The American Experience in Education

By John Barnard; David Burner | Go to book overview

14
THE OBJECTIVES AND IMPACT OF SCIENTIFIC TESTING

Clarence J. Karier

The emergence of large corporations supplying national and international markets had parallels in the realm of education. Industries were vitally interested in rationalizing production through lowering costs, matching supply with demand, managing the work force, and introducing a more centralized supervision of investment and production in the whole economy. Similarly in education, efficiency, cost accounting, rationality, and central direction acquired a new significance. Science was one of the most important channels for unifying educational goals and criteria. While science had acquired many meanings by the twentieth century, the most important for educational purposes was the belief that inborn intelligence could be abstracted and quantified to provide a rational basis for the curriculum and educational planning. Central influence was pursued through standardization of teacher training and certification, the establishment of national organizations for teachers and school administrators, and the projects of philanthropic foundations. Although immediate control of schools and their funding remained in local hands, many other parts of the educational enterprise began to respond to nationalizing tendencies.

In this essay Clarence J. Karier explores the interrelations between the emergence of new forms of economic organization and the spirit of science, specialization, and control

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