Use of Alpha and Beta Testing in World War I

Use of Alpha and Beta Testing in World War I

  • Submitted By: jeninab
  • Date Submitted: 08/10/2009 5:19 PM
  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 786
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 2144


History of Psychological Assessment
Jenina Bellina
University of Phoenix

Use of Alpha and Beta Testing in World War I
Many scientists believe that individual differences are mainly due to genetic factors and that by using intelligence testing, society could scientifically breed a superior group of people. The Alpha and Beta assessment was carried out by the psychologist Robert Yerkes during WWI; purposed for measuring innate intelligence which was unaffected by culture and educational opportunities. This paper will cover the historical roots of the Alpha and Beta assessment during WWI, its significance, and the impact it has made in the development of psychological testing in the 21st century.
The Alpha and Beta tests were used as measures of assessment for the U. S. Army during WWI in 1917. The U. S. Army needed a way of deciding what sort of advanced training a recruit would receive; Psychologist Robert Yerkes and other psychologist collaborated to develop two versions of a test known as the Army Alpha and Army Beta test. The Alpha test was used to assess literate individuals and the Beta test was used to assess individuals who were low-literate, non-English speaking or non-literate. “Both the Army Alpha and Army Beta were recognized as prototypes for subsequent group-administered cognitive ability tests. Over the course of World War I, some 1.5 million recruits were given tests to identify those who were capable of serving, to classify them into military jobs, and to select those who appeared to be candidates for leadership positions (OSD Pentagon, n.d.).”
Industries, businesses and education recognized potential value for psychological testing after the war. By the year 1974, the Alpha and Beta test was reported to be administered to nearly two million military applicants and high school students, making it the largest volume employment test in the United...

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