Eugenics Extra Credit

Development of Standardized Testing

Francis Galton begins twin studies

1822 - 1911

Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin) begins twin studies to see influence of environment on behavior. Believes in success due to genes, tries to quantify intelligence measuring the head circumference (1880) by giving people a percentile number, and creates the first intelligence test.

"American School" ethnography

1830 - 1839

Samuel George Morton originates the "American School" ethnography, a school of thought that claimed the difference between humans was one of species rather than variety.

Beginning of CollegeBoard


The College Entrance Examination Board (aka College Board) is created to establish uniform entrance requirements for universities.

"Binet-Simon" Scale


Alfred Binet (French) develops the “Binet-Simon” scale to measure intelligence (still used widely). Children take as many tests as possible, and each gets progressively harder and the result is the age mentality. Mental age was the antecedent of IQ scores. Binet knew his method was flawed.

“Binet- Simon” scale introduced to the U.S.

1905 - 1910

Robert Goddard takes the “Binet- Simon” scale to the US and translates it, and Lewis Terman standardizes it to provide a new way to see who was feeble-minded to not allow them to reproduce.

U.S. Army recruits given IQ test

1914 - 1918

During World War I, Robert Yerkes and Lewis Terman convince the US Army to allow all recruits to be tested with the Army Alpha/Beta IQ Test (Alpha for literates, Beta for illiterates). It was supposed to measure native intellectual ability. First time that IQ is given to millions of people at once.

First SAT exam & Army IQ Tests published

1921 - 1925

•  Carl Brigham takes the Army IQ Test idea to schools and writes the first SAT (then known as Scholastic Aptitude Test) made specifically for college admissions. College Board (panel regulating admission to Ivy Leagues) asks him for an entry exam.
• Publishes Army IQ Tests: A Study of American Intelligence which argues that there is clearly innate intelligence and that tests show superior intelligence of “Nordic Race.” Publication plays key role in creation of immigration restrictions.

Achievement tests start being administered


The Cooperative Test Service of the American Council on Education began to conduct achievement tests at schools and colleges, administering 650 different exams.

SAT test administered to soldiers during WWII


During World War II, adapted SAT given to soldiers (Army-Navy College Qualification Test). Given to 300,000 people in one day. Helps make an easier way to distinguish who can go to college when vets return from war and want an education based on GI Bill of Rights

Educational Testing Service is founded


Educational Testing Service is founded as a non-profit organization to administer SAT tests and provide guidance and research about education.

ETS proposes sending lowest IQ scores to assist the military


ETS (Educational Testing Service) proposes to use IQ scores to send those students with lowest IQ to assist the military and strengthen educational and industrial planning.

ETS releases student SAT scores to High Schools

1958 - 1960

ETS begins to release students' scores on the SAT to their high schools, so that they could in turn be passed on to the students. Nearly 25% of all American high school students are taking the SAT.

The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould is published.


The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould (Harvard historian of science) is published. It is a history and critique of the statistical methods underlying biological determination, eugenics, and the measure of intelligence. It talks about two fallacies found in the argument of biological determinism: reification (our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities) and ranking (propensity for ordering complex variation as a gradual ascending scale).
It receives a lot of criticism: miscalculation, misrepresentation, intellectual error, even that it is only propaganda.

The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray is published.


The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray is published. Its central argument is that human intelligence is influenced by both inherited and environmental factors. It argues that those with high intelligence are becoming separated from those of average and below-average intelligence, and that this is a dangerous social trend with the United States moving toward a more divided society similar to that in Latin America. It is controversial because it refers to racial differences in intelligence. It supports IQ as a measure of intelligence.

Nicholas Lemann publishes book on America's obsession with standardized testing


The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy by Nicholas Lemann is published. It examines American obsession for standardized testing and how it has become the key to becoming part of society’s ruling class.

Students taking the SAT today


Nearly three million students take the SAT each academic year at nearly 7,000 test centers in more than 170 countries. More than 1.66 million students in the high school class of 2012 took the SAT at least once during high school.