ERIC Number: ED233079
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Henry Herbert Goddard and the Politics of Mental Measurement (1910-1920).
The history of the study of human mental ability is an example of the dialectic in social science between those who interpret data within the framework of existing social inequities and those who look for perspectives that might eventually dissolve inequities. The dedication of Henry Herbert Goddard to a belief in the scientific proof of hereditary intelligence and the need to stratify society by mental ability was part of an effort in the beginning of this century to rationalize dramatic social and economic inequities. Our school systems are still heavily marked by the procedures that gained credence during this period. Tracking (recently obscured under the euphemism of "ability grouping"), intelligence testing and labeling are an unavoidable part of receiving an education in this country. Goddard's work was central to the institutionalization of these tools of stratification and segregation. A look at Goddard's methodology and data analysis shows a clear class bias that permeated and distorted both his theoretical efforts and his proposed practical solutions. It becomes apparent that Goddard's work is not a measure of psychological abilities but rather an evaluation of social behavior based on the standards of one set of class values. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Data Interpretation; Eugenics; Goddard (H H)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, Montreal, Quebec, April 11-15, 1983).