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Thanks, Thomas Edison, For The Light Bulb, Phonograph and…the SAT?

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Did you know that a test created by Thomas Edison inspired the creation of the not particularly useful SAT?

I didn’t, until I saw a short piece in the Mind Hack blog today. That post led to a much more descriptive article that appeared in the New Scientist magazine titled 163 ways to lose your job.

Edison apparently developed his ‘Brainmeter” test to evaluated the intelligence of job-seekers at his lab, and the test’s administrator went on to help create the SAT.

Both the blog post and article were pretty intriguing, but neither provided a link to the actual test. I found it at the National Park Service Edison National Historic site website, and you can take the test there (scroll down a bit).

How can this information be useful in today’s classroom, you might ask? Well, I have to admit the primary reason I’m writing this post is because I just found it interesting. However, even though the test isn’t accessible to English Language Learners, it might be fascinating to see what students might come-up with if they were asked to develop questions that they think would be effective in evaluating a person’s intelligence, and what criteria that might use to write them.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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