The high-stakes sorting of children into remedial education

Posted on

We welcome our newest member, Christian Ydesen, University of Aalborg and IASH-SPS Visiting fellow, who will discuss his paper on:

The high-stakes sorting of children into remedial education at the municipality of Frederiksberg from 1930-1943, based on standardised intelligence testing


24th of February, at 12:00
in conference room 2.15, CMB



His paper investigates the rise of educational psychology in Denmark from the 1920s onward, and it is the very first case of high-stakes standardised intelligence tests being institutionalised and systematically applied in the Danish public school system. A clear high-stakes element can be discerned in this case. Intelligence testing was a significant component in the sorting and documenting of children, specifically in the selection of “disabled” bodies, transferred from “normal school” into “remedial school”. The institutionalised practice of intelligence testing at Frederiksberg culminated in 1934 with the employment of the first educational psychologist in Scandinavia, Henning Emil Meyer (1885-1967). Because of Meyer’s energetic influence, the educational psychology practice at Frederiksberg came to function as a role model for establishing such practices countrywide in the ensuing years. The Frederiksberg case displays a complex and somewhat paradoxical course of events leading up to the embedding of high-stakes standardised intelligence tests – events that include international, national, and local dimensions. Temporally, the case treats the practice of employing high-stakes intelligence tests at Frederiksberg in the period between 1930 when Meyer began his educational psychology work at Frederiksberg, and 1943 when Henning Meyer, a Jew, fled to Sweden in response to Nazi pogroms in Denmark.

A paper will be circulated few days in advance of meeting , so as to allow more time for discussion – due to room booking restrictions, the meeting will last for an hour 12:00- 13:00.

We would love to see as many of you there as possible!

Comments are closed.