Psychological Testing in Schools

Excerpts from Cloning of the American Mind a 573-page book by B.K. Eakman,

Huntington House Publishers, 1998

Quote: "It is very desirable that no child escape inspection, because of the importance of discovering every individual of exceptional ability or inability."

Paul Popenoe, editor of the Journal of Heredity, Board member of the American Eugenics Society, and his colleague Roswell Hill Johnson, professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Applied Eugenics, 1926, 370.


Referring to a 1986 newspaper expose': "It took four years, an audit of Pennsylvania's federal funding links to the EQA [Educational Quality Assessment], and a series of threats and counterthreats between federal and Pennsylvania education officials over the particulars of the funding, before state testing authorities finally admitted to the public that the EQA was, in fact, a psychological testing instrument and that it violated several of the seven protected areas under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, passed in 1978, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch." (page 11)


"Meanwhile, sophisticated surveys encompassing a wide variety of personality and opinion data were proliferating at a dizzying rate in classrooms nationwide, covering everything from sexual topics to political proclivities and social attitutes -- drug and alcohol surveys, university studies involving self-reports, health (sex) questionnaires, and so on. A typical example is a 149-item questionnaire for sixth-, ninth-, and twelfth-graders in Minnesota which...encourages children to report on their parents:

  • Has drinking by any family member repeatedly cause family, health, job or legal problems? If so, who?...
  • How often do you get drunk?" (Page 13)



On February 9, 1996,, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Riview's Harrisburg correspondent reported on a plan to do illicit psychological testing on students in three school districts (Shaaler, Gateway, and Duquesne) The National Institutes of Mental Health had made a grant to Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh) for a study of treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. "Parents, including one MIT nuclear engineer, Richard Lopiccolo, produced the documentation, including a protocol summary, showing that a combination of drugs and psychosocial treatments were planned. Neither parents nor school boards had been fully apprised of the scope of this effort; they had to find out for themselves....

...Among the significant aspects of the case was the revelation that psychological data was being mixed not only with students' education records but with medical records....There was no informed consent...Moreover[in the future] there exists a record of a child having been seen and/or treated by a psychiatrist. Insurance companies, potential employers, or even a political candidate might find such information useful, especially considering the content of some of the 60 personally identifiable questions the children had to answer as part of the project." (page 27)


"A now fortunately defunct Baltimore, Maryland, health class survey for seventh-graders boasted multiple choice questions that included every conceivable aspect of sex...arrest record, drug use history; parent's rules and disciplinary methods; and all the old stand-bys about parents' age, work, history, salary, health plan, number of hours spent at home, and education levels." (pages 29-30)


[A testing contract between CTB MacMillan/McGraw-Hill and the State of Maryland] "not only reveals how tests are pre-slugged for identification, but how data tapes are made from the information collected. The contract goes on to describe how 'research studies' are 'embedded' within the tests. Page 3-3 of the document makes clear that the test developers, analysts, and so on, are psychologists. No mention is made of any experts in English or math, science, history, or any other academic subject." (page 65)

"...'[D]istribution' sometimes means (but not always) that a representative from the contracting agency goes to the local school to disseminate, proctor, and collect the tests--which is one reason why teachers frequently are not aware of administrative directions that allude to student identifiers, nor are teachers always aware of the exact contents of the test itself." (page 65)