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Intelligence Tests For Vocational Fitness

The time is probably not far distant when intelligence tests will become a recognized
and widely used instrument for determining vocational fitness. Of course, it is not
claimed that tests are available which will tell us unerringly exactly what one of
a thousand or more occupations a given individual is best
fitted to pursue. But when thousands of children who have been tested by
the Binet scale have been followed out into the industrial world, and
their success in various occupations noted, we shall know fairly
definitely the vocational significance of any given degree of mental
inferiority or superiority. Researches of this kind will ultimately
determine the minimum "intelligence quotient" necessary for success in
each leading occupation.

Industrial concerns doubtless suffer enormous losses from the employment
of persons whose mental ability is not equal to the tasks they are
expected to perform. The present methods of trying out new employees,
transferring them to simpler and simpler jobs as their inefficiency
becomes apparent, is wasteful and to a great extent unnecessary. A
cheaper and more satisfactory method would be to employ a psychologist
to examine applicants for positions and to weed out the unfit. Any
business employing as many as five hundred or a thousand workers, as,
for example, a large department store, could save in this way several
times the salary of a well-trained psychologist.

That the industrially inefficient are often of subnormal intelligence
has already been demonstrated in a number of psychological
investigations. Of 150 "hoboes" tested under the direction of the writer
by Mr. Knollin, at least 15 per cent belonged to the moron grade of
mental deficiency, and almost as many more were border-line cases. To be
sure, a large proportion were found perfectly normal, and a few even
decidedly superior in mental ability, but the ratio of mental deficiency
was ten or fifteen times as high as that holding for the general
population. Several had as low as 9- or 10-year intelligence, and one
had a mental level of 7 years. The industrial history of such subjects,
as given by themselves, was always about what the mental level would
lead us to expect--unskilled work, lack of interest in accomplishment,
frequent discharge from jobs, discouragement, and finally the "road."

The above findings have been fully paralleled by Mr. Glenn Johnson and
Professor Eleanor Rowland, of Reed College, who tested 108 unemployed
charity cases in Portland, Oregon. Both of these investigators made use
of the Stanford revision of the Binet scale, which is especially
serviceable in distinguishing the upper-grade defectives from normals.

It hardly needs to be emphasized that when charity organizations help
the feeble-minded to float along in the social and industrial world, and
to produce and rear children after their kind, a doubtful service is
rendered. A little psychological research would aid the united charities
of any city to direct their expenditures into more profitable channels
than would otherwise be possible.

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