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“Inequalities of Children in Original Endowment”: How Intelligence Testing Transformed Early Special Education in a North American City School System

  • Jason Ellis (a1)

Extract

“There are few if any more significant events in modern educational history than the developments which have recently taken place in methods of mental measurement,” Lewis Terman wrote in 1923 about the intelligence testing movement he did so much to pioneer in American schools throughout the 1920s. Indeed educational historians, particularly Paul Chapman, have shown that the rise of intelligence testing provoked large and relatively swift changes in public education, enabling school systems to sort and stream their students by ability on an unprecedented scale. “By 1930,” Chapman writes, “both intelligence testing and ability grouping had become central features of the educational system.” Less often talked about are the effects of intelligence testing and the concept of intelligence quotient (IQ) on early special education classes, and on the pupils who attended them. In fact, Terman recognized the significance of IQ testing to special education as well. In 1919, he wrote that IQ tests would help to turn the existing logic of learning problems on its head by proving that “the retardation problem is exactly the reverse of what it is popularly supposed to be.”

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2 Terman, Lewis, “The Problem,” in Intelligence Tests and School Reorganization, eds. Terman, Lewis M., Dickson, Virgil E., Sutherland, A. H., Franzen, Raymond H., Tupper, C. R., and Fernald, Grace (Yonkers-on-Hudson, NY: World Book, 1923), 1.

3 See Chapman, Paul Davis, Schools as Sorters: Lewis M. Terman, Applied Psychology, and the Intelligence Testing Movement, 1890–1930 (New York: New York University Press, 1988); Fass, Paula S., “The IQ: A Cultural and Historical Framework,” American Journal of Education 88, no. 4 (1980): 686–94; Raftery, Judith R., “Missing the Mark: Intelligence Testing in Los Angeles Public Schools, 1922–1932,” History of Education Quarterly 28, no. 1 (1988): 73–93; Ryan, Ann Marie and Stoskopf, Alan, “Public and Catholic School Reponses to IQ Testing in the Early Twentieth Century,” Teachers College Record 110, no. 4 (2008): 894–922.

4 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 5–6.

5 In one article, Ryan, Ann Marie makes some mention of Chicago's special education officials’ views on IQ testing in the 1910s. Ann Marie Ryan, “From Child Study to Efficiency: District Administrators and the Use of Testing in the Chicago Public Schools, 1899 to 1928,” Paedagogica Historica 47, no. 3 (2011): 686–94.

6 Terman, Lewis M., The Intelligence of Schoolchildren (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1919), 2425.

7 Osgood, Robert L., The History of Special Education: A Struggle for Equality in American Schools (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008), 4164.

8 Marvin Lazerson, “The Origins of Special Education,” in Special Education Policies: Their History, Implementation, and Finance, ed. Chambers, Jay G. and Hartman, William T. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983), 2433; Osgood, , The History of Special Education, 46–51; Franklin, Barry M., “Progressivism and Curriculum Differentiation: Special Classes in the Atlanta Public Schools,” History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 4 (1989): 586–90; Franklin, Barry M., From ‘Backwardness’ to ‘At-Risk': Childhood Learning Difficulties and the Contradictions of School Reform (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994), 43–48; Ryan, , “From Child Study to Efficiency,” 343–51; Tropea, Joseph, “Bureaucratic Order and Special Children: Urban Schools, 1890s–1940s,” History of Education Quarterly 27, no. 1 (Spring, 1987): 37–46; Thomson, Gerald, “‘Remove from Our Midst These Unfortunates’: A Historical Inquiry into the Influence of Eugenics, Educational Efficiency as well as Mental Hygiene upon the Vancouver School System and Its Special Classes, 1910–1969,” (PhD dissertation, The University of British Columbia, 1999), 162–69, 267–85.

9 See Franklin, , “Progressivism and Curriculum Differentiation,” 586–90; Franklin, From ‘Backwardness’ to ‘At-Risk, ’ 43–48; Ryan, , “From Child Study to Efficiency,” 346–51.

10 Altenbaugh, Richard J., “Where Are the Disabled in the History of Education? The Impact of Polio on Sites of Learning,” History of Education 35, no. 6 (2006): 686–94; Gleason, Mona, “Size Matters: Medical Experts, Educators, and the Provision of Health Services to Children in Early to Mid-Twentieth Century English Canada,” in Healing the World's Children: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Child Health in the Twentieth Century, ed., Comacchio, Cynthia, Golden, Janet, and Weisz, George (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008), 177; Gleason, Mona, “Navigating the Pedagogy of Failure: Medicine, Education, and the Disabled Child in English Canada, 1900–1945,” in The End of Children?: Changing Trends in Childbearing and Childhood, ed. Lauster, Nathanael and Allan, Graham (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012), 141–60.

11 The pupil records I use come from a dataset that I developed for my PhD dissertation that consists of information from approximately 600 records of students who either attended a variety of different special classes (including auxiliary classes, junior vocational schools, and other special classes) at three different Toronto schools, or attended those three schools and were recommended for special classes at other schools, between approximately 1918 and 1945. As part of my researcher agreement with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), I have replaced with pseudonyms the names of individual students whose records I use. The three different schools I selected for this research are the best available representations of different types of schools and neighborhoods in Toronto, based on the record cards that have survived in the archives. I thank the TDSB for granting me permission to use these records. See Ellis, Jason A., “'Backward and Brilliant Children': A Social and Policy History of Disability, Childhood, and Education in Toronto's Special Education Classes, 1910 to 1945,” (PhD dissertation, York University, 2011).

12 Ontario Department of Education (hereafter DOE) Annual Report 1920, 131, 242, 250, 259 and DOE Annual Report 1930, 104, 222, 352; Bonner, H. H., Statistics of City School Systems, 1919–20, United States Bureau of Education Bulletin, No. 17 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1922), Table 10, 38.

13 Careless, J. M. S., Toronto to 1918: An Illustrated History (Toronto: J. Lorimer and National Museum of Man, 1983), 686–94; Lemon, James, Toronto Since 1918: An Illustrated History (Toronto: J. Lorimer and National Museums of Canada, 1985), 19–57, 194.

14 Valverde, Mariana, The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1885–1925 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 686–94; Hardy, E. A. and Cochrane, Honora, Centennial Story: The Board of Education for the City of Toronto, 1850–1950 (Toronto: Thomas Nelson, 1950), 126–30; Clark, C. S., Of Toronto the Good: The Queen City of Canada as It Is (Montreal: The Toronto Publishing Company, 1898).

15 Hardy, and Cochrane, , Centennial Story, 117–41; Ellis, “Backward and Brilliant Children,” 7–11.

16 See Hardy, and Cochrane, , Centennial Story, 117–41.

17 Tyack, David B., The One Best System: A History of American Urban Education (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), 686–94.

18 Ibid., 186–91. On special education as differentiation, see Franklin, , “Progressivism and Curriculum Differentiation: Special Classes in the Atlanta Public Schools,” and Tropea, “Bureaucratic Order and Special Children,” 39–40.

19 Lazerson, , “The Origins of Special Education,” 27–28.

20 DOE Annual Report 1930, 27–29; TBE Annual Report 1928, 94–97.

21 On the cities named, see Lazerson, , “The Origins of Special Education”; Osgood, Robert L., For ‘Children Who Vary from the Normal Type'. Special Education in Boston, 1838–1930 (Washington: Gallaudet University Press, 2000); Franklin, , “Progressivism and Curriculum Differentiation: Special Classes in the Atlanta Public Schools,” 571–93; Tropea, , “Bureaucratic Order and Special Children,” 37–46; Bennison, E. Anne, “Creating Categories of Competence: The Education of Exceptional Children in the Milwaukee Public Schools, 1908–1917,” (PhD dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988); Thomson, , “Remove from Our Midst These Unfortunates.”

22 TBE Annual Report 1913, 39–41, 48–49.

23 See Ontario, . Legislative Assembly. Fifth Report upon the Care of the Feeble-Minded in Ontario, 1910. Toronto: 1911 (Sessional Papers 1911, No. 23): 51–52 and TBE Annual Report 1913, 48–49. See also Franklin, , “Backwardness” to “At-Risk,” 13–14.

24 Ontario, . Legislative Assembly. Sixth Report Upon the Care of the Feeble-Minded in Ontario, 1910. Toronto: 1911 (Sessional Papers 1912, No. 23): 26. On MacMurchy's career, see Angus McLaren, Our Own Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885–1945 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990), 3031.

25 TBE Annual Report 1911, 43.

26 Toronto District School Board Archives (hereafter, TDSBA). TBE Handbook 1911, 41–42, 44; TBE Minutes 1912, Appendix No. 69, 585.

27 MacMurchy, Helen, Organization and Management of Auxiliary Classes, Educational Pamphlets No. 7 (Toronto: Department of Education, 1915), 3; Ontario. Legislative Assembly. Third Report Upon the Care of the Feeble-Minded in Ontario, 1908. Toronto: 1908. (Sessional Papers 1909, No. 58): 39–40.

28 Simmons, Harvey G., From Asylum to Welfare (Toronto: National Institute on Mental Retardation, 1982), 9899.

29 Lazerson, , “The Origins of Special Education,” 19–20.

30 Tyack, , The One Best System, 199–202; Lazerson, , “The Origins of Special Education,” 18–20.

31 Ayres, Leonard P., Laggards in Our Schools: A Study of Retardation and Elimination in City School Systems (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1909), 3.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid., 1.

34 TBE Annual Report 1913, 39–41.

35 Ibid., 48–49.

36 Ayres, , Laggards in Our Schools, 3; TBE Annual Report 1915, 36.

37 TBE Minutes 1912, Appendix No. 100, 828; TBE Minutes 1913, Appendix No. 13, 101, TBE Minutes 1913, Appendix No. 39, 384; TBE Minutes 1913, Appendix No. 86, 819; TBE Minutes 1914, 102; Ellis, , “Backward and Brilliant Children,” 80.

38 TBE Annual Report 1913, 43–44.

39 TBE Annual Report 1918, 100.

40 Gould, Stephen Jay, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: Norton, 1981), 686–94.

41 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 83–92.

42 Cubberley, Elwood P., “Editor's Introduction,” in Terman, Lewis, The Measurement of Intelligence (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916), x. See also Terman, Intelligence of School Children, and Terman et al., Intelligence Tests and School Reorganization.

43 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 84–90.

44 Ibid., 28–29.

45 Terman, , Intelligence of Schoolchildren, 24–25. Ayres, , perhaps not incidentally, had been first off the mark, in 1911, to criticize the tool that Terman adapted—the Binet tests—which Ayres argued could not measure “native ability.” Chapman, , Schools as Sorters. 29.

46 TBE Minutes 1919, Appendix No. 140, 873; TBE Minutes 1920, Appendix No. 10, 13–14.

47 Clarke, Eric Kent, “The Mental Health of the Coming Generation,” Social Welfare 7, no. 10 (July 1925): 196.

48 McLaren, , Our Own Master Race, 59–63; Sandiford, Peter, “Technical Education and the I.Q,” Proceedings of the Sixty-Eight Annual Convention of the Ontario Educational Association (hereafter, OEA) (Toronto: OEA, 1929): 151.

49 Keith, Eric (sic) Clarke, , “Some Phases of the Mental Hygiene Problem,” The Public Health Journal 14, no. 10 (1923): 536.

50 Clarke, Eric Kent, “Survey of the Toronto Public Schools,” Canadian Journal of Mental Hygiene 2, no. 2 (1920): 686–94 and TBE Annual Report 1921, 74–77.

51 I arrived at the number myself by tallying separate statistics that Clarke reported to the TBE in 1920 and 1921. It is not clear how Clarke counted and the tally may account for the same children examined more than once. See TBE Annual Report 1920, 55–57: TBE Annual Report 1921, 75.

52 Clarke, Eric, “Survey of the Toronto Public Schools,” 184.

53 Terman, , Intelligence of School Children, 73.

54 Clarke, Eric, “Survey of the Toronto Public Schools,” 184.

55 Ibid.

56 TBE Annual Report 1919, 91.

57 TBE Minutes 1919, Appendix No. 195, 1163.

58 Clarke, Eric, “Survey of the Toronto Public Schools,” 184.

59 Ibid., 185.

60 TBE Annual Report 1920, 53–56.

61 TBE Annual Report 1924, 67.

62 Clarke, Eric, “Survey of the Toronto Public Schools,” 184–85.

63 TBE Annual Report 1921, 75–76. See also: Sandiford, , “Technical Education and the IQ,” 155–56.

64 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 153–66.

65 Lewis, E. P., “Psychiatric Clinics in the Toronto Public Schools” (19 May 1930), n.p. in Provincial Psychiatric Clinics: lectures, McGhie, B.T. (ed.), May 1930, F. 17.1.8. Burdett Harrison McNeel Fonds, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Archives (hereafter, CAMHA); Lazerson, “The Origins of Special Education,” 30; Chapman, Schools as Sorters, 155–58.

66 MacDougall, Heather, Activists and Advocates: Toronto's Health Department, 1883–1983 (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1990), 194–95.

67 CAMHA. Canadian Mental Health Association Fonds, Bio Files People-Misc. Lewis, , Percival, Edmund (1883–1949).

68 Lewis, , “Psychiatric Clinics in the Toronto Public Schools,” n.p.

69 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 77–82, 92–97.

70 Lewis, , “Psychiatric Clinics in the Toronto Public Schools,” n.p.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid.

73 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” Office Record Card (hereafter, O.R.C.) A-D, Drawer, Admission-Discharge-Promotion card (hereafter, A.D.P.) A-L., DrawerJohnnie, H.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.; “Hester How PS” J-M, O.R.C. Drawer, “Hester How PS” A-L., A.D.P. DrawerJohnnie, H.’ O.R.C., A.D.P. ‘Gerry, G.'

74 See TDBSA. “Hester How PS” A.D.P. Drawers A-L, M-Z, 1923–24 and “Hester How PS,” A-D, O.R.C. Drawers, E-I, J-M, Mc-Si, Sh-Z. I have partial records only (not including IQ test results) for another sixty-seven pupils who attended auxiliary class at Hester How PS. Toronto public schools used two types of student record cards in this period. Only the more detailed Admission-Discharge-Promotion (ADP) cards contain IQ test results. Office record cards (O.R.C.), which include more demographic information but do not contain IQ test results, are more likely to have survived in the archives than ADP cards. “Psychological Examination Reports,” describing the testing moment, are appended to some children's student records. But by no means do I have Psychological Examination Reports for all the students whose IQ scores I know from their ADP cards. On my choice of Hester How PS for this study, see note 11 above. See also, Ellis, “Backward and Brilliant Children,” 32–36.

75 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” A-D, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L., A.D.P. DrawerGeorge, W.’ O.R.C., A.D.P. Some Toronto schools also had special “foreign classes” for recent immigrants who were learning English. Ellis, “Backward and Brilliant Children,” 15. It is not clear why George W. attended the auxiliary class and not the foreign class, although it is possible there was no foreign class at Hester How PS in 1922.

76 George's, record card states the reason he was admitted to the auxiliary class. Most other students’ records do not.

77 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” J-L, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L., A.D.P. DrawerJames, B.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

78 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” A-D, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L., A.D.P. DrawerAaron, N.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

79 See TDSBA. “Hester How PS” J-L, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L., A.D.P. DrawerJames, B.’ O.R.C., A.D.P. and ibid.

80 Franklin, , From ‘Backwardness’ to ‘At-Risk', 43–46 and Franklin, , “Progressivism and Curriculum Differentiation,” 586–90. Joseph Tropea makes a somewhat similar argument explaining the pupil selection process for—indeed the purposes of—special classes in America's urban schools in the first half of the twentieth century. Tropea argues that while outwardly school authorities may have offered different justifications for special education (including “scientific,” IQ-based justifications), these justifications disguised the “backstage rules,” or true purposes to which school authorities and teachers adapted special education: to manage and control populations of unruly and difficult to teach students in a period of new compulsory attendance rules and rising and diversifying school enrollments. Tropea, , “Bureaucratic Order and Special Children,” 37–38. Tropea's social control argument, in my view, is less convincing than Franklin's argument about the purposes of special classes at Lee Street. Tropea seems to infer motives and he lacks the sort of placement evidence from individual cases that supports Franklin's claims.

81 Ryan, , “From Child Study to Efficiency,” 343–51.

82 Ibid, 346–53.

83 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” Mc-Si, O.R.C. Drawer, M-Z., A.D.P. DrawerDavid, P.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

84 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” A-D, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L., A.D.P. DrawerEmily, L.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

85 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” Sh-Z, O.R.C. Drawer, M-Z., A.D.P. DrawerLizzie, W.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

86 TDSBA. “Hester How PS” Sh-Z, O.R.C. Drawer, M-Z., A.D.P. DrawerMinnie, T.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

87 TDSBA. “Duke of York PS” O.R.C. TDSB 2003–1307, Box 1, A.D.P. TDSB 2003–0835. ‘Fred V.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

88 Jones, Kathleen, Taming the Troublesome Child: American Families, Child Guidance, and the Limits of Psychiatric Authority (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 686–94.

89 TDSBA “Duke of York PS” O.R.C. TDSB 2003–1307, Box 8, A.D.P., TDSB 2003–0834b, Box 2 of 2. ‘Emma C.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

90 TDSBA. “Hester How PS,” A-D, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L, A.D.P. Drawer, ‘Katie, L.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

91 TDSBA. “Hester How PS,” A-D, O.R.C. Drawer, A-L, A.D.P. Drawer, ‘Jack, L.’ O.R.C., A.D.P.

92 See the essays in Block, N.J. and Dworkin, Gerald, ed., The IQ Controversy: Critical Readings (New York: Pantheon, 1976), especially pp. 457–62 in Block and Dworkin's own essay, “IQ, Heritability and Inequality.” Gould, Mismeasure of Man, 145–233, also discusses in detail the general biases of intelligence tests.

93 Goldring, C. C., Intelligence Testing in a Toronto Public School (Paed, D., published, University of Toronto, n.d., 1924), 142. See, Terman, , Measurement of Intelligence, 313–15, for the discussion of this test item. Canadian IQ tests were developed in the 1930s by Stogdill, C. G. and Harry Amoss. Gerald Hackett, T., “The History of Public Education for Mentally Retarded Children in the Province of Ontario 1867–1964,” (EdD dissertation, University of Toronto, 1969), 245, 253.

94 Ryan, and Stoskopf, , “Public and Catholic School Reponses to IQ Testing in the Early Twentieth Century,” 905–15.

95 Raftery, , “Missing the Mark: Intelligence Testing in Los Angeles Public Schools,” 73. See also, Ryan, , “From Child Study to Efficiency,” 351–53.

96 Chapman, , Schools as Sorters, 135–39.

97 However, see Willson, Alice, “Intelligence Tests and Classification,” The School 10, no. 8 (April 1922): 686–94.

98 Fass, , “The IQ: A Cultural and Historical Framework,” 448.

99 Seaton, E. T., “Classification and Time-Table in Auxiliary Classes,” Auxiliary Class Teachers’ Section, Proceedings of the 64th Annual Convention of the OEA (Toronto: OEA, 1925): 179.

100 Harry Amoss, “The Abnormal Pupil,” Proceedings of the 62 nd Annual Convention of the OEA (Toronto: OEA, 1923): 423.

101 Sandiford, Peter, “Technical Education and the IQ,” 155. See also, Sandiford, Peter, “Subnormal Intelligence as an Educational Problem,” Canadian Journal of Mental Hygiene 1 (April 1919–January 1920): 67.

102 MacPhee, E. D., “Behaviour in Auxiliary Classes,” Proceedings of the 66 th Annual Convention of the OEA (Toronto: OEA, 1927): 133.

103 Amoss, , “The Abnormal Pupil,” 423.

104 Seaton, , “Classification and Time-Table in Auxiliary Classes,” 181.

105 TBE Annual Report 1920, 59–61.

106 Tomkins, George S., A Common Countenance: Stability and Change in the Canadian Curriculum (Scarborough, ON: Prentice Hall, 1986), 189. On pedagogical progressivism and formalism in Canadian and American schools see Tomkins, 189–213; Sutherland, Neil, “The Triumph of ‘Formalism': Elementary Schooling in Vancouver from the 1920s to the 1960s,” BC Studies 69/70 (Spring-Summer 1986): 175–210; and, of course, Cremin, Lawrence, The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education 1876–1957 (New York: Vintage Books, 1964).

107 Lazerson, , “The Origins of Special Education,” 27.

108 Seaton, , “Classification and Time-Table in Auxiliary Classes,” 181; “Minutes,” Auxiliary Class Teachers’ Section, Proceedings of the 64 th Annual Convention of the OEA. (Toronto: OEA, 1925): 5759; Louden, Jennie C., “The Mentally-Retarded Child as a Primary Class Problem,” Proceedings of the 63 rd Annual Convention of the OEA (Toronto: OEA 1924): 109.

109 TBE Annual Report 1921, 105.

110 Ibid.,76.

111 TBE Annual Report 1920, 59–61. See also TBE Minutes 1929, Appendix No. 178, 1557–8.

112 TBE Annual Report 1928, 94.

113 Ellis, , “Backward and Brilliant Children,” 207–10.

114 Sandiford, , “Technical Education and the I.Q,” 155–56.

115 Clarke, Eric, “The Mental Health of the Coming Generation,” 197.

116 Terman, , Intelligence of School Children, 287. On supposed correlations of IQ to race, see Terman, , Measurement of Intelligence, 91–92.

117 Ellis, , “‘Backward and Brilliant Children,” 351–61. See also, Danforth, Scot, The Incomplete Child: An Intellectual History of Learning Disabilities (New York: Lang, Peter, 2009), 686–94.

1 Toronto Board of Education (hereafter TBE) Annual Report 1919, 91.

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