Measuring the Mind

Measuring the Mind : Education and Psychology in England c.1860-c.1990

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The central claim of Measuring the Mind is that, contrary to popular opinion, the psychologists who dominated educational policy-making between the wars were educational progressives and political radicals. They argued that education should reflect the requirements of children rather than the convenience of adults, and regarded intelligence testing as an instrument of child-centred education. These psychologists owed their political inspiration to the meritocratic ideal and lost popularity with the waning of this ideal after the war. Four main themes dominate the discussion: the emergence of educational psychology as a distinct discipline; the recent history of ideas about children's mental development; the role of experts in formulating educational policy; and the rise and fall of the measurement of merit.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 460 pages
  • 154 x 228 x 26mm | 680g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Paperback Version ed.
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521026180
  • 9780521026185

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Studying childhood; 3. The invention of educational psychology; 4. Cyril Burt and the psychology of individual differences; 5. Susan Isaacs and the psychology of child development; 6. The structure and status of a profession; 7. Mental measurement and the meritocratic ideal; 8. The psychometric perspective; 9. Psychologists as policy-makers, 1924-44; 10. The measurement of merit anatomised; 11. Equality and community versus merit; 12. Egalitarianism triumphant; 13. Cyril Burt and the politics of an academic reputation; 14. Equality and human nature; 15. The measurement of merit revived; 16. Conclusion; Glossary; Selective bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'... a gem of a book ... has the mark of real intellectual distinction ...'. Nature "Adrian Wooldridge's insightful and detailed, and sympathetic, account is an important addition to the literature. This is a book that I really enjoyed reading." Canadian Journal of History "Measuring the Mind fills an important gap in the literature by treating educational psychology, not as a self-contained specialism, but as part of the social history of ideas....This topic was ripe for thorough treatment, and Wooldridge executes the task with distinction, marshalling his extensive material with skill and telling the story with verve." Robert B. Joynson, Times Literary Supplement "This is a book that actually delivers rather more than it says as much about the opponents of educational psychology as the psychometricians themselves." Geoffrey Sherington, Albion "One of the many strengths of this excellent book is the way it deftly merges the history of a profession -- educational psychology -- with the social, political, and cultural transformation of England from the late Victorian years to the present....Wooldridge has written an engaging, richly rewarding, fair-minded book that is as valuable to social and intellectual historians as it is to historians of education." American Historical Review "...I enjoyed reading this book and learned much from it." Roy Lowe, History of Education Quarterly "Measuring the Mind enlightens because it reveals some of the complex links between the emergence of psychometrics as a profession, theories about intellectual development, and, most importantly, the influence of psychometric theories upon the formulation of educational policy in England during this century." Joel Michell, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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