A large school divides its members into many different grades or classes, and has a standard of attainment for entering each, or for leaving to enter a higher one. Written examinations are the tests most used to this end, because they are the easiest applied to large groups. The entrance examinations which the eastern colleges have required, with much cooperation among themselves to secure uniformity, have had a great influence on our entire educational system; they have been a sort of pivot about which everything else turned. Then there are different ranks of teachers, with a set of qualifications for each rank.

Within the last ten years standard tests have been developed for the elementary schools which bear some resemblance to the Binet-Simon intelligence tests. An investigator works out a set of exercises in a given subject, like arithmetic, and tries them on a large number of children. He then develops standard methods of scoring the results so that different workers scoring the same papers would arrive at the same results. The tests may then be used to compare the attainments of different classes, teachers, schools, or systems of schools, or by the same class or teacher or school at different times.

. . . No one would dispute the fact that human life is a deeper and more complicated subject than can be probed by quantitative tests; nevertheless, when the more subtle components have been excluded, there remain some essential elements in education which are purely objective and that these can be measured with reasonable exactness there is no reason to doubt. Because some things of supreme importance cannot be included in this category is no valid argument for rejecting the entire plan. We measure a man in terms of achievement; to apply to the schools the same test, the ability to produce results, is only logical and reasonable. The spiritual side of education is real and in all probability defies measurement, but a complete education includes elements other than the spiritual, and so far as they are present they can be measured. ... - National Society for the Study of Education, Fifteenth Yearbook, p. 69, D. C. Bliss, "The Application of Standard Measurements to School Administration."

The significance of these new standards of measurement for our educational service is indeed large. Their use means nothing less than the ultimate transformation of school work from guesswork to scientific accuracy; the elimination of favoritism and politics from the work; the ending forever of the day when a personal or a political enemy of a superintendent can secure his removal, without regard to the efficiency of the school system he has built up; the substitution of well-trained experts as superintendents of schools for the old successful practitioners; and the changing of school supervision from a temporary or a political job, for which little or no preparation need be made, to that of a highly skilled piece of social engineering. . . .

. . . The underlying purpose of the new movement has been the creation of such standardized scales for measuring school work, and for comparing the accomplishments of different schools and groups of schoolchildren, as to give to both supervisors and teachers definite aims in the imparting of instruction. Instead of continuing to teach without definite measuring-sticks, and to assign tasks and trust to luck and the growth process in children for results, which is comparable to the old-time luck-and-chance farming, it has been attempted to evolve standards of measurement which will do for education what has been done for agriculture as a result of the application of scientific knowledge and scientific methods to farming. - Monroe, De Voss, and Kelly, Educational Tests and Measurements, pp. vi, vii, Cubberley, "Editor's Introduction."