Comprehension Third Degree

The questions for this year are:--

(a) "_What's the thing for you to do when you have broken

something which belongs to some one else?_"

(b) "_What's the thing for you to do when you notice on your way

to school that you are in danger of being tardy?_"

(c) "_What's the thing for you to do if a playmate hits you

without meaning to do it?_"

The procedure is
the same as in previous comprehension questions.

Each question may be repeated once or twice, but its form must not be

changed. No explanations are permissible.


_Question a (If you have broken something)_

_Satisfactory responses_ are those suggesting either restitution

or apology, or both. Confession is not satisfactory unless

accompanied by apology. The following are satisfactory: "Buy a

new one." "Pay for it." "Give them something instead of it."

"Have my father mend it." "Apologize." "Tell them I'm sorry,

that I did not mean to break it," etc. Of 92 correct answers, 76

suggested restitution, while 16 suggested apology, or apology

and restitution.

_Unsatisfactory._ "Tell them I did it." "Go tell my mother."

"Feel sorry." "Be ashamed." "Pick it up," etc. Mere confession

accounts for over 20 per cent of all failures.

_Question b (In danger of being tardy)_

_Satisfactory._ The expected response is, "Hurry," "Walk

faster," or something to that effect. One bright city boy said

he would take a car. Of the answers not obviously incorrect,

nearly 95 per cent suggest hurrying. The rule ordinarily

recommended is to grade all other responses _minus_. But this

rule is too sweeping to be followed blindly. One who would use

intelligence tests must learn to discriminate. "I would go back

home and not go to school that day" is a good answer in those

cases (fortunately rare) in which children are forbidden by the

teacher to enter the schoolroom if tardy. "Go back home and get

mother to write an excuse" would be good policy if by so doing

the child might escape the danger of incurring an extreme

penalty. When teachers inflict absurd penalties for unexcused

tardiness, it is the part of wisdom for children to incur no

risks! When such a response is given, it is well to inquire into

the school's method of dealing with tardiness and to score the

response accordingly.

_Unsatisfactory._ "Go to the principal." "Tell the teacher I

couldn't help it." "Have to get an excuse." "Go to school

anyway." "Get punished." "Not do it again." "Not play hooky."

"Start earlier next time," etc.

Lack of success results oftenest from failure to get the exact

shade of meaning conveyed by the question. It is implied, of

course, that something is to be done at once to avoid tardiness;

but the subject of dull comprehension may suggest a suitable

thing to do in case tardiness has been incurred. Hence the

response, "I would go to the principal and explain." Answers of

this type are always unsatisfactory.

_Question c (Playmate hits you)_

_Satisfactory responses_ are only those which suggest either

excusing or overlooking the act. These ideas are variously

expressed as follows: "I would excuse him" (about half of all

the correct answers). "I would say 'yes' if he asked my pardon."

"I would say it was all right." "I would take it for a joke." "I

would just be nice to him." "I would go right on playing." "I

would take it kind-hearted." "I would not fight or run and tell

on him." "I would not blame him for it." "Ask him to be more

careful," etc.

_Unsatisfactory responses_ are all those not of the above two

types; as: "I would hit them back." "I would not hit them back,

but I would get even some other way." "Tell them not to do it

again." "Tell them to 'cut it out.'" "Tell him it's a wrong

thing to do." "Make him excuse himself." "Make him say he's

sorry." "Would not play with him." "Tell my mamma." "I would ask

him why he did it." "He'd say 'excuse me' and I'd say 'thank

you.'" "He should excuse me." "He is supposed to say 'excuse


REMARKS. All three comprehension questions of this year were used by

Binet, Goddard, Huey, and others in year X; two of them in the "easy

series" and one in the "hard series." The Stanford data show that they

belong at the 8-year level on the standard of scoring above set forth.

The three differ little among themselves in difficulty, but all of them

are decidedly easier than the other five used by Binet. It would be

absurd to go on using the comprehension questions as Binet bunched them,

eight together, ranging in difficulty from one which is easy enough for

6-year intelligence ("What's the thing to do if you miss your train?")

to one which is hard for the 12-year level ("Why is a bad act done when

one is angry more excusable than the same act done when one is not