Classifying children: a historical perspective on testing and measurement

Simonetta Polenghi, Antonio Fco. Canales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


At the end of the 19th century, children were increasingly seen as measurable and classifiable objects of study on which a scientific approach to education could be based. Two factors fed into the development of this approach: confidence in scientific methods and the expansion of national education systems. Thus, there emerged a confluence of power and science that led to the measurement and classification of children in the name of an efficiently organized social system. This merging of reason, science and efficiency in the goal of classifying children came at a time when the old unitary school system was being declared outdated and coherent teaching units through which scientific methods of learning could be applied were being developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Volumev. 55
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Catholicism
  • Education
  • Mental disability
  • Mental testing
  • Psychology


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