THE Bureau of Educational Reference and Research of the University was established as a unit of the Department of Education in 1919-20. At that time it was known as the Bureau of Tests and Measurements, but in 1921, with the establishment of the School of Education, the name was changed. The purposes of the Bureau are to aid the school authorities of the state in the proper selection and use of mental and educational tests and in the practical application of scientific methods to schoolroom procedure, to summarize research activities, and to disseminate information concerning them.
Guy M. Whipple (Brown '97, Ph.D. Cornell '00), the first Director of the Bureau, was succeeded in September, 1921, by Clifford Woody (Indiana '08, Ph.D. Columbia '16). There have been two assistant directors: Walter G. Bergman (Greenville '22, Ph.D. Michigan '29) from 1925 to 1929, and Louis W. Keeler ('00, Ph.D. '29) from 1929 until his death in 1939. Both directors held teaching positions in the School of Education and devoted about one-half time to the activities of the Bureau. The assistant directors have divided their time similarly.
The Bureau has been partly self-supporting. Although the salaries of the small staff have been paid from University Page 1101funds, supplementary funds have been provided by outside agencies. The expense of designated investigations has been met by a percentage allowed by publishing companies for distributing standard tests and instruments of measurement, and through the sale of published monographs, bulletins, and other types of materials.
The Bureau established the policy of directing research activities desired by outside agencies on the condition that those agencies provide funds to meet the expense of the investigations and assume responsibility for publishing the results. By 1940 several such investigations had been completed for the Michigan Education Association, as well as others for the American Classical League, the American and Canadian Committees of Modern Languages, the National Society of College Teachers of Education, and the boards of education in various Michigan towns and cities.
In contributing to publications sponsored by various national organizations, the Bureau has supplied sections for yearbooks of several departments of the National Education Association, the National Society of College Teachers of Education, and the American Educational Research Association, and has prepared several complete monographs for the Michigan State Department of Public Instruction.
One of the services rendered by the Bureau has been that of directing testing programs in which the public schools of Michigan have participated. Participation was relatively slight in the high schools until the programs were sponsored by the Department of High School Principals of the Michigan Education Association. From 1933 to 1940 about 20,000 pupils in approximately two hundred accredited high schools of the state took part. From 1928 to 1931, the Bureau, in co-operation with the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars, carried out a testing program in which the Psychological Examination of the American Council on Education and the Iowa Placement Examinations in English and Mathematics were given to freshmen in Michigan colleges and universities. In addition, the Bureau directed testing programs in the following local units: Grosse Ile, Grass Lake, Saline, Branch County Public Schools, and the Michigan State Public School for dependent children at Coldwater. These local programs differed in that they were financed entirely by the Bureau or were undertaken as training projects in courses in measurements given in the School of Education.
Another service in connection with the testing programs has been the distribution of standardized tests. For a number of years approximately half a million copies of educational and mental tests were distributed annually. From 1923 to 1927 the ratio of educational tests to mental tests was about seven to one. By 1937, although the total distribution had been reduced to about 60,000, the number of the two kinds of tests was approximately equal. For the use of students in the School of Education and other visitors to the Bureau, an exhibit of several hundred of the principal educational and mental tests is constantly maintained.