3. Comprehension, Third Degree

The procedure is the same as in previous comprehension questions. Each question may be repeated once or twice, but its form must not be changed. No explanations are permissible.


Question a (If you have broken something). Satisfactory responses are those suggesting either restitution, or apology, or both. Confession is not satisfactory unless accompanied by apology. The following are satisfactory: " Buy a new one." "Pay for it." "Give them something instead of it." "Have my father mend it." "Apologize."

Unsatisfactory: - "Tell them I did it." "Go tell my mother." "Feel sorry." "Be ashamed." "Pick it up," etc. Mere confession accounts for 20% of all failures.

Question b (In danger of being tardy). Satisfactory: - The expected response is, "Hurry," "Walk faster," or something to that effect.

Unsatisfactory: - "Go to the principal." "Tell the teacher I couldn't help it." "Have to get an excuse." Lack of success results oftenest from failure to get the exact shade of meaning conveyed by the question. It is implied, of course, that something is to be done at once to avoid tardiness; but the subject of dull comprehension may suggest a suitable thing to do in case tardiness has been incurred.

Question c (Playmate hits you). Satisfactory responses are only those which suggest either excusing or overlooking the act. These ideas are variously expressed as follows: "I would excuse him " (about half of all the correct answers). "I would say ' yes ' if he asked my pardon." "I would say it was all right." "I would take it for a joke."

Unsatisfactory responses are all those not of the above two types; as: "I would hit them back." "I would not hit them back, but I would get even some other way." "Tell them not to do it again."

4. Giving Similarities Of Two Things. Procedure

Say to the child: "I am going to name two things which are alike in some way, and I want you to tell me how they are alike. Wood and coal: in what way are they alike?" Proceed in the same manner with: An apple and a peach. Iron and silver. A ship and an automobile. After the first pair the formula may be abbreviated to "In what way are . . . and . . . alike? " It is often necessary to insist a little if the child is silent or says he does not know, but in doing this we must avoid supplementary questions and suggestions. In giving the first pair, for example, it would not be permissible to ask such additional questions as, "What do you use wood for? What do you use coal for? And now, how are wood and coal alike?" This is really putting the answer in the child's mouth. It is only permissible to repeat the original question in a persuasive tone of voice, and perhaps to add: "I'm sure you can tell me how . . . and . . . are alike," or something to that effect. When a difference is given, instead of a similarity, we say: "No, I want you to tell me how they are alike.

In what way are . . . and . . . alike? "


The test is passed if a likeness is given in two out of four comparisons. We accept as satisfactory any real likeness, whether fundamental or superficial, though, of course, the more essential the resemblance, the better indication it is of intelligence. The following are samples of satisfactory and unsatisfactory answers:

(a) Wood and coal. Satisfactory: - "Both keep you warm." "Both are used for fuel." "Both are vegetable matter."

Unsatisfactory: - Most frequent is the persistent giving of a difference instead of a similarity. This accounts for a little over half of all the failures. About half of the remainder are cases of inability to give any response. Incorrect statements with regard to color are rather common. Sample failures of this type are: "Both are black," or "Both the same color." Other failures are: "Both are dirty on the outside; " "You can't break them; " "Coal burns better; " "Wood is lighter than coal," etc.

(b) An apple and a peach. Satisfactory: - "Both are round." "Both the same shape." "They are about the same color." "Both nearly always have some red on them." "Both good to eat."

Unsatisfactory: - "Both taste the same." "Both have a lot of seeds." "Both have a fuzzy skin." "An apple is bigger than a peach." "One is red and one is white," etc.

(c) Iron and silver. Satisfactory: - "Both are metals " (or mineral). "Both come out of the ground." "Both cost money." "Both are heavy."

Unsatisfactory: - "Both thin " (or thick). "Sometimes they are the same shape." "Both the same color."

(d) A ship and an automobile. Satisfactory: - "Both means of travel." "Both go." "You ride in them." "Both take you fast." "They both use fuel."

Unsatisfactory: - "Both black" (or some other color). "Both very big." "They are made alike." "Both run on wheels."