Comprehension Fourth Degree

The questions for this year are:--

(a) "_What ought you to say when some one asks your opinion

about a person you don't know very well?_"

(b) "_What ought you to do before undertaking (beginning)

something very important?_"

(c) "_Why should we judge a person more by his actions than by

his words?_"

The PROCEDURE is the same as for the previous comprehensi
n tests. Each

question may be repeated, but its form must not be changed. It is not

permissible to make any explanation whatever as to the meaning of the

question, except to substitute _beginning_ for _undertaking_ when (b)

seems not to be comprehended.

SCORING. _Two out of the three_ questions must be answered

satisfactorily. Study of the following classified responses should make

scoring fairly easy in most cases:--

(a) _When some one asks your opinion_

_Satisfactory._ "I would say I don't know him very well"

(42 per cent of the correct answers). "Tell him what I know and

no more" (34 per cent of correct answers). "I would say that I'd

rather not express any opinion about him" (20 per cent of the

correct answers). "Tell him to ask some one else." "I would not

express any opinion."

_Unsatisfactory._ Unsatisfactory responses are due either to

failure to grasp the import of the question, or to inability to

suggest the appropriate action demanded by the situation.

The latter form of failure is the more common; e.g.: "I'd say

they are nice." "Say you like them." "Say what I think." "Say

it's none of their business." "Tell them I mind my own

business." "Say I would get acquainted with them." "Say that I

don't talk about people." "Say I didn't know how he looked."

"Tell them you ought not to say such things; you might get into

trouble." "I wouldn't say anything." "I would try to answer."

"Say I did not know his name," etc.

The following are samples of failure due to mistaking the import

of the question: "I'd say, 'How do you do?'" "Say,'I'm glad to

meet you.'"

(b) _Before undertaking something important_

_Satisfactory responses_ fall into the following classes:--

(1) Brief statement of preliminary consideration; as: "Think

about it." "Look it over." "Plan it all out." "Make your

plans." "Stop and think," etc.

(2) Special emphasis on preliminary preparation and correct

procedure; as: "Find out the best way to do it." "Find out

what it is." "Get everything ready." "Do every little thing

that would help you." "Get all the details you can." "Take

your time and figure it out," etc.

(3) Asking help; as: "Ask some one to help you who knows all

about it." "Pray, if you are a Christian." "Ask advice,"


(4) Preliminary testing of ability, self-analysis, etc.; as:

"Try something easier first." "Practice and make sure I

could do it." "Learn how to do it," etc.

(5) Consider the wisdom or propriety of doing it: "Think whether

it would be best to do it." "See whether it would be


About 65 per cent of the correct responses belong either to

group (1) or (2), about 20 per cent to group (3), and most of

the remainder to group (4).

_Unsatisfactory responses_ are of the following types:--

(1) Due to mistaking the import of the question; e.g.: "Ask for

it." "Ought to say please." "Ask whose it is." Replies of

this kind can be nearly all eliminated by repeating the

question, using _beginning_ instead of _undertaking_.

(2) Replies more or less absurd or irrelevant; as: "Promise to

do your best." "Wash your face and hands." "Get a lot of

insurance." "Dress up and take a walk." "Tell your name."

"Know whether it's correct." "Begin at the beginning." "Say

you will do it." "See if it's a fake." "Go to school a long

time." "Pass an examination." "Do what is right." "Add up

and see how much it will cost." "Say I would do it." "Just

start doing it." "Go away." "Consult a doctor." "See if you

have time," etc.

(c) _Why we should judge a person more by his actions than by his words_

_Satisfactory responses_ fall into the following classes:--

(1) Words and deeds both mentioned and contrasted in

reliability; as: "Actions speak louder than words" (this in

8 per cent of successes). "You can tell more by his actions

than by his words." "He might talk nice and do bad things."

"Sometimes people say things and don't do them." "It's not

what you say but what you do that counts." "Talk is cheap;

when he does a thing you can believe it." "People don't do

everything they say." "A man might steal but talk like a

nice man." Over 45 per cent of all correct responses belong

to group (1).

(2) Acts stressed without mention of words; as: "You can tell by

his actions whether he is good or not." "If he _acts_ nice

he _is_ nice." "Actions show for themselves." Group (2)

contains about 25 per cent of the correct responses.

(3) Emphasis on unreliability of words; as: "You can't tell by

his words, he might lie or boast." "Because you can't always

believe what people say." (Group (3) contains 15 per cent of

the correct responses.)

(4) Responses which state that a man's deeds are sometimes

better than his words; as: "He might talk ugly and still not

do bad things." "Some really kind-hearted people scold and

swear." "A man's words may be worse than his deeds," etc.

Group (4) contains over 10 per cent of the correct


_Unsatisfactory responses_ are usually due to inability to

comprehend the meaning of the question. If there is a complete

lack of comprehension the result is either silence or a totally

irrelevant response. If there is partial comprehension of the

question the response may be partially relevant, but fail to

make the expected distinction.

The following are sample failures: "You could tell by his words

that he was educated." "It shows he is polite if he acts nice."

"Sometimes people aren't polite." "Actions show who he might

be." "Acts may be foolish." "Words ain't right." "A man might be

dumb." "A fellow don't know what he says." "Some people can

talk, but don't have control of themselves." "You can tell by

his acts whether he goes with bad people." "If he doesn't act

right you know he won't talk right." "Actions show if he has

manners." "Might get embarrassed and not talk good." "He may not

know how to express his thoughts." "He might be a rich man but a

poor talker." "He might say the wrong thing and afterwards be

sorry for it," etc. (The last four are nearer correct than the

others, but they fall just short of expressing the essential


REMARKS. For discussion of the comprehension questions as a test of

intelligence, see page 158.

Binet used eight questions, three "easy" and five "difficult," and

required that five out of eight be answered correctly in year X. The

eight were as follows:--

(1) What to do when you have missed your train.

(2) When you have been struck by a playmate, etc.

(3) When you have broken something, etc.

(4) When about to be late for school.

(5) When about to undertake something important.

(6) Why excuse a bad act committed in anger more readily than a bad

act committed without anger.

(7) What to do if some one asks your opinion, etc.

(8) Why can you judge a person better by his actions, etc.

As we have shown, questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 are much too easy for year X.

Question 6 is hard enough for year XII. We have omitted it because it

was not needed and is not entirely satisfactory.