Intelligence Rating of High School Pupils and Their Achievement in College (1926)

LaBrant, L.  (1926). Intelligence rating of high school pupils and their achievement in college. Bulletin of Education (University of Kansas), 1(1), 20-22.

A published article drawn from her Masters thesis, this piece by LaBrant explores the relationship among student scores on the Terman Group Test of Mental Ability, college admissions, and student success in college. This piece is an excellent historical artifact of the problems with high-stakes standardized tests, their impact on access to and success in college, and the variety of student commitments not addressed by test scores alone.

Quoting LaBrant:

Several items of the above data [Table 2] suggest questions and possible conclusions rather at variance with popular opinion….it would appear that the elimination of college students from freshman to sophomore year is at least as high in the case of those having a higher Terman score as of those below the median Terman score. (p. 22)

Approximately three times as many students in the lower intelligence group worked for part of their support as in the upper group, and the sum of hours per week devoted by the former to self support was 448 against 175 by the latter group….Of these 35 students who were at least partly self-supporting, 25 had grades which fell below the median. These figures suggest that students of less than median (college) intelligence who continue school work after high school graduation may be selected on the basis of superior determination and persistence. (pp. 22-23)

The table clearly shows, however, that the combined loads of self-support and extra-curricular activities carried by the students of less than median mental ability were heavier than those of students of superior ability. (p. 23)


About plthomasedd

P. L. Thomas, Associate Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Sense Publishers), in which he authored the first volume—Challenging Genres: Comics and Graphic Novels (2010). He has served on major committees with NCTE, and has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Ignoring Poverty in the U.S.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Education (Information Age Publishing, 2012) and Parental Choice?: A Critical Reconsideration of Choice and the Debate about Choice (Information Age Publishing, 2010).He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and Ralph Ellison. His scholarly work includes dozens of works in major journals—English Journal, English Education, Souls, Notes on American Literature, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Teaching Writing, and others. His commentaries have been included in Room for Debate (The New York Times), The Answer Sheet (Washington Post), The Guardian (UK), truthout, Education Week, The Daily Censored, OpEdNews, The State (Columbia, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and The Greenville News (Greenville, SC). His work can be followed at the becoming radical ( and @plthomasEdD on twitter. View all posts by plthomasedd

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