If scholastic aptitude and ability could be objectively determined by measuring people's heights, there would be no need for this article. But aptitude and ability cannot be measured so simply. Their assessment is at best tentative and fallible.

1.
One person to whom I showed this question argued that D was superior to B because it contained B by implication, “light of different wave lengths” referring to the “white light” mentioned in the stem of the question. If ETS wishes to argue along these lines, I am ready to discuss the faulty English of answer D and show that the implication is not valid.
2.
Banesh Hoffmann, “The Tyranny of Multiple‐Choice Tests, Harper's Magazine, March, 1961, p. 37. This article will here be referred to as “Harper's”.
3.
See, for example, (a) Banesh Hoffmann, “‘Best Answers’ or Better Minds”, American Scholar, 1959, p. 195,
and (b) the published correspondence regarding (a) between Henry Chauncey, President of the Educational Testing Service, and myself, ibid. p. 538–9. Item (b) was preceded by more extensive, unpublished correspondence between members of ETS and myself.
4.
“Explanation of Multiple‐Choice Tests”, April, 1961, obtainable on request, and without charge, from Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J.
5.
By weighing, that is; for it can certainly be measured by determining the amount of energy released and dividing by c2.
6.
For example, it says “the photoelectric effect is exhibited…if…an electron is so loosely bound that visible light provides enough energy to free that electron…”, and, later, “…of these two [potassium and lithium] the element that shows the photoelectric effect is potassium.”
7.
Note, for example, the context of the sentence “Response B, the accepted response‐is based on this reasoning”. Note, too, the words: “He reasons that if B is the cause of the photoelectric effect and if D is the cause of B, then D must be the cause of this effect,” “If D does not ‘cause’ B, it can hardly be said to ‘cause’ the photoelectric effect”, and “The other responses cited by Dr. Hoffmann as ‘causes’ of the effect….”
8.
This is clear from the repeated references to these elements in the question and the answers, not to mention the implications of the phrase “the valence electron” in the wanted answer, B.
9.
Transcript of THE OPEN MIND, April 2, 1961, NBC Television “How Good is Educational Testing?” See page 4.
10.
See reference 9, pages 17–19.
11.
See the discussion of these tests in Harper's, and the letter from NMSC about it in the May 1961 issue of Harper's Magazine, where, in its only apparent response to this point, NMSC makes the correct but misleading statement, “We use two tests, prepared by different testing agencies. But we also use students' school records, records of accomplishments outside the classroom, and the judgments of school officials. Finally, all of this information is evaluated not by a machine (although some persons believe it should be), but by experienced, skilled educators who make the actual selection of the National Merit Scholars.”
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.