Lewis Terman

Born on a farm in central Indiana (12th of 14 kids), Lewis M. Terman (1877-1956) began his education in a 1-room school and ended with a Ph.D. from Clark University. Suffering from tuberculosis, he took became a school principal in San Bernadino, California (for its warm climate) and taught at a local teacher’s college (which later became UCLA).

In 1910, Terman accepted a position at Stanford, where he stayed until 1942. It was at Stanford that Terman learned of Binet and Simon’s intelligence test. Finding the scoring uneven, Terman revised and Americanized the test. In the 1916 revision, known as Stanford-Binet, Terman coined the term “intelligence ratio,” and suggested it be multiplied by 100 for the “IQ.”

Terman embarked on a longitudinal study of 1470 gifted children (average IQ was 151; average age was 11). Contrary to the popular that gifted children end up losers (“early ripe, early rot”), he found that most became college graduates, and many obtained advanced degrees.

To popularize the view of gifted-is-good, Terman helped establish a TV game show (Quiz Kids) to show how good looking, well mannered and friendly intelligent children were. Fortunately, the revelation that the show was rigged didn’t occur until after Terman’s death.


2 Responses to “Lewis Terman”

  1. joan dolan on February 16th, 2010 1:16 pm

    Terman got his best information from Clark Univercity, Worcester, Massachusetts

  2. kltangen on February 17th, 2010 4:51 am

    That’s true. Clark was where Terman got his PhD, and where he did his first work on intelligence.

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