Category Archives: College Admissions

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)