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Alternative Test: Forenoon And Afternoon

PROCEDURE. If it is morning, ask: "_Is it morning or afternoon?_" If it
is afternoon, put the question in the reverse form, "_Is it afternoon or
morning?_" This precaution is necessary because of the tendency of some
children to choose always the latter of two alternatives. Do not
cross-question the child or give any suggestion that might afford a clue
as to the correct answer.

SCORING. The test is passed if the correct response is given with
apparent assurance. If the child says he is not sure but _thinks_ it
forenoon (or afternoon, as the case may be), we score the response a
failure even if the answer happens to be correct. However, this type of
response is not often encountered.

REMARKS. It is interesting to follow the child's development with regard
to orientation in time. This development proceeds much more slowly than
we are wont to assume. Certain distinctions with regard to space, as up
and down, come much earlier. As Binet remarks, schools sometimes try to
teach the events of national history to children whose time orientation
is so rudimentary that they do not even know morning from afternoon!

The test has two rather serious faults: (1) It gives too much play to
chance, for since only two alternatives are offered, guesses alone would
give about fifty per cent of correct responses. (2) We cannot be sure
that the verbal distinction between forenoon and afternoon always
corresponds the two divisions of the day. It is possible that the
temporal discrimination precedes the formation of the correct verbal

This test was included in the year VI group of the 1908 scale, but was
omitted from the 1911 revision. Nearly all the data except Bobertag's
show that it is rather easy for year VI, though too difficult for
year V. Bobertag's figures would place the test in year VII. Possibly
the corresponding German words are not as easy to learn as our _morning_
and _afternoon_.

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