• Robert L. Thorndike Columbia University


The five articles in this issue provide a dramatic illustration of the wide diversity of conditions under which psychologists concerned with the assessment of children undertake research and provide service. One is amazed that Dr. Saigh found it possible to gather and analyze data in strife-torn Lebanon, and his report provides testimony to the devotion with which he pursued his endeavours under most difficult conditions. In the People's Republic of China, also, political strife and turmoil have hardly provided a fertile soil for assessment research. By contrast, the United States is swarming with school psychologists, sorne providing service in the schools and some who are situated in universities where research and development is encouraged and supported. Though the authors of the articles in this issue tend quite generally to affirm that assessment should be comprehensive, synthesizing information from a range of different sources, it is clear that the central concern of assessment in the educational context for most countries, and especially of assessment research, has been and will continue to be appraisal of the general level of the pupil's cognitive functioning. Assessment research on instruments or procedures can be directed at any one of three levels: (1) development of an instrument or procedure and internal analysis of its properties, (2) studies of the effectiveness of the instrument or procedure as a predictor of significant educational outcomes, or (3) studies of the usefulness of the instrument or procedure in guiding interventions to improve learning. We may consider each of these in turn, first as they apply to psychometric type instruments that yield one or more scores and then as they relate to less structured approaches such as observation and interview procedures.

Author Biography

Robert L. Thorndike, Columbia University

Robert L. Thorndike, Professor Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University, received his higher education at Wesleyan University (1931) and Columbia University (1935). He was Professor of Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1935 to 1976. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Psychology Program (1942-46), retiring with the rank of Major. He has served as president of the Psychometric Society, Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association (Divisions 5 and 19). Among his many publications are: Personnel Selection (1949); Concepts of Over- and Underachievement (1964); Applied Psychometrics (1962); co-author of Evaluation and Measurement in Psychology and Education (with Elizabeth Hagen), 1977; lO,OOO Careers (1959); and The Cognitive Ability Tests (Form 4) (1985). Professeur émérite au Teachers College de l'Université Columbia, Robert L. Thorndike a fait ses études supérieures à l'Université Wesleyan (1931) et à Columbia (1935). Il a été professeur de psychologie au Teachers Collage de l'Université Columbia de 1935 à 1976. Il a servi dans l'Armée de l'air américaine dans le cadre du programme de psychologie (1934-1946) et en est sorti avec le rang de major. Il a été président de la Psychometric Society, de l'Educational Research Association, de l'Ameriean Psychological Association (divisions 5 et 19). Parmi ses nombreuses publications, signalons Personnel Selection (1949), Concepts of Over- and Underachievement(1964), Applied Psychometrics (1962); il est co-auteur de Evaluation and Measurement in Psychology and Education (avec Elizabeth Hagen), (1977), de 10,000 Careers (1959) et de The Cognitive Ability Tests (formulaire 4) (1985).




How to Cite

Thorndike, R. L. (1990). INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH ON SCHOOL-BASED ASSESSMENT. McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 25(001). Retrieved from