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The Lost Black ScholarResurrecting Allison Davis in American Social Thought$
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David A. Varel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226534886

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226534916.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Rethinking Intelligence

Rethinking Intelligence

(p.172) Chapter 8 Rethinking Intelligence
The Lost Black Scholar

David A. Varel

University of Chicago Press

The eighth chapter evaluates Davis’s work on intelligence-testing, which marked the culmination of his social thought and the height of his social influence. In 1948, Harvard invited Davis to give its prestigious Inglis Lecture in education, which Davis then did and had published as Social-Class Influences upon Learning (1948). This rich, compact volume synthesized Davis’s research from the previous two decades, but it emphasized his latest findings from the project on intelligence testing that he spearheaded at the University of Chicago. Davis and colleagues such as Robert Havighurst developed the first quantitative studies of the cultural biases within intelligence tests, which they showed to be discriminatory against lower-class people. Davis’s findings faced stiff resistance from psychologists such as eugenicist Henry E. Garrett and testing companies like the Educational Testing Service. Yet Davis’s iconoclastic work nevertheless galvanized educators and school boards all across the country to revise or abolish their use of the traditional tests. Even more, Davis’s work helped initiate a national debate regarding issues of social class, ability, fairness, and opportunity within the United States, which helped to foment major changes during the social movements of the 1960s.

Keywords:   intelligence testing, Social Class Influences upon Learning, Robert Havighurst, cultural bias, class, Henry Garrett, Educational Testing Service

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