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It becomes a plain matter of arithmetic to compute the wastage in selecting, for example, 10,000 of such mental incompetents. Compare this enormous wastage with the cost of giving mental tests to one hundred times this many men at twenty-five cents per man. As a matter of fact, during six months of psychological examining there were 12,506 men reported with intellectual maturity ranging from less than seven years to under eight. It requires no particular levy on the imagination to determine the degree of responsibility attached to this grade of intelligence.

Add to this number 33,147 men with a mental rating of between eight and ten years and the economic importance of mental classification of recruits becomes apparent. When we consider the clogging effects of very low grade mentals in the development of army organization and the positive dangers connected with the assignment of these children with adult bodies to comba

tant units, the value of mental classification becomes increasingly manifest. Professional and emergency army officers were not slow in recognizing the importance of this type of service.

The words of Major Robert Conard, M.R.C., Surgeon, 367th Infantry, A.E.F., are significant in this connection:

Geometrical construction in BETA test.-Through use of cardboards, blackboard, pantomime, and demonstration, the subjects are directed to fit in the separate pieces by means of pencil lines in the heavy-faced square figure to the right in each of the ten problems. At the end of 21⁄2 minutes the examiner calls "Stop!" and the next test is undertaken

"The sorting process, both physically and mentally, is, as it seems to me, one of the most important things to


be done. I eliminated about a thousand and am now reaping the benefit in the way of a phenomenally low ineffective rate, which I hope to maintain. The mental selection is a great thing, and cannot be given too much weight. So much time and energy have been wasted in training men who are mentally unfit, that I am sure the value of early elimination of that element must be recognized."

Purposes of Intelligence Tests

Among the main purposes of the psychological service may be listed:

(1) Segregation of the mentally deficient from those capable of doing combatant service;

(2) Further segregation of those wholly incompetent for military service from those capable of service in labor battalions;

(3) Assistance in the selection of candidates for (a) Infantry School of Officers, (b) Quartermaster Schools, (c) Machine-gun Schools, (d) Artillery Schools, (e) Signal Schools, and (f) Noncommissioned Officers' Schools;

(4) Assistance in determining fitness for promotion or assignment to positions of responsibility;

(5) Assistance for personnel adjutants in the assignments of recruits to organizations in such a way as to secure an equitable distribution of intelligence and thus avoid loading one company of a regiment, for example, with a preponderance of relatively inferior men while overweighting another with relatively superior men;

(6) Assistance in classifying men sent to battalion schools into classes of approximate ability, thus enabling each group to proceed at a rate commensurate with the ability of the group.

General Significance of the Psychological Service

The fundamental idea back of the psychological service as a whole consists essentially in the clear recog


nition of the elemental fact that supremacy must ultimately, if not immediately, rest with that side of a contentious world which levies insistent tribute upon its intelligent manhood. It is a generally acknowledged principle that success hangs heaviest on intelligent leadership and that places of responsibility cannot be safely entrusted to any save those endowed with nothing short of very superior or superior ability, the gifted members of society.

In recognition of this cardinal principle, in view of the extraordinary value of native resourcefulness, and, in view of the imperative necessity of utilizing the best brains of the nation in positions of leadership, the psychologists, under the able direction of Major R. M. Yerkes, conceived the idea of applying the science of psychology to the difficult task of classifying the men of the American Army into seven grades of intelligence. The top grade representing the cream of American manhood was thereby thereby immediately made available to the regular army officer, who, let it be said to the lasting credit of a somewhat maligned professional class, was not slow to employ intelligence tests, upon being convinced of their validity and utility, in the selection of commissioned and noncommissioned officers. It is true that "cream will rise to the surface"; it is equally true that the process is slow and wasteful. The psychological "separator" not only abbreviated the process but graded the quality.

The outstanding significance of the psychological service, its most enduring contribution to national well-being consists in demonstrating the imperative necessity of placing intelligence examination on a parity with physical examination as now conducted by the medical profession. In this respect the work of the psychologists in the American Army finds no parallel or precedent.


NE of the most interesting results found by the psychologists who examined recruits entering the United States Army, during the war just closed, was the surprisingly low intellectual level of those members of the colored race who were examined. Previous studies had been confined very largely to comparisons of the Negroes in public schools with white children in the same schools. These had invariably resulted in lower averages for the colored race than for the white, but in almost every case the differences had been relatively small and the ranges of abilities for the two races had been practically identical.

As an example of the studies which had been made, the following summary may be given of the findings of a study of the school records of one hundred and fifty Negroes entering the high schools of New York City.*

1. Only 36 per cent of the Negroes are as young at the time they enter high school




The Intelligence of Negro Recruits


Director, Bureau of Educational Service, Columbia University



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30 40 70 80 Comparison of the distribution of scholarship averages (the figures from 20 to 100, below) of white and colored pupils in New York City high schools. The scholarship marks for an individual are the median of all marks obtained by the pupil, except those obtained in courses repeated because of failure. The figures at the left indicate the number of pupils in the respective columns who gained the average indicated below the columns

Mark of one White pupil



as the median white child entering the same high school, the average difference between the ages of the two races being seven months.

2. The Negroes who enter high school in New York City remain somewhat longer on the average than the white pupils.

3. The scholarship marks assigned by teachers to the colored pupils in the New York City high schools average somewhat lower than the marks assigned by these same teache to the white children. The accompanying figure shows the range of the final marks for sixty-six white pupils and for sixty-two colored pupils. It will be seen in this distribution that not more than .7 of the distribution of marks for colored pupils is below the average of the white pupils.

4. English is the one study in which there is the greatest difference between colored and white pupils. Only one fourth of the colored pupils attain marks in English which are as good or better than the average mark obtained by white pupils in the same study.

Studies by Dr. George O. Ferguson1 had also indicated that Negroes were distinctly less capable in educational measurements than the white children in the same school systems in the South. Dr. Ferguson also found that when he classified his colored pupils into groups according to the blackness of their skins, the relationship between color and achievement was quite distinet, those with lighter skins making higher scores.

The writer was very much surprised in July, 1918, at the differences in the intelligence scores obtained between certain groups of Negroes drafted for the Army and sent to Camp Grant, Illinois, and the white men who were drafted to the same camp. The diagram opposite represents the percentages of the various "intelligence grades"

* Mayo, M. J. Mental Capacity of the American Negro, Archives of Psychology, Vol. XXVIII, 1913.

1Psychology of the Negro, Archives of Psychology, Vol. XXXVI. Dr. Ferguson has reported findings with the Army tests, similar to those reported in this article, in The Intelligence of Negroes at Camp Lee, Virginia, School and Society, Vol. IX, No. 233, June 14.









2518 Louisiana Negroes

2212 Mississippi Negroes

assigned to 2518 Negroes from Louisiana, to 2212 Negroes from Mississippi, to 28,052 white men from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, to 788 candidates for commissions in the Fourth Reserve Officers' Training Camp, and to 124 officers of the 161st Depot Brigade, all examined during the months of June and July, 1918. Grade A was intended to indicate very superior intellectual capacity; grade B, superior ability; grade C+, high average ability; grade C, average; C-, low average; D, inferior; and E, very inferior.


These comparisons were rather surprising when one considered the results which had previously been found,

28052 White Recruits

788 Candidates in 4th R. O. T. C.

124 Depot Brigade Officers



The figures at the left represent the percentages of the various groups of Army recruits examined which passed with a given rating, while the letters "A" to "E" at the bottom represent the ratings, or the degrees of excellence in the tests. The table shows that 28 per cent of the white recruits examined at this time received a rating of "C," whereas only 2% per cent of the Louisiana Negroes made this grade; that more than 60 per cent of the Louisiana Negroes fell into the "E" or lowest class, and more than 60 per cent of the depot brigade officers received a rating of "A" or highest class





especially startling is the unusually large difference shown here between the distributions for Negroes and the distributions for white men. The grade of "superior" or "very superior" was obtained by only .2 of 1 per cent of the Negroes from Louisiana, and .5 of 1 per cent of the Negroes from Mississippi, while 10.7 per cent of the white men have this high standing. At the other extreme, it will be seen that only 7.4 per cent of the white men have a grade of "inferior" or "very inferior," while 52.9 per cent of the Mississippi Negroes and 63.3 per cent of the Louisiana Negroes have this low grade.

The results of the intelligence examinations in the Army are more reliable

in many respects than the data used in previous studies. In the first place, previous studies had dealt entirely with school pupils; that of Mayo, particularly, had dealt only with Negroes and white pupils who had persisted in school work up to the high school grades. A very much smaller and more highly selected proportion of the colored race than of the white race persists in its efforts to secure an education; hence, previous comparison had been between the "cream" of the colored race and more or less ordinary white persons. The Army results are for relatively unselected samples of both races.

The comparison in the Army may somewhat favorable to the colored race because of the greater possibility of intelligent white men obtaining commissions or entering some essential industry, which would exempt them from being drafted. Practically, however, this removal of many of the more clever white men from the drafted group is not important and is probably compensated for by the fact that less care was taken by draft boards in eliminating unfit Negroes than was the case with white recruits.

Mayo, in his study in New York City, had used teachers' marks as the basis for comparisons, while in the Army actual performances on the same sets of tasks and problems were used as the basis. In other words, as a basis for comparisons between the two races, the objective, definite nature of the Army tests is very superior to the estimates given by teachers in assigning scholarship grades.

During the latter part of July, 1918, a large draft of Negroes from St. Louis, Chicago, and the surrounding territory was sent to Camp Grant. In the meantime, additional Negroes from the South had been examined. Comparisons were made early in August between the scores of these northern Negroes and their southern brethren,

on the one hand, and the white men among whom they were now living, on the other.

To be perfectly fair to both races and to eliminate so far as possible the probability that white men were given an undue advantage by the better educational opportunities of the North, the scores for literate and illiterate men were kept separately. Test Alpha required that the person taking it be able to understand oral and printed directions and statements in the English language and to carry out these directions thoughtfully. Test Beta did not require ability to understand either printed or spoken English. The directions were given by demonstration and pantomime, and the tasks to be done were such that ability to read or recognize the words and letters of the English language was not required. The comparisons in Table I are, therefore, for white men and Negroes who had been educated in the English language and were accustomed to reading and writing frequently. The comparisons in Table II are for men of both races who had not learned to read or write sufficiently well to make practical use of their accomplishments. The same facts are shown graphically in the figures on page 684.

Later examinations of similar groups revealed exactly the same type of thing, and correspondence with the psychological examiners at other camps indicated that our findings at Camp Grant were typical of the results obtained in other parts of the country.

There are one or two very important features which probably need to be recognized as cautions in interpreting the scores represented above. It is probable that even though the white men in Table II were just as illiterate as the colored men in that table, the white men had had, nevertheless, somewhat more experience in making check marks with a pencil than had the colored men. It may also be that a few of the pic

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