Comprehension First Degree
PROCEDURE. After getting the child's attention, say: "_What must you do
when you are sleepy?_" If necessary the question may be repeated a
number of times, using a persuasive and encouraging tone of voice. No
other form of question may be substituted. About twenty seconds may be
allowed for an answer, though as a rule subjects of 4 or 5 years usually
answer quite promptly or not at all.
Proceed in the sam
way with the other two questions: "_What ought you
to do when you are cold?_" "_What ought you to do when you are hungry?_"
SCORING. There must be _two correct responses out of three_. No one form
of answer is required. It is sufficient if the question is comprehended
and given a reasonably sensible answer. The following are samples of
(a) "Go to bed." "Go to sleep." "Have my mother get me ready for
bed." "Lie still, not talk, and I'll soon be asleep."
(b) "Put on a coat" (or "cloak," "furs," "wrap up," etc.).
"Build a fire." "Run and I'll soon get warm." "Get close to
the stove." "Go into the house," or, "Go to bed," may possibly
deserve the score _plus_, though they are somewhat doubtful
and are certainly inferior to the responses just given.
(c) "Eat something." "Drink some milk." "Buy a lunch." "Have my
mamma spread some bread and butter," etc.
With the comprehension questions in this year it is nearly always easy
to decide whether the response is acceptable, failure being indicated
usually either by silence or by an absurd or irrelevant answer. One
8-year-old boy who had less than 4-year intelligence answered all three
questions by putting his finger on his eye and saying: "I'd do that."
"Have to cry" is a rather common incorrect response.
REMARKS. The purpose of these questions is to ascertain whether the
child can comprehend the situations suggested and give a reasonably
pertinent reply. The first requirement, of course, is to understand the
language; the second is to tell how the situation suggested should be
The question may be raised whether a given child might not fail to
answer the questions correctly and yet have the intelligence to do the
appropriate thing if the real situation were present. This is at least
conceivable, but since it would not be practicable to make the subject
actually cold, sleepy, or hungry in order to observe his behavior, we
must content ourselves with suggesting a situation to be imagined. It
probably requires more intelligence to tell what one ought to do in a
situation which has to be imagined than to do the right thing when the
real situation is encountered.
The comprehension questions of this year had not been standardized until
the Stanford investigation of 1913-14. Questions _a_ and _b_ were
suggested by Binet in 1905, while _c_ is new. They make an excellent
test of 4-year intelligence.