Kansas 105

Today’s Trivia (Dec. 29)

We’ve all taken those tests – and, sometimes, hated them.

Those multiple choice tests where you fill in the dots.

Back in 1914, there was a teacher shortage.

Although Edward Thorndike, a psychologist at Columbia University in New York invented the theory of this type of testing; it was a Kansan who first tested and implemented it. Frederick Kelly, director of the Training School at the Kansas State Normal School (now Emporia State University) used the Kansas Silent Reading Test. He went on to become the dean of education at the University of Kansas.

The theory behind the multiple choice test was inspired by Henry Ford’s assembly-line production. Kelly was looking for a way to show uniform results in teaching methods. He would write, “Nothing is more fundamentally important in our school work than the development of this ability.”

In her book, “Where Did Standardized Testing Come From Anyway,” Cathy N. Davidson offers this sample from the Kansas Reading Test:

“Below are given the names of four animals. Draw a line around the name of each animal that is useful on the farm:

Cow, tiger, rat, wolf.”

So successful was Kelly’s test, it was expanded and used a few years later on a large-scale basis to assess the intelligence of World War I military recruits.

Question: How many students in North America take multiple choice tests a year: (A) Five (B) 700,000 (C) 1,320,568 (D) half a billion (E) All the above.

Beccy Tanner

Post your answer today at Kansas.com/Kansas150 for a chance to win this month’s prize.

Don’t forget: The contest Saturday.

Answer to Wednesday’s question: Governor Edward Hoch and his daughter helped launch the battleship Kansas in 1905. A staunch prohibitionist, instead of breaking a bottle of champaign over the ship’s bow they instead broke a bottle of Kansas spring water. The captain of the ship, reported to be superstitious, later redid the action, using champaign.

Check back in this spot Friday for the answer to today’s question.

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