Howard Knox (1885-1949): Pioneer of performance tests

Department of Human Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, United Kingdom

Howard Andrew Knox served as an assistant surgeon in the United States Public Health Service between April 1912 and May 1916, working for most of this period at the immigration station at Ellis Island, New York. In response to public disquiet that the physicians at Ellis Island were failing to prevent mentally retarded people from entering the country, and also in response to their own dissatisfaction with Binet's recently developed intelligence scale, Knox and his colleagues assembled a collection of "performance" tests which did not rely upon verbal skills and which could thus be administered to potential immigrants with little knowledge of the English language. In a series of papers published between September 1913 and April 1914, Knox described these tests and advocated their use as a single scale. The tests were subsequently used both in clinical practice and in educational, psychological, and social research. In this paper, I shall discuss the nature of Knox's work with the Public Health Service and briefly describe what is known about his life before and after his time at Ellis Island.

Session VI -- Twentieth Century
Tuesday, 13 June 2000, 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Fifth Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Providence, Rhode Island, USA