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The Pennsylvania State College The Graduate School Department of Education and Psychology
THE EFFECT OF TRAINING ON VERBAL ABILITY
A Dissertation by AGNES R. M3EU8EE
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY August, 1942
Director of Educational Research
Head of Department of Education and Psychology
A C K N O W L E D
G M E N T S
The writer is deeply indebted to Dr. Bruce V. Moore, director of the present study and adviser throughout her graduate career.
all times he has been an encouraging and helpful counselor. Special acknowledgment is due to Dr. Charles C* Peters who gave generously and willingly of his time in guidance in statistical pro cedure* The writer wishes to extend appreciation to Dr. Robert G* Bemreuter, director of the Psycho-Educational Clinic where the idea for the study germinated. courage to proceed.
His interest in the problem provided the
He also made available the necessary records on
file in the clinic. Through Dr. C. 0. Williams' belief in her ability and interest in her professional advancement, the author was encouraged to enter upon and continue her graduate study} and her initial interest in psychology is a direct outgrowth of the stimulation received from the abundant knowledge and superior teaching of Dr. Edward B. Van Ormer. To these two professors, the author will remain sincerely grateful. Professor Theordore J. Gates, Head of the Department of English Composition and Mr. William S. Hoffman, Registrar, deserve special thanks for making accessible additional data required for the study. The writer is particularly under obligation to those students of the experimental group without whose loyalty, enthusiasm and coopera tion this study could never have been accomplished*
LIST OF TABLES
Page Scores on Thatching Factors for the Experimental Group ........... ... ••.......
Scores on Matching Factors for the Control G r o u p
Matching Factor Means and Standard Deviations for the Experimental and Control (Groups •••••*
Intercorrelations A m o n g Matching Factors Computed on the Basis of Control Group Scores
Criterion Scores Made by the Experimental Group........................
Criterion Scores Made by the Control Group*.•••
Correlations between Criterion Scores and Matching Factors Based on Control Group Statistics
Initial and Retest Scores Made by the Experimental Group on the Verbal Factor of the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities.................................
Initial and Retest Scores Made by the Control Group on the Verbal Factor of the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities*.*.......
Predicted and Attained Scores on the Verbal Tests of the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities ......
Initial and Final Scores in the Thurstone Space Factor Tests for the Experimental Group........... **.•••••••.........
Initial and Final Scores in the Thurstone Space Factor Tests for the Control Group.....
i Predicted and Attained Space Factor Scores for the Experimental Group. ..........•
LIST OF TABLES (continued)
Pago Initial and Final Scores in the Memory Factor Teats for the Experimental Group ..............................
Initial and Final Scores in the Memory Factor Tests for the Control Group*******
Predicted and Attained Scores in Memory Factor for the Experimental Group.......... Initial and Final Scores on the Inductive Reasoning Thurstone Tests for the Experimental Group••••.*•••••••••••••
Initial and Final Scores on the Inductive Reasoning Thurstone Tests for the Control Group* .............
Predicted and Attained Inductive Reasoning Scores*•• »»••**•..... •••••••*.
English Composition Grades for Second Semester Earned by Control Group*..*•*..•
Predicted and Attained Grades in English Composition for the Experimental Group. ••
Second Semester College College Average (Exclusive of English Composition) Earned by the Control Group..............
Predicted and Attained Second Semester College Average (Exclusive of English Composition) for the Experimental Group*•
Summary of the Means of Predicted Scores in Comparison with the Means of Attained Scores for the Experimental Group
table : o f contents
Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS........................................... LIST OF TABLES............................................
A* Statement of the Problem B. An Historical Survey
1. Changing Conceptionsof Intelligence. • 2. Research on Nature-Nurture Controversy.a. b* c. d« e* II.
Genealogies ................... Family Resemblances . . . . . . . Health................ . . . Enriched Environment . . . . . . . Specialized Training • • • • • . .
Procedures in this Study .................
B. Equating Factors . . . . . . . C« Statistical Procedure The Training Program A.
2 7 7 8 10 11 14 18
A# Nature of Subjects
The Use of the Dictionary. . . . . . . . . . .
B« Roots ........ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
C. Latin Prefixes
D* Greek Prefixes...........
F. Family W o r d s......... G. Synonyms and Antonyms H* Same-Opposite Drill
55 • -
. . • • • • . . • • • • •
TABLES OF CONTENTS (continued)
Pag® The Training Program (continued) I* Supplying the Missing Word
J* Review......... IV.
Results and Interpretations
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
A* Thurstone Verbal F a c t o r ........... B* Thurstons Space Factor.................. C« Thurstone Memory Factor
84 92 98
0. Thurstone Inductive Reasoning Factor • . • • • 102 E. English Composition Grade •
.......... . • 107
F* Second Semester Average (Exclusive of English Composition) .........
Summary and Conclusions.........................
INTRODUCTION A* Statement of the Problem
A lack of crucial research and an inconsistency in experimental findings concerning the controversy between hereditarians and environ mentalists have led to honest differences of opinion on the part of professional students concerning the effect of environment upon the fundamental modification of the native ability of the organism* The writer, as a clinician at the Psycho-Educational Clinic of The Pennsylvania State College, had occasion to interpret the results of the Thurstone Tests of Primary Mental Abilities in final interviews with members of the freshman class*
Not infrequently, it occurred
that the student scored low in an ability that was basic to his chosen curriculum and vocation.
Invariably the ambitious student in such a
predicament followed up the explanation of his profile with, "Is there anything I can do about that?" In order to ascertain whether the Thurstone "primary mental factors" are disparate and static or functional and dynamic within the total personality, it seemed that one might plan and put into effect educational programs that would provide exercise in those techniques and skills that are fundamental to superior mental abilities.
writer postulated that an appreciable change might occur through a student's guided efforts to improve a deficient factor, essential to his goal, in an atmosphere permeated by a sympathetic and interested concern for growth.
A specific case of a freshman who aspired to success in journalism with a below-average score in the verbal factor of intelligence as measured by the Thurstone Teste led the writer into the fundamental educatiohal problem which might be stated as followst To what extent is the verbal factor of the primary mental abilities nativet or to what extent can it be trained? B* An Historical Survey 1. Changing Conceptions of Intelligence During the present century a great many definitions of intelli gence have been attempted, but no one yet knows precisely what it is* Even though the true nature of intelligence is still a matter of speculation, psychologists continue to devise tests and to label the level of mental growth of their examinees according to their findings* And rightly so, if caution is used in regard to such research factors as (l) selection of experimental subjects, (2) validity and compar ability of tests used, (3) reliability of testing conditions, tests, method of scoring, length of experimental period and statistics used to measure test-retest changes*
Vi/hen these and other variables are
controlled consistently, more uniformity of results and conclusions can be expected with an increased respect for the measurement movement* Alfred Binet (1857-1911) was firmly convinced of the complexity of mental functions*
According to him, the ultimate purpose of inI telligence was the continuous adjustment of the individual to his en vironment which is accomplished as a result of an organization and synthesis in which the several mental functions are involved*
fined intelligence as those characteristics of the thought processes
which tended (1) to take and maintain a definite direction, (2) to make adaptations for the purpose of attaining a desired end, and (3) to (42) exercise the power of autocriticism. Binet was certain that the followers of Wundt were entirely too much concerned with the simpler processes of mental life; he, therefore, spent his time in attempting to measure more general intellectual capacities.
He felt that one
achieved significant results in the measurement of intelligence only by giving mental problems, arranged from easy to difficult, which would give a relatively accurate picture of the integrated mentality of the individual.
He did not attempt to analyze intellect into its parts, and
then devise simple tests to measure the elements, but estimated in telligence by measuring the combined effects of attention, imagination, judgment and reasoning as shown in the performance of fairly complex tasks* To Thorndike (1874 -
) intelligence is conceived as having four (79a important qualities (l) altitude, (2) width, (3) area and (4) speed. The most difficult problems one can solve represent tainment.
his altitude of at
-Width refers to the number of tasks an individual can per
form at any degree of difficulty.
Area represents the number of esti
mated successes in the entire inventory of tsis which have been made. Speed, least important of all, is the rate at which one reacts to a situation. Thorndike believed the brain and the nervous system to be composed of neural arcs, and to be not at all divided into a few compartments. The ultimate unit of the mind was for him the simple bond which unites a simple response to a simple stimulus; the mind is built up of such bonds, almost infinite in number and extremely intricate in their int er-connections.
If the mind be composed of innumerable bonds, then it can be shown that, supposing different mental activities to call upon different groups of bond, the correlations resulting from some bonds being common to tviD activities will be interrelated in the same way as if such correlations were produced by a few factors# The person whose intellect is greater, higher, or better than that of another person differs from him in having, not a new sort of physi ological process, but simply a larger number of connections of the ordinary sort. In 1904 Spearman^70^ published a paper dealing with a hierarchy of correlations among mental traits and presenting a statistical analysis as evidence of the existence of two factors operating to pro duce these correlations#
Each intelligent act depends to some extent
upon the same general fund of mental energy, a rtg" factor, and upon a specific, or "s" factor for the kind of act which is being performed. This is known as the two-factor theory.
Individual differences are
attributable, first, to the fact that different persons possess differ ent amounts of the general factor, and second, to the fact that the potentialities of the specific factors vary from person to person#
correspondence of abilities in the same person is accounted for by the presence of the "g" factor, vlich is constant within the individual? the variability, by the *'s" factors which may vary among themselves within the individual(^9). When the interworrelations between tests could not be explained on the basis of two factors, Spearman and his students postulated group factors, which are found only in groups of similar tests.
Another quantitative attempt to solve the problem of classifying mental abilities was the multiple-factor method of analysis by Thurstone.
He felt that "while a single total index of mental endow
ment such as mental age is very useful in differentiating those who are generally bright from those who are less endowed, it is of great practical and scientific importance to isolate those elements of in-
(81} ' The
telligence which are in some fundamental sense primary."'
scription of an individual in terms of the seven primary abilities is a distinct advantage in vocational and educational guidance. Factorial analysis begins with the record of objective perform ances of individuals, and the problem is to isolate the fundamental abilities, to describe their nature, to ascertain the loading of each fundamental ability in each test, and to describe each subject as re gards each of the primary mental abilities. In the experiment that was published in 1938, Thurstone admin istered fifty-seven tests to 240 University of Chicago students. From the intercorrelations of the fifty-seven sets of scores, a factor analysis was made and twelve different abilities were discovered. Seven of these abilities Thurstone^^named and described as follows* Factor £> The tests that call for this ability require the quick perception of detail in either visual or verbal material. This seems to be a perceptual ability which enables some people to excel in finding detail which is significant to them or detail which they are seeking. It is probably one of the factors that are involved in what has been celled "quick intelligence." To scan a page to find quickly some small but significant detail, to classify familiar objects quickly, are examples of this factor. Factor N. This is one of the clearest factors that have been isolated. It consists in facility with simple numerical work and is best represented in the tests of rapid calculation. It is of secondary importance in arithmetical reasoning and in
deciphering numerical code, tasks which call for factors in addition to facility with numbers as such. It is not yet known whether this factor can be exemplified in non-numerical tasks* Factor V. This is a verbal factor which is manifested in tests that involve the interpretation of language. It is not restricted to mere fluency with words. It reflects an ability to deal readily and quickly with verbal material. Those who excel in this factor are probably verbally-minded in their thinking and problem solving. Factor S. This is an ability that is present in those tests which require the subject to think visually of geo metrical forms and of objects in space* rthile none of these factors can be described in detail as yet, it seems reason able to expect that those who have a high rating on ability S should be able to do well in those studies,in those occupa tions that require visualizing or thinking about things in visual form. .Many people think about a problem visually even when the nature of the problem does not immediately suggest any necessary visual character. Factor M. The nature of this factor was identified by the fact that all of the tests which require it are tests of memorizing. The appearance of such a factor seems to give justification for the belief that a good memory is an ability independent of other mental powers. It is not yet known, however, whether the ability to memorize is the same as the ability to recall experiences which we do not intend to re tain for future recall. The present factor SI can be tenta tively named the ability to memorize. Factor J. The tests which require this factor demand that the subject discover some rule or principle in the material of the test. The factor does not seem to be re stricted to material which is primarily numerical, primarily., visual, or primarily verbal, types which were all represented in the tests for this factor. The ability to discover a rule or principle in the solution of a problem is usually called induction. People differ markedly in the kind of resource fulness that is involved in inductive thinking, and the hypothesis that the factor I is associated with this kind of ability seems plausible. It is not known whether this factor is associated with inventiveness and initiative. Factor I). The deductive factor is still only tentatively identified. It is a factor which is present in syllogistic reasoning and also in some other tests. It is one of several factors that may be involved in restrictive thinking. In a general dascription, the factor seems to represent facility in formal reasoning.
•.Thprstone then proceeded to construct tests to measure these factors and has developed relatively pure ones*
edition of this battery was used in this experiment. The criticism of intelligence testing has been that it reveals an undifferentiated, globular, synthetic aspect of mind and it will fail to give satisfaction until it becomes more analytically dis criminating in revealing the heterogeneity of intelligence*
has stimulated thinking in the psychological world by uncovering the possibility of ascertaining weaknesses or strengths of the various angles of intelligence with better means of prognosis of success in practical pursuits. 2. Research on Nature-Nurture Controversy It is obviously important for educational theorists and practicioners to know whether the differences in mental organization of students are due in the main to controllable factors of the en vironment and training, or to original endovmient. Experimental evidence as to the relative influence of nature and nurture has been adequately summarized in three yearbooks of the National Society for the Study of Education, the Twenty-First, TwentySeventh, and Thirty-Nintji*
A brief review of the controversy with
references to studies follows, a. Genealogies Certain stocks which have produced famous or infamous men have been examined and reported since the time Galton's "Hereditary Genius" appeared. Pearson
Woods(8B), Dugdale^18^> EstabroojJ19^, Cattell^1-0^, and
have contributed pedigrees.
The relatives of gifted
children have also been studied with reference to Who *s Who and the Hall of Fane by Woods
and Terman^8 ^*
The general verdict of these in
vestigations is that intelligent children on the whole tend to have intelligent ancestors and relatives* b. Family Resemblances Many reports have been made of measurements of related persons by means of correlation*
For a scientific study of the role of nature
versus nurture, the most convincing of techniques is the effects of en vironment upon identical twins and foster children* (25) studies was made by Galton • He concludes;
One of the earliest
There is no escape from the conclusion that nature prevails enormously over nurture when the differences of nurture do not exceed what is commonly found among persons of the same rank of society and in the same country. (51) Identical twins who have been reared apart were studied by Muller (52) and Newman • The former found that diversity of environment had little effect on intelligence scores but produced real differences in temperament*
Newman's results were reversed! the emotional reactions
of the twins were similar, while their intelligence test scores varied widely*^
Tallraan^*^ studied three goups of twins! twins known to be
identical, twins of the same sex (identical and non-identical) and twins known to be non-identical*
In likeness in intelligence, the order
stands; identical twins, like-sexed twins, and non-identical twins* Merriman^^ tested twins and obtained correlations on the Binet of *80 for like sex, and *50 for unlike eex pairs* pair of Siamese twins, Koch
In a study of a
found that the difference between
the pair on intelligence tests are as large or even larger than those usually found between ordinary identical twins despite the fact that I ^See, McNeraar, Quinn, "Newman, Freeman and Holzinger's Twins; A Study of Heredity and Environment," Psychological Bulletin* Vol* 35, No* 4, April 1938, pp. 237-249.
environment has1the utmost opportunity to act with equal effect upon each tv/in.
Jones^^made a study of the mental test resemblance be
tween parent and offspring.
Consistently higher values were found for
resemblance in intelligence test score of parent and child than were reported in other studies.
(14) Conrad and Jones' ' continued this study.
Environmental similarities presumably associated with similarity of sex failed to exert any differential effect upon intelligence resem blance.
The greater similarity of the conditions of development among
siblings than among parents and offspring should be reflected in higher sibling than parental correlation. correlations were exactly equal.
Yet in this study the
compared the mental de
velopment of children of defective mothers in their own homes with that of children whose mothers are normal and the data indicated that the IQ of children of feebleminded mothers is directly related to the length of time the children have spent in their own homes.
cludes that there is no reason why physically normal children of feebleminded mothers may not be placed for adoption if it is done before the third birthday.
studied forty-eight children of
feeble-minded persons and reported marked intellectual differences between these subjects and a similar number whose mothers were normal. S c h o t t d i d not find the changes in IQ of foster home children to /g Q \
be statistically significant.
reported on sixteen children
placed in foster homes under six months of age who had feebleminded mothers with an average IQ of 66.6; the children had a mean IQ of 116 at the time of the first test when they were chronologically 2-1. (67) Skeels studied 147 children placed in foster homes before six months of age and reported a mean IQ higher than would be expected from
the occupational) educational,
and socio-economic levels represented
by the true parents, and a zero correlation between the true mother’s IQ and that of the child.
F o x ^ ^ reported as follows* "Hental,
temperamental, and moral differences even between identical twins is largely due to nurture} the mental differences between peoples are due to history, tradition, culture and there is no evidence for the dogma that they are hereditary•"
is convinced that foster parents
should not be permitted to think that a child of meager growth en dowment can be brought up to full normality through opportunities pro vided by a good home, although in appraising growth one must not ignore environmental influences.
The organism always participates in the
creation of its environment, and the growth characteristics of the child are really the end product expressions of an interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic determiners; the interaction is the crux. c • Health A most difficult problem is to obtain data upon the relation between physical condition and mental growth that can give added light on the question of factors that influence the IQ.
Merely to e stablish
a correspondence between mental status and health is not enough for conclusions as to causal influence, since superiority or inferiority in either or both might be due simply to common environmental or con genital bases, or to selection (as, for example, the prevalence of hookworm among the poor mountain whites). The results of a two-year study by Hoefer and Hardy
influence of improvement in physical condition on intelligence show very little tendency toward improvement following favorable changes
in physical condition as measured by several criteria. Stone and (74) Doe-Kulraann found ioental and sexual development to be virtually independent, and this conclusion is exemplified by cases reported by Gesell
experimented with programs of stimulation for
high-grade morons and borderline children who show no evidence of pathological disturbance; he found the rate of mental growth to be significantly increased at both the relatively early and relatively late chronological age levels.
reported a correlation
of .736 between thyroid gland activity and intelligence.
* (62) Shock and Jones disagreed with Hinton, and they report no correla» tion between measurements taken in the basal state and intelligence. Chidestar^^ reported three cases of mentally retarded children and the amount of improvement in emotional condition and behavior through therapeutic treatment.
There was an increased efficiency of perform
ance in psychological measurements of young children which accompanied an increased feeding of Vitamin B as reported by Balkan and Maurer
A study, made with MeGilliard,established that the greater than normal muscular and mental fatiguability of fifteen malnourished children (61) disappeared with the recovery from malnourishment. Schwesihger reports concerning physical interference that in almost no case is there retarded intelligence due to abnormalities caused by ill health, accident or disease; except deafness or diseases of the central nervous system in which lesions, toxic conditions, and nerve tissue destruction have been able to slow up the develop ment of intelligence. No serious mental changes have been found to follow somatic changes outside of the central nervous system. d. Enriched Environment The summary of conclusions made by Burks
contains the following
statement i The maximal contribution of the best home environ ment to iielligence is apparently about twenty IQ points, or less, and almost surely lies between ten and thirty points. Conversely, the least cultured, least stimulating kind of itmerican home environment may depress the IQ as much as twenty points. But situations as extreme as either of these probably occur only once or twice in a thousand times in -american communities. Freeman et al
include the following words in their summary*
A study . . . . showed that the children in the better foster homes gained considerably more than did those in the poorer homes, furthermore, the children who were tested and adopted at an early age gained more than those adopted at a later age. These facts appear to indicate that an improvement in environment produces a gain in intelligence. Terrnan stands out as a leader in the measurement movementj he is thoroughly convinced that the knowledge of an individual's rate of development will assist one in predicting his intelligence at a later date.
His experiments have given conclusive proof that the
child of low intelligence will likely be an adult of low intelligence} a child of average intelligence, an adult of average intelligence? a child of superior intelligence, an adult of superior intelligence. The IQ variation for a given individual will probably not exceed five points, or if a correlation is run between two testings of the same group, the coefficient will likely fall between .80 and .95 • Terman has supervised the most extensive and undoubtedly the most significant long-time study of gifted children as yet made.^*^ Hildreth
found that a statistically insignificant advantage
of a group with nursery school e xperience was only temporary and
(3 5 ) artificial.
a more recent study
she concluded that there was
little evidence that attendance at a private school raises the average
ability of these adopted children.
Goodenough^^ reported that no
effects of nursery school training upon the IQ were reliably established* Later Goodenough and Maurer
reported an experiment the analyses of
which do not warrant the conclusion that attendance at the University of Minnesota Nursery School has any measurable effect whatever upon the mental development of children.
The authors are of the opinion that
provided the same misuse of statistical methods occurs as
similar gain appears not only in test results of children attending a nursery school that makes no claim to improve intelligence, but (84) also in the records of children remaining in their own homes. Voas , (1) (3) (545) (22) (6) Anderson , Bayley , Olson , Frauds en and Barlow and Bird have published reports of experiments that are in essential agreement with that of Goodenough and 1'ianrer.
A school curriculum most carefully
planned and controlled to meet the present needs of one group of in tellectual deviates, the dull normal, failed to alter significantly their intellectual pattern
; there was perhaps a change in the c de
gree of personal satisfaction and adjustment, however.
found no increase in the IQ's of 141 children.by participation in a (44) . rich and vital school curriculum. English and Killian stated xn their report that they found it extremely difficult to modify the IQ| that there was a relatively snail amount of variability.
From 1932 to
the present time, the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station ha3 been the seat of many experiments on changes in intelligence associated with environmental influences.
The Coffey and Wellman study
cultural status in relation to IQ changes of children attending the preschool laboratories, a three-year orphanage study by Skeels,
Updegraff , Yfe liman, and Williams
, Wellman's report
growth during the elementary school years, Brandenburg's
of mental development of preschool and non-preschool children during their subsequent elementary school years all point to improvement in IQ of those living in a stimulating environment, and conversely, a decrease under unfavorable environmental conditions.
and R o b e r t s ^ * ^ agxj^^vith Iowa's‘findings on the relation between
nursery school attendance and IQ changes.
Two hundred eighty-nine
children, moved from a slum district at a chronological age of 4-9, (23) made small but significant increases in mentality. Freeman believes that "it is a thorough going misconception that the develop ment of an individual is simply the inevitable unfolding of those (40) traits which are implicit in the organism before birth."
reports increases from twelve tothirty-six points in IQ w&ere !
children placed in a suitable environment develop confidence and keen interest.
Many replies in criticism of those studies that cite in^ , (29) (48) (8) (63) (64) (65) creases in mental growth have appeared. e.Specialized Training The differential rate of mental development is conditioned al most entirely by natureif the efficacy of training proves to be very slight.
If, however,exercise greatly or permanently
performance, it could be inferred that environmental training has a definite effect upon ability. by Greene
The special significance of a study
lies in its demonstration that many tasks not ordin
arily learned by children of a given mental level can be learned if intensive measure are used to teach them.
However, the gain was
temporary for at the end of three years there was no significant advantage over the control g roup*
The question raised in an experiment
by G a t e s ^ ^ refers to the ultimate nature of the( improvement brodght about by training; he concludes that ’’the effect of education is not to change capacity directly nor to modify the growth of capacity, but only to give the recipient useful information, techniques, method of work and the like."
His conclusion obviously reinforces the position
of those who believe that the fundamental endowments given by nature a,re themselves little open to alteration by nurture.
ports that improvement in abilities continues throughout the college • years in the field where practice is provided; continued maturation is not a general process of unfolding of inner capacities which occurs independently of particular training.
Seventy students made a
statistically significant gain of 40.42 inscores on the Psychological Examination of the .American Council on Education from the freshman to the senior year as reported by McConnell
significant improvement in general intelligence among college women after eighteen years of age.
became interested in the
changes in intelligence quotient that accompanies speech training. Retests of children over periods of six months to a year in which ...speech training is given show improvement in IQ in some cases as much as forty points.
compared the profitableness of mere
practice with explanation of method in causing transfer of training and found that the former resulted in little transfer but the latter might bring about extensive transfer.
ment on the relation of verbal ability to improvement with practice in
verbal testa and concluded that subjects acquire no increments of free or general verbal ability as a result of practice; none of the differences in mean gain between the practice and control groups was igg \
experimented to check on the improvement of
high school English cashed by the study of Latin, and concluded that the students of let in were superior students of English before taking that foreign language.
Not Latin, but the inherent superiority of students
of Latin was the cause of greater achievement in English.
' (78) and Ruger studied the comparative effect of first-year Latin upon knowledge of English words of Latin derivation.
The Latin students
made about twice as much gain as those not taking that subject, but in non-Latin words there was approximately the same gain for both groups. The experimenters concluded that the superiority of the one group was due to an increased knowledge of Latin roots, and not due to an in crease in a general language ability that would facilitate the understanding of any words of whatever source.
Dorsey and Hopkins
ported on the influence of attitude upon transfer.
In all three exe
periments, the mere suggestion of using previous training in new situations increased appreciably the amount of transfer.
found that by paying specific attention to vocabulary, an experimental group gained an average of 14.1 words apiece on a given vocabulary test while a control group starting with approximately the same average (15) gained only 1.7 words on the same test. Curoe experimented with enriching the vocabularies of college seniors and concluded that use of words was the means of transfer from the passive to the active word stock.
concluded from experimentalfindings that a
verbal ability grows as he attends college, regardless of
whether he gives the matter much specific attention; there is a measureable gain in vocabulary in as short a period as six weeks. Students giving vocabulary their specific attention may gain about twice as rapidly as those whose vocabulary growth is incidental. D a w e ^ ^ made a study of the effect of an educational program upon language development end related mental functions in young children. She found that training in the understanding of words and concepts re sulted in an IQ gain of 14.2 points while the control group lost 2 points. Van Voorhis
directed Ids attention to the training of one
special ability, the space perception factor, to note whether im provement manifested itself in general functioning intelligence.
were forty freshman engineering students of The Pennsylvania State College who completed a course of study designed to improve their "ability to visualize".
Forty-four students constituted a control
group which was fairly well matched with the experimental group.
statistical procedures were the same as those used in the present study 4 These students attained a significantly higher mean on the tv/o parts of the Thurstone tests which measure space perception than would have been expected if the training program had had no effect.
They also made a
statistically significant gain in their grades in Descriptive Geometry. The e xperimental factor had no reliable effect on the college average exclusive of Descriptive Geometry.
He concludes as follows*
The fact that the experimental group responded to training in a variety of techniques and skills in handling visual space suggests that this ability is probably made up of many skills, techniques, and processes, and is for that reason improvable to the extent that these factors can be developed. . . . A score made by an individual on a test of space perception ability is at least in part a measure of the extent to which that individual has learned to perform visualization acts, rather than solely a measure of a primary capacity which is unalterable.
Chapter II PROCEDURE IN THIS STUDY
Nature of Subjects The subjects for this experiment were selected from the 1940-41 freshman class in the Lower Division of the School of the Liberal Arts on the basis of verbal ability as indicated by the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities.
There were 140 students scoring below the
mean in the tests which measure the verbal factor of intelligence.
cording to these scores, these individuals were then divided into tvro well-matched groups.. The seventy students of one group were invited to attend one of three evening meetings scheduled to state the reason for their being members of the group, and to explain the purpose of the experiment. Fifty-two individuals attended the conferences, end thirty-one sighified an interest in engaging in a training program to improve their ability to deal readily and quickly with verbal material.
thirty of these thirty-one students who carried on the activities in volved in the experiment to the end.
One additional member was re
ferred by the Psycho-Educational Clinic of The Pennsylvania State College and was added to the experimental group at the end of the first week.
Eighteen of these subjects were girls; thirteen, boyB. Members of the control group were selected from the other group of
For each member of the experimental group, two students were
selected whose verbal scores were almost perfectly matched and who showed similar patterms of ability on four other equating factors.
secure the criterion scores of the control group, notices of examina tions were mailed to these sixty-two students.
Thirty-one students ap-
* peared to be examined, fifteen girls and sixteen boys* These individ| • uals constitute the control’gjoup v&ich has mean scores in each of five
matching factors that are approximately equal to thoseof the experi mental groupi / » Equating Factors Tables I and II reveal the scores of the members of the experimental and control groups on the equating data. Table III is included to make a comparison of the two groups in mean scores and standard deviations.
Not only do the groups display
approximately the same measure of central tendency but they also show that they differ only slightly in variability•
TABLE I Scores on Matching Factors for the Experimental Group
Student Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 J & ___
First Sem. Coll. At . 1.44 1.52 1.45 1.57 2.15 •94 1.73 1.29 1.02 1.05 •65 1.57 2.36 1.23 2.15 •48 1.94 .07 •23 1.84 1.10 1.46 1.30 1.20 1.05 .15 1.38 1.66 •00 1.66 - 3,-sS.? U. - 1.25 S.D. = .59
Engl. Comp. Grade
Thuratone Combined V. Score
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 -1 1 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 .1 0 1 1 1 0 1 . __ s______ M. «
S.D. =• .66
English Placement Test
81 89 59 88 84 89 68 81 59 54 50 75 73 89 56 85 67 82 75 86 84 74 67 62 46 48 82 67 65 88 84 M.
146 123 111 156 160 155 138 128 190 129 117 144 137 160 146 145 128 129 129 130 153 156 137 161 122 133 171 137 136 148 151 Li.
Predicted Coll. At . 1.44 1.18 1.23 1.57 1.44 1.46 1.19 1.33 .86 1.26 .79 1.12 1.37 1.02 1.16 1.32 1.05 1.03 1.30 1.11 •98 •90 1.10 1.45 .97 .87 1.31 1.14 .80 1.81 1.18
M. * 1.19
S.D. = 16.99
Scores on Matching Factors for the Control Grom
Student Number 1 2
3 4 5 6
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
First Sem. Coll* Av. 1.57 1*57 1.44 .23 .77 •64 1.46 -.33
Engl. Comp. Grade
72 74 89 89 82 54
1 2 1 0 0
76 73 90 76 47 63 76 64
80 90 74 52 65 90 70
•58 1.64 -.30 1.33 1.56 2.05 1.50 1.36 1.94 2.25 •89 .57 •58 .17 1.73 1.52 1.61 2.38 1.22
0 0 2
Thurstone "V" Score
1 1 1 2 2
«• 1 1 1 1 1 1
74 84 74 77 87
English Placemeaft Test 158 144 146 143 136 126
Predicted Coll. Av. 1.22
128 132 150
1.39 1.46 1.26 1.45 .67 1.29 1.05 1.03 •94
125 126 146 127 144 150 178 152 141 142 149 147 129 131 135 149 144 129 154 141
.90 .71 1.19 .98 1.48 1.16 1.77 .99 1.05 .81 1.39
M. » 140.13
M. » 1.15
1.35 •90 1.17 1.12
1.52 1.30 1.08 1.06
M. * 1.11
M. » .55
K. * 75.74
S.D. - .73
S.D. * 1.01
S «D . m 12 *06 S.D. > 12.35 S.D. *
Matching Factor Means and Standard Deviations for the Experimental and Control Groups
First Sem* Coll. Av*
English Comp* Grade 3 Thurstone "V* Score 4 English Placement 5 Predicted College Average
From analysis of the preceding tables, it is obvious that no at tempt was made to have precisely matched pairs• Matching these groups on five criteria would have resulted in a drastic loss of population* Instead, a regression technique for the hypothetical mathing of groups was used*
This will be explained later in a section devoted to the
statistical procedures of this experiment* The four equating factors, other than the already mentioned totrbal ability score, are first semester college average, English composition grade at the close of the first semester, English Placement score and the predicted college average. The first two series of scores were secured in the Registrar's Oflfice of The Pennsylvania State College*
The English Placement scores were
made available by the English Composition Department of the College* The Placement Test, used for classification purposes, is one developed by the English Composition Department end administered to all first-year
students during Freshman Week*
This test contains the following unitsi
(1) vocabulary} 100 points; (2) spelling} 60 points; (3) grammar and diction} 60 points; and (4) punctuation} 40 points*
The verbal ability
scores and the predicted college averages were obtained from the PsychoEducational Clinic of the College*
The berbal ability is ihdic&ted by
the composite score earned on two tests, Completion and Same-Opposite} of the Thurstons Tests for Primary Mental Abilities.
college averages were derived by the regression equation from a knowledge of scores in each of the primary mental abilities as measured by the Thurstone Tests. Table IV shows the intercorrelations among these five matching factors!
The highest correlation, *6569, is that between Thurstone
Verbal score and the Predicted College Average; the lowest, 11148, is between Thurstone Verbal score and English composition grade.
TABLE IV Intercorrelations Among Matching Factors Computed on the Basis of Control Group Scores
2 English 3 Thurstone Composition V
4 English Placement
5 Predicted Coll. Av*
First Semester College Average
English Composition Grade 3 Thurstone V 4 English Placement
Statistical Procedure To eliminate the reduction of the experimental population, a re* gression method which gives the effect of perfect pairing was employed* According to this method, a regression equation is set
statistics of the control group* This equation is then
what the achievement score of each member of the experimental group should be if the training program had resulted in no differential ef fect.
The difference between the scores predicted for the experimental
group and those obtained by it represents the effect of the experimental ^ A 1 factor*
The initial matching measures with their designations are as follows t X]_ -
First semester college average
First semester grade in English composition
- Composite score in verbal factor ofthe Thurstone Test Primary Mental Abilities
- English Placement Test score
- predicted College Average
The regression equation used for prediction is given bytheformula
X0 - D
1 . 1 2
TABLE VII Correlations Between Criterion Scores and fAteMnp Factors Baaed on Control Group Statistics
First Semester College - - - Average
English Thurstone Composition Initial Grade Verbal Scor-fl
. Thurstone Retest Verbal Score *4675
* Thurstone Retest Space Score - *0977
3. Thurstone Retest Memory Score *3820
4. Thurstone Retest Inductive Reasoning Score-*0130
5. Second Semester English Composition Grade *5003
. Second Semester College Average (Exclusive of English Comp*) .7783
trol group data*
The difference between the means predicted for the
experimental group and those obtained by the same group must be employed in finding T-ratioa. Table VII shows the highest correlation to be that between the second semester college average (exclusive of English composition) and the first semester college average} the lowest, that between
retest inductive reasoning score and the first semester English composition grade. The Thurstone retest verbalsscore reveals the highest set of correlations with the five matching factors, while the second
semester collage average (exclusive of English composition) is almost equally highly correlated with the equating measures*
vhich is least related to the group of matching factors is the Thurstone retest space factor*
Data on the Thurstone Verbal Factor Tables VIII and IX contain the first and final scores made by the experimental and control groups, respectively, on the tests measuring the verbal factor of the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities* The experimental group shoved a mean gain of 27*51, while the con trol group improved by 19*13 points*
Both groups increased in
variability between initial and final scores on the verbal factor as measured by the Thurstone tests* Instead of the usual method for testing the significance of the difference between the two groups, a special technique which will be described in detail must be employed. Using the intercorrelations between the control group matching factors (given in Table IV) and the zero—order correlations between the criterion, verbal factor, and each of the equating measures (given in Table VII) on work sheets for the Doolittle Method, the values of the several Betas are found by solving the back-solution equations at the foot of the work sheet* All the values needed for the regression equation for prediction of verbal factor scores for the experimental group are now available. The necessary data are on the following page*
The formula for the partial regression equation used in predicting scores for the experimental group is
* ° V B01.2345 ^
where M X B
Xu ^04.1235 ^ 4
^ 3 .1245 S^§
Subscript 0 -
Subscript 1 -
first semester college average
S. D. Subscript 2
English Composition grade
Thurstone Initial Verbal score
Ehgliah Placement score
Predicted college average
The regression equation would then become
17.82 (.0895 -
.1086 - 3 ^
1.11 17.88 ( .0895 ilii
.2004 ~ i | s
.55 , 75.74 .1086 ~ ;5l / .5847
.2004 W Q * 1 3
The solution of the equation brings about
.864 X 3
3.764 Xg -
Substituting in the above equation the scores on the five matching *
factors made by each member of the experimental group, the predictions appearing in Table IX are made.
Initial and Re-teat Scores Hade by the Igsysertaugrtal Grom on the Verbal Factor of the Thurston* Testa for Primary Mental Abilitiea
Student 1 2
3 4 5
September 81 89 59 8 8
119 76 107 115 121
84 104 74 80 64 108
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
81 59 54 50 75 73 89 56 85 67 82 75
84 74 67 62 46 48 82 67 65
1 0 1
9 10 1 1 1 2
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
123 83 97 1 0 1
95 1 00
129 108 106 86
50 117 92 1 1 0
1 2 1
Difference 19 30 17 19 31 32 16 23 15 26 14 33 27 34 27 1 2
34 13 25 38 17 55 41 44 40 2
35 25 45 33 31
9£& Re-teat Scores Made tor the Control Q poup on the Verbal Factor of the Thuretone Teata for Primary Mental Abilities
72 74 89 89 83 54
103 77 132 93 109 63 117
3 4 5
9 10 11
76 73 90 76 47 63 76 64
79 100 88
Difference 31 3 33 3 27 9 29 34 6 1 0
13 9 32 30
74 84 74 77 87
56 85 96 75 105 92 135 91 85 106 103 89 90 73 91 94 131 78 98 128
13 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 30 31 33 33 34 35 36 27 38 29 30 31
80 90 74 53 65 90 70 88
17 1 2
45 17 33 41 13 19 3 17 5 30 37 4 31 41
» + '■ .-T''
*. •* s Predicted and Attained Scores gn th* Verbal Teats £f the
Thuratone Teat for Primary Mental Abilities
Student 1 2
3 4 & 6
9 1 0 1 1 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2 0 2 1 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Predicted Score 103*81 103*27 73*92 113*52 1 1 2 . 0 0
112*31 89*96 95*95 94*42 72*12 60*64 97.13 97*96 114*65 82*71 104*43 86*14 93*31 88*63 103*14 105*95 98*66 88*44 91*24 62*10 66*58 111*28 88*47 79.63 112*31 106*36
Attained Score Difference 1 0 0
119 76 107 115 1 2 1
84 104 74 80 64 108 1 0 0
123 83 97 1 0 1
95 1 0 0
3*81 15.7a 2*08 - 6*52 3 * 0 0
8*69 5*96 8*05 - 20*42 7.88 3*36 10*87 2*04 8*35 *29 - 7.43 14*86 1*69 11*37
124 1 0 1
129 108 106 86
50 117 92 1 1 0 1 2 1
4*95 30.34 19*56 14*76 23*90 - 16*58 5*72 3*53 30*37 8*69 6*64
The difference between the means predicted and obtained is 6.35* The; next question to be answered is how significant this difference is. The standard error formula1 required in the theoretical matching > technique isi
xf (1-R xf( i^i».».«k)
where y _i y
obtained end score
predicted end score
multiple correlation coefficient
experimental group K
number of matching factors
The data still to be computed for the solution of the standard error formula are listed below. a2xf
is the correlation squared between the
criterion as actually obtained and the criterion as predicted from the whole team of related factors* each multiplied by i'ts regression coefficient the formula B01.2345 rOl
B05.1234 r05 Using the composite score on the final test of the verbal factor ^For discussion of the standard error formula, see Peters and Van Voorhis, Statistical Procedures and Their Mathematical B^pes, (The McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1940) pp. 465-467. 2
of the Thurstone Tests for Primary Mental Abilities as a criterion, and substituting in the above formula, it becomes
(.0895) (.4675) / (.1086) (.3119) / (.5847 (.7385) / (.2004) (.5268) / (.0528) (.6061) or R 2 »
R - .8009
The third term under the radical calls for partial sigmas for the control group matching factor scores.
• • • I II
• • S' • 1
S; i S | 4
>* i ■ I*
•• • 1 II
•■ • * II
I ■ •I I■
II ■ ■ II II
* ' I' I*
• • ||
IS I S: ' •2
• • ii
II II II II II
II II II II II
•• •• II ••
" *' »«
•• >i ••
•• •• , ■ • *
■ • 2 2
G O r —