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Giving The Number Of Fingers

PROCEDURE. "_How many fingers have you on one hand?_" "_How many on the
other hand?_" "_How many on both hands together?_" If the child begins
to count in response to any of the questions, say: "_No, don't count.
Tell me without counting._" Then repeat the question.

SCORING. Passed _if all three questions are answered correctly and
promptly_ without the necessity of counting. Some subjects do not
understand the question to include the thumbs. We disregard this if the
number of fingers exclusive of thumbs is given correctly.

REMARKS. Like the two tests of counting pennies, this one, also, throws
light on the child's spontaneous interest in numbers. However, the
mental processes it calls into play are a little less simple than those
required for mere counting. If the child is able to give the number of
fingers, it is ordinarily because he has previously counted them and has
remembered the result. The memory would hardly be retained but for a
certain interest in numbers as such. Middle-grade imbeciles of even
adult age seldom remember how many fingers they have, however often
they may have been told. They are not able to form accurate concepts of
other than the simplest number relationships, and numbers have little
interest or meaning for them.

Binet gave this test a place in year VII of the 1908 series, but omitted
it in the 1911 revision. Goddard omits it, while Kuhlmann retains it in
year VII, where, according to our own figures, it unmistakably belongs.
Bobertag finds it rather easy for year VII, though too difficult for
year VI.

Our data prove that this test fulfills the requirements of a good test.
It shows a rapid but even rise from year V to year VIII in the per cent
passing, the agreement among the different testers is extraordinarily
close, and it is relatively little influenced by training and social
environment. For these reasons, and because it is so easy to give and
score with uniformity, it well deserves a place in the scale.

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