Aims of teachers' psychometry: Intelligence testing in Barcelona (1920)

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After World War I, members of the teaching profession in Spain were interested in appropriating psychological measurement and bringing it within the expertise of their occupational field, with the intention of upgrading their profession. As professionals devoted to the child, educators attempted to explore the infantile psyche using intelligence tests, with the intention of making scientific contributions to the field of psychology. In the present article we take as a key event one particular application enacted by a Catalan teacher, and insert that case study into the complex local scientific and educational context. It was a context in which the professional interests of teachers competed with those of school physicians, psychologists, and pedologists, at a time when important changes in pedagogical methods and school systems were under way. In the hand of teachers, intelligence testing was mainly seen as a malleable method on which to base daily educational practice on a more individualized and scientific basis. The historical analysis of the case turned out to be instrumental in the identification of common features and particularities attributable to specific local needs. In a society where public schooling competed with private schools, the results of mental testing were used to demonstrate publicly the excellent intellectual level of children attending a public graded primary school in Barcelona. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-222
JournalHistory of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Intelligence testing
  • Mental measurement
  • Pedagogy
  • Psychopedagogy
  • Théodore simon


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