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Are you literate by 1918 standards? Take this test & find out


The Devens Literacy Test was used to test U.S. Army recruits during World War I. Slate's Rebecca Onion notes that the test is named after Camp Devens in Ayer, Mass., where it was developed by psychologist E.A. Shaw.

As historian Daniel J. Kevles writes, American psychologists found the mass recruitment of soldiers during WWI to be a great opportunity for their relatively new profession. Scientists who believed in new methods of intelligence testing excitedly proposed to use the tests to sort recruits into military occupations.

The tests start with simple questions and progress in difficulty to differentiate between uneducated and college-educated soldiers.

How to score the Devens Test: 

Subtract the number of wrong answers (or—in this case—questions that you find unanswerable) from the ones you think you got right. Score below 6: Illiterate; 6-20: Primary literacy; 21-25: Grammar school literacy; 26-30: Junior high school; 31-35: Senior high school; 36-42: College level.

Here's a sample:

How would you score? Click here to take the test!


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