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In the early twentieth century, the French psychologists Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon developed a test of the intelligence that could be given to individual children by properly trained staff. Psychologist Lewis Terman of Stanford University developed a form of this test – still involving manipulation of objects and speaking to children individually - called the Stanford-Binet scale. A graduate student of Terman, Arthur S. Otis (1886-1964) prepared a written form of the test that could be given to groups of children. It was tried in a few schools before the United States entered the fighting in World War I. At that time, Otis joined in the efforts of Terman and other American psychologists to use psychological testing to examine soldiers entering the U.S. Army. Otis worked with the Army Sanitary Corps and then the office of the Surgeon General. Some of his written tests were used in a battery of tests called the Army Alpha.
At the end of the war, Otis returned to Stanford, completing his PhD. in 1920. The following year he joined the publisher World Book Company (not the publishers of the World Book encyclopedia) in Yonkers, New York, where he became editor for tests and mathematics. He held this post for some twenty-five years, also working for the federal government again at the time of World War II.
World Book published the Otis Group Intelligence Scale in 1920 (see MA.316371.050). Two years later, it published the Otis Self-Administering Tests of Mental Ability. For examples of the version of this test that was designed for high school students and college freshmen see 1989.0710.03 and 1979.0710.04. By 1937, when this manual of directions was published, Otis had modified these tests and offered them as quick-scoring mental ability tests. The Alpha Test was for students in grades one through four, the Beta Test for students in grades four through six, and the Gamma Test for high school and college students. This if the manual of directions for the Gamma Test, a test which came in forms AM and BM. It was published by World Book Company, Otis’s employer.
Siegel, Eleanor Jane, "Arthur Sinton Otis and the American Mental Testing Movement", PhD. Dissertation, Miami University, 1992.
Paul A. Gade, “Profile: Arthur S. Otis (1886-1964),” The Military Psychologist, Summer 2018, 33 #2, pp. 25-27.