A Study of Error: A Summary and Evaluation of Methods Used in Six Years of Study of the Scholastic Aptitude Test of the College Entrance Examination Board

By Carl C. Brigham | Go to book overview

PREFACE

When this book was first projected, certain experiments were with typesetting machines to obtain estimates of the probable cost. As a result of these experiments it was felt that the adaptation of the nature and amount of statistical and tabular matter to commercial machine processes would place a serious limitation on the extent of the work, which is in essence a detailed report of answers to test items. It was therefore decided to set up all new material on the typewriter and to reproduce the whole by a photolithographic process. The final typing has been done by Miss Betty Garfinkel, the plates have been prepared by Miss Beatrice Shinn, and the editorial work has been done by Mr. C. H. Blatchford, Jr. The writer wishes to express his indebtedness to them for their invaluable assistance.

This volume contains the appraisal by one individual of the work of many different individuals. Some parts are personal and others impersonal. The first two chapters are theoretical and hence personal, for theory is highly personal as contrasted with the impersonal observations of science. Theories are found in the writings of certain men -- facts are found by repeated observations.

The first chapter consists almost entirely of excerpts from the writings of Titchener and Dewey whose antithetical positions the writer has sought to exploit in order to bring the central problem into relief. Spearman is found to occupy both positions. Ogden and Richards formulated an approach from a point of observation analogous to that of Dewey. A very natural extension of the formulation by Ogden and Richards leads to the point of view towards tests and test results presented in this book. The second chapter continues the theoretical discussion but comes closer to grips with the immediate problem in the work of Lorimer who follows Dewey. The writer then attempts to lift the whole problem out of the realm of theory into the world of observation. The succeeding chapters explore various types of test material with observational techniques.

Since theory is only to be found in utterances, vocal or written, and stays put better when written, the writer wishes to express his obligations to various publishers and editors who have willingly coöperated in granting permission to quote freely from certain texts and articles, specifically as follows: to Karl M. Dallembach, editor of the American Journal of Psychology, for permission to quote from E. Jacobson article on "Meaning and Understanding" ( 1911), and E. B. Titchener article "Description vs. Statement of Meaning" ( 1912); to D. Appleton and Company for permission to quote from H. L. Hollingworth's "The Psychology of Thought"; to Henry Holt and Company for permission

-VII-

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