we have to examine and challenge a

Full text




“If we are serious about creating learning environments that foster high levels of


we have to examine and challenge a

fundamental notion central to the educational process……

the notion of intelligence.”

Can we Talk about Race?

Beverly Tatum



A story of a

fixed mindset.


Alfred Binet, French Psychologist

1905 - first intelligence test – administered individually

Believed that intelligence was much too multidimensional to capture with a single number or score.

Worried that the use of his test

would lead to labeling of children.


"Some recent philosophers seem to have given their moral approval to these deplorable

verdicts that affirm that the intelligence of an individual is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be augmented.

We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we will try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing."

Alfred Binet 1909



Francis Galton, Englishman born in 1822

Brilliant Scholar/Researcher

Believed in a direct correlation between race and intelligence.

Measuring such led to creation of Eugenics

Galton and followers believed that in order to build a superior race - eliminate defective

strains of the species

Galton Society – New York, American Museum of

Natural History


Sociological Society – 1904 – London University

Galton presented Eugenics

H.G. Wells writes:

“It is in the sterilization of failures, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human

stock lies.”


Eugenics Board of North Carolina (31 other states)


Hanes & Gamble

Gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization

70% of operations after 1945

Girls and Women 85%

Non white 40%

New York Times – Dec. 9






Galton’s Eugenics

A culture of assessment

Industrial Revolution



Henry Herbert Goddard

Vineland Training School for Feeble- Minded Girls and Boys – New Jersey

Three levels of mental deficiency – idiots, imbeciles, and feeble-minded

Believed in eugenics, and felt that the Binet instrument could identify mental

deficiencies in children and segregate them

from “normal” students.


Between 1880 and 1920,more than 25 million foreigners arrived on American


One more historical context.


1891 Immigration Act

Undesirable immigrants listed included:


Insane persons

Paupers or persons likely to become public charges

Persons suffering from a loathsome or a dangerous disease

Persons who have been convicted of a felony or

other infamous crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude




Goddard was invited to Ellis Island

Screening process to identify immigrants believed to be mentally defective

One screener (usually a woman) would visually identify immigrants to be further tested by a second screener.


83% of Jews

80% of Hungarians 79% of Italians 87% of Russians

identified as “feeble-minded”


“We cannot escape the general conclusion that these immigrants were of surprisingly low

intelligence….We are now getting the poorest of each race.”

Goddard’s Explanation


“We want one class of people to have a liberal education, and we want one class of persons, a very larger class or persons, of necessity, to

forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit into specific manual tasks.

Woodrow Wilson, c. 1918


Lewis Terman, Standford University

 The Measurement of Intelligence, 1916

 Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale – single score = IQ

 Advocate of Eugenics

“Among laboring men and servant girls there are

thousands like them (“feeble-minded”). They are the world’s hewers of wood and drawers of water. And yet, as far as intelligence is concerned, the test

have told the truth….no amount of school instruction will ever make them intelligent voters or capable

citizens in the true sense of the word.”


Robert Yerkes

WWI – Army Alpha

 Given to 1.75 million recruits

 Believed that IQ was genetically determined, even though his data suggested otherwise.

 Found a correlation between performance on the test and the amount of schooling.

 When Northern Blacks did well on the test, he argued that it was not because of access to school compared to those from the South, but instead that the more intelligent Blacks had managed to move



Leta Hollingworth, Teachers College

 Founder and persuasive advocate of Gifted and Talented programs in public schools.

 “In Gifted Children: Their Nature and Nurture”


 Ideas were grounded in eugenics

“[Eugenics would] ultimately reduce misery if the stupid, the criminal and other mentally, physically, and morally deficient would refrain from



Architecture of Army Alpha = ITBS, CAT, State Test

 Designed to spread scores

 P-value = .4 - .6

 Performance is based upon as much “out of school” experience as “in school” experiences.

James Popham


Princeton Psychologist Dr. Carl Brigham

A Study of American Intelligence 1922

“The conclusion is that our test results indicate a genuine intellectual superiority of the Nordic group over the Alpine and Mediterranean group” as per Negro Intelligences….”predestined by racial


Dr. Brigham was instrumental in the development of the SAT



“The seeds of prejudice were deeply embedded in American culture….and the new science of

testing seem to provide them a medium within which they could grow.”

Robert Travers


1986 Symposium on Intelligence

Cognitive Psychologist gathered to examine attributes of intelligence.

Results: Attributes of Intelligence

 Information processing

 Cultural Context

 Interrelationships.


Richard J. Herrnstein & Charles Murray

The Bell Curve – 1994

Same arguments rooted in

Goddard, Terman, and Yerkes


Assumptions of Intellect Impact upon Behavior


Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson

Teachers appear to teach more content and to

teach it with more warmth of affect to children

for whom they have high expectations.


Another view of smart to consider

How Children Succeed

Paul Tough


He refers in this book about our culture relying predominantly upon

what he calls a

Cognitive Hypothesis

That success today depends primarily upon cognitive skills – measured by IQ


The best way to develop these skills is

to practice as much as possible.


In an effort to broaden our thinking about skills beyond the cognitive domain, he examined the work

of Nobel Prize recipient in Economics Dr. James Heckman

Dr. Heckman’s in the late 1990’s was involved in research regarding the General Educational

Development Program (GED)

In 2001. one in every five high school graduate was

actually a GED holder. ( one in every seven – 2012)


Through his study using scores on achievement tests, he found that GED recipients were every bit as smart as their high-school counterparts.

However quite unlike high schools graduates when you consider:

Only 3% of GED recipients enrolled in a four- year university or completed some kind of post- secondary degree compared to 46% of high

school graduates.


His conclusion was the GED program was having a negative impact by inducing young people to drop

out of school.

Which created another question:

“If cognitive ability is the most reliable

determinant of success in school and future life, then what was missing in this equation for GED students whose cognitive ability were at or above

their counterparts?”


His conclusions were three psychological traits that allowed high-school graduates to make it

through school.

An inclination to persist at a boring and often unrewarding task.


The ability to delay gratification.


The tendency to follow through on a plan.



Traits In your classroom?

How so?




Follow through

with a plan





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