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mental ability, than in distinguishing types of ability. The most important groups to be distinguished on this basis, and those for which every school system ought to have special provision, are the following:
(a) The mental defectives.
(b) The permanently retarded.
(c) The temporarily retarded.
(d) The very superior.
(a) Most public school systems refuse to admit children whose defects are so extreme that they are practically unteachable—those whose limit of probable development is six years or less. Such children need only custodial care. It is the belief of the present committee that the upper limit for mental defect should be fixed, pending further evidence, at a ten year level. In terms of school grades, this means that third, or, in some instances, fourth grade academic work marks the limits of accomplishment of the defective.
(b) The group of permanently retarded children is much larger than that of the defectives, and is a more vexing educational problem. They are children who can doubtless be made self-supporting in simple occupations, and who can often be taught to conduct themselves properly. They attain a mental age from ten to twelve years or somewhat more and complete fifth, sixth and occasionally seventh or eighth grade. This group furnishes many of the problems of behavior in our schools.
(c) The temporarily retarded children are those who have lost ground academically because of illness, undue absence from school or poor advantages. To distinguish temporary from permanent retardation is by no means easy. In some cases the diagnosis cannot be made without a period of trial in a special class. Temporarily retarded children can frequently make up part or all what they have lost and be returned to the regular classes.
(d) Superior children, who constitute a particularly precious asset of society, have been for the most part given no special advantages in our schools. Classes recently formed in Urbana, in Louisville, and in Cincinnati, have shown that children diagnosed as very superior can progress twice as fast in elementary school work as the present rate, without strain. They not only move at twice the rate but do the work better than the average child. Segregating them gives them the advantages of the stimulus of minds of equal capacity, of being kept normally busy, of forming good habits of work, and of securing more education in the years of their school life than would otherwise be possible.
So far this report has discussed the differential diagnosis and treatment of children based upon differences in degree of ability. The problem of special kinds of abilities and special disabilities is more obscure. Frequently what appears like a disability in reading, in spelling or in arithmetic turns out to be merely had mental habits. Special abilities in oratory, in music, in literary expression are apt to be part of a high level of general ability. The entire topic needs much more investigation before anything very definite can be said.
The evident disabilities of blindness and defective vision, deafness and defective hearing, and speech defect are already provided for in special classes of our larger school systems, and should, of course, have treatment in every community. In many states, appropriations from state funds supplement local resources in providing suitable instruction for the blind and deaf.
The connection between mental status and problems of behavior in the schools is one which needs much further investigation. The psychologist of the future can doubtless be much more useful in helping to solve problems of behavior, than he has been in the past. A child who is placed in a class in which the work is much too hard for him may react against the unreasonable demands by being unruly, and by playing truant. A child whose work is much too easy for him may get into mischief in his spare time. Though these sources of misbehavior are certainly frequent, genuine mental conflicts are probably a more frequent source of serious misbehavior, and are much more difficult to deal with. In this direction some of the most important contributions of the future may be looked for.
In closing, the committee would like to call attention to the importance to social agencies of having a well conducted psychological clinic in the public schools. Within a few years, such a clinic collects information about the problem families of the community, which is of the greatest service to the social agencies. Since the criminals and chronic incompetents of the future are to be found at present among the school children who are failures and problems of behavior, preventive work should have its source in such a clinic.
RELATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS IN THE ARMY TO EXAMINATIONS OF SCHOOL CHILDREN
Major M. E. H agger ty. Sanitary Corps, Washington
Major Haggerty stated that soon after the declaration of war, a group of psychologists spent two or three weeks at Vineland, N. J., and there formulated a group of tests. These were not new in principle and were nothing more than adaptation and standardization of tests already used in clinics.
Several thousand men were examined and then the psychologists met again and revised tests. About 4,000 army and navy men in all were examined by these tests for large groups. No revision was made after the second trial. The second trial did give classification for men in army groups. About 66,000 were tested in four camps including officers in training at Fort Snelling.
The meaning of this for public school work is: (a) the demonstration of possibility of testing large numbers in groups, (b) The relation of the survey tests of this type to the general tests of public schools. Both tests may be used in public schools under one source of direction, (c) The possibilities of finding out the extent of special ability and disability of school children.
The great demand for psychologists in the army has developed a psychological personnel far beyond what existed a year ago. In fact, it would have taken ten years to accomplish this work in normal times. We will get out of this standards of training for psychologists. We must insist on adequate training, and, in general, that no person shall give psychological tests who has not had fundamental psychological training in the university and also clinical experience under direction. They must also have certificates.
Over two hundred psychologists are now being trained in the army in giving both group and individual tests. Major Haggerty said that the ability to give a mental test, such as the Binet, no more qualifies the person giving it to be a psychological diagnostician or clinical psychologist, than the reading of the thermometer qualifies one to practice medicine.
The question is, what does it mean to bring the tests into public schools? First, the classified basis of actual measurement, and second, perhaps the most important service will be, the release of superior children from school routine.
Chairman Mrs. Jessie D. Hodder,
Vice Chairman Charles L. Chute,
Secretary, State Probation Commission, Albany, N. Y.
Secretary F. Leslie Hayford, Secretary, Trustees, Mass. Training Schools, Boston.
Col. Cyrus B. Adams Boston F. Emory Lyon Chicago
Edith N. Burleigh Cambridge, Mass Harry L, McClain St. Louis
Emos W. Butler Indianapolis S. D. Murphy Birmingham
Rev. Peter Crumley Joliet, 111. David C. Peyton, M. D.-. Jeffersonville, Ind.
Bernard Glueck, M. D Ossining, N. Y. Mrs. Jane Deeter Rippin Philadelphia
Hon. Charles W. Hoffman Cincinnati John J. Sonsteby Chicago
William J. Homer. . .Great Meadow, N. Y. Rev. John L. Sutton New Orleans
George VV. Kirchwey New York