a minimum training of five months and whose improvement has been slight compared with that of other children,
7. Number of years these children have attended ungraded classes.
PROPORTION OF THE TOTAL PUBLIC SCHOOL POPULATION OF THE BRONX
ON REGISTER IN UNGRADED CLASSES Exclusive of parochial and private schools there were 103,848 children on register in the schools of the Bronx on April 1, 1917. These children were distributed among fifty-six schools, fifteen of which have ungraded classes for mentally defective children. The total register of these classes was 411 children. They were taught in twenty-three classes with an average register of 17.8 per cent. On the basis of the 411 children under instruction, it is evident that 0.3 per cent of the total public school population is mentally defective. It is apparent that there is at least one mentally defective child in every 252 school children in the Borough of the Bronx.
It has been established by the English Royal Commission that the percentage of mental defectives in the school population in urban districts like Birmingham, is 1.12; in Manchester, 1.24; and in Lincoln, 1.10. It is seen therefore, that there is at least one mentally defective child in every 85 school children in those districts of England. (Feeble-mindedness in Children of School Age, Lapage, p. 20.)
An intensive study of 2,500 public school children conducted by the Nassau County Survey Committee revealed the fact that there were 182 abnormal children in this group. Of these, 39, or 1.6 per cent, are reported as definitely feeble-minded and 14 others, or 0.6 per cent, as probably feeble-minded. This represents a total of 2.2 per cent of the entire group of 2,500. There is, therefore, at least 1 mentally defective child in every 47 school children in this locality, with the probability of 1 in every 50. If the conservative percentage of 1.6 per cent be applied to the Borough of the Bronx, there are 1,661 children in that borough who are definitely feeble-minded. The chances are that in this particular locality there is as much feeble-mindedness as exists in Nassau County, New York. To ineet this need, it would be necessary to organize immediately 60 additional Ungraded Classes to care properly for the mentally defective children now in the regular classes of the public schools of the Bronx.
SEX DISTRIBUTION OF CHILDREN IN UNGRADED CLASSES IN THE BRONX
During the period of this survey there were 258 boys and 103 girls on register in the ungraded classes of the Bronx.
Per cent of
100.0 This seems to bear out the theory held by many that females deviate less from the norm than do males. (Thorndike, Educational Psychology, second edition, pp. 33 to 43.) Huey found that the admissions for one year
to the Illinois Institution for the feeble-minded showed 61 females and 79 males. Superficially, this suggests that females deviate less than males for this characteristic.
On the other hand data is available (Psychological Bulletin, Volume XIII, No. 10) which shows that the degree of variability is not sex-determined. The fact that more boys than girls are found in these ungraded classes permits of explanation other than that of greater variability in males. One of these is based on the fact that boys have greater freedom, are less restrained than girls. Because of this, they come into conflict with their school environment. This maladjustment makes it imperative that some notice be given to them and some explanation sought.
Except in certain types of abnormality, conduct disturbances in girls are less gross and obvious than in boys. Girls conform, and seem to show a greater willingness to presevere in spite of difficulties. This is perhaps due to the traditional attitude toward girls and women and to the training they receive. As a result of this attitude of girls, and toward them, those of the higher grades of mental defect are called slow and backward, and are not proposed by school officials for special school classification. CLASSIFICATION OF CHILDREN IN UNGRADED CLASSES IN THE BRONX
DETERMINED BY THE Town REVISION OF THE BINET-SIMON TESTS Of these children, 366 were given the Town revision of the Binet-Simon tests during the period from October, 1916 to March, 1917. This included all children present at the time of the examination. Three of these children were given full promotion. They had been working in the regular grade on trial for some time, and showed that they could maintain themselves with children from 2 to 4 years younger. They will not appear in this study. Two were doubly-handicapped, -deafness complicated by mental deficiency. A fair estimate of their mentality, by means of this test, was made impossible because of their extreme deafness. Eight children were promoted on trial. As they are doubtful cases, probably feeble-minded, they appear in this study. These eliminations leave 361 children which form the subjects of this study.
Subnormal children are classified by Town into three groups: a. Idiots—with a mental age of one and two years. b. Imbeciles with a mental age from three to and including seven. c. Morons—with a mental age from seven to and including twelve.
By this classification, it appears that in the group of 361 children, who are the subjects of this study, there were no idiots; 189 imbeciles; 164 morons; 8 doubtful cases. Graph A shows that one-half of the children are between 6.4 and 8.8. One-fourth are less than the minimum and onefourth more than the maximum given above. Graph A also shows the variation found in each group. A person with only popular knowledge in this field, has one definite picture in mind when he speaks of an imbecile. This survey shows that within the group characterized as imbecile there is infinite gradation of mental power. As one approaches the upper limit of