Dissected Sentences

The following disarranged sentences are used:--




These should be printed in type like that used above. The Stanford

record booklet contains the sentences in convenient form.

It is not permissible to substitute written wo
ds or printed script, as

that would make the test harder. All the words should be printed in caps

in order that no clue shall be given as to the first word in a sentence.

For a similar reason the period is omitted.

PROCEDURE. Say: "_Here is a sentence that has the words all mixed up so

that they don't make any sense. If the words were changed around in the

right order they would make a good sentence. Look carefully and see if

you can tell me how the sentence ought to read._"

Give the sentences in the order in which they are listed in the record

booklet. Do not tell the subject to see how quickly he can do it,

because with this test any suggestion of hurrying is likely to produce a

kind of mental paralysis. If the subject has no success with the first

sentence in one minute, read it off correctly for him, somewhat slowly,

and pointing to each word as it is spoken. Then proceed to the second

and third, allowing one minute for each.

Give no further help. It is not permissible, in case an incorrect

response is given, to ask the subject to try again, or to say: "_Are you

sure that is right?_" "_Are you sure you have not left out any words?_"

etc. Instead, maintain absolute silence. However, the subject is

permitted to make as many changes in his response as he sees fit,

provided he makes them spontaneously and within the allotted time.

Record the entire response.

Once in a great while the subject misunderstands the task and thinks the

only requirement is to use all the words given, and that it is permitted

to add as many other words as he likes. It is then necessary to repeat

the instructions and to allow a new trial.

SCORING. _Two sentences out of three must be correctly given within the

minute allotted to each._ It is understood, of course, that if the first

sentence has to be read for the subject, both the other responses must

be given correctly.

A sentence is not counted correct if a single word is omitted, altered,

or inserted, or if the order given fails to make perfect sense.

Certain responses are not absolutely incorrect, but are objectionable as

regards sentence structure, or else fail to give the exact meaning

intended. These are given half credit. Full credit on one, and half

credit on each of the other two, is satisfactory. The following are

samples of satisfactory and unsatisfactory responses:--



"We started for the country at an early hour."

"At an early hour we started for the country."

"We started at an early hour for the country."


"We started early at an hour for the country."

"Early at an hour we started for the country."

"We started early for the country."

_Half credit._

"For the country at an early hour we started."

"For the country we started at an early hour."



"I asked my teacher to correct my paper."


"My teacher asked to correct my paper."

"To correct my paper I asked my teacher."

_Half credit._

"My teacher I asked to correct my paper."



"A good dog defends his master bravely."

"A good dog bravely defends his master."


"A dog defends his master bravely."

"A bravely dog defends his master."

"A good dog defends his bravely master."

"A good brave dog defends his master."

_Half credit._

"A dog defends his good master bravely."

"A dog bravely defends his good master."

"A good master bravely defends his dog."

REMARKS. This is an excellent test. It involves no knowledge which may

not be presupposed at the age in which it is given, and success

therefore depends very little on experience. The worst that can be urged

against it is that it may possibly be influenced to a certain extent by

the amount of reading the subject has done. But this has not been

demonstrated. At any rate, the test satisfies the most important

requirement of a test of intelligence; namely, the percentage of

successes increases rapidly and steadily from the lower to the higher

levels of mental age.

This experiment can be regarded as a variation of the completion test.

Binet tells us, in fact, that it was directly suggested by the

experiment of Ebbinghaus. As will readily be observed, however, it

differs to a certain extent from the Ebbinghaus completion test.

Ebbinghaus omits parts of a sentence and requires the subject to supply

the omissions. In this test we give all the parts and require the

formation of a sentence by rearrangement. The two experiments are

psychologically similar in that they require the subject to relate given

fragments into a meaningful whole. Success depends upon the ability of

intelligence to utilize hints, or clues, and this in turn depends on the

logical integrity of the associative processes. All but the highest

grade of the feeble-minded fail with this test.

This test is found in year XI of Binet's 1908 series and in year XII of

his 1911 revision. Goddard and Kuhlmann retain it in the original

location. That it is better placed in year XII is indicated by all the

available statistics with normal children, except those of Goddard. With

this exception, the results of various investigators for year XII are in

remarkably close agreement, as the following figures will show:--

_Per cent passing at year XII_

Binet 66

Kuhlmann 68

Bobertag 78

Dougherty 64

Strong 72

Leviste and Morle 70

Stanford series (1911) 62

Stanford series (1913) 57

Stanford series (1914) 62

Princeton data 61

This agreement is noteworthy considering that no two experiments seem to

have used exactly the same arrangement of words, and that some have

presented the words of a sentence in a single line, others in two or

three lines. A single line would appear to be somewhat easier.