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Lindquist, Everet Franklin
(June 4, 1901–May 13, 1978)

—educator, research engineer, and pioneer in the field of standardized educational mea surement—was born in Gowrie, Iowa, to Jonas and Hannah Lindquist. He received a B.A. from Augustana College in 1922; taught at Mascoutah High School in Illinois until 1925; took graduate work in mathematical physics at the University of Chicago; and earned a Ph.D. from the State University of Iowa in 1927. He married Marguerite Liebig of Mascoutah in 1927. They had one daughter, Louise.

    What became generally known as the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) began in 1929 when Lindquist, under the direction of Professor Thomas Kirby at the State University of Iowa, developed a statewide scholastic competition known as the Iowa Academic Meet, which became popularly known as the "Brain Derby."The Brain Derby was designed for high schools across the state and became very popular within just a few years. Lindquist and his associates soon concluded that the testing program could be broadened to include children at lower grade levels, and the tests could also be used for educational guidance, individualization of instruction, and evaluation of instruction rather than just for its competitive aspects. As a result, from 1931 to 1942 they developed the Iowa Every-Pupil Achievement Tests.

    A cornerstone accomplishment came in 1935 with the introduction of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) for grades six through eight. Its immediate success across the state led to extension of the program to grades three through five in 1940. In 1942 the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (ITED) were implemented. The ITED were characterized by a series of new features: the basic purpose was to facilitate the individualization of instruction and guidance; emphasis was on general intellectual skills and abilities, understanding of broad concepts, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills; the individual tests were standardized and scaled to yield highly comparable scores; test scoring was done in Iowa City (previously, teachers graded the tests at their own schools and reported results to Iowa City); and each participating school was required to spend 20 minutes at each testing occasion trying out new test items for future tests.

    The proliferation of the use of these tests across Iowa and then increasingly across the country soon began to challenge the ability of staff in Iowa City to grade the sheer volume of tests. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Lindquist and many of his associates began to work on possible electronic means of dealing with this volume. In 1953 they established the Measurement Research Center, which featured a newly designed electronic scoring machine. The first machine was able to score 4,000 sheets per hour, a phenomenal improvement over the existing system. Within a few years a series of improved machines raised scanning ability to 40,000 sheets per hour, and by the time Lindquist retired in 1969, scanning ability was up to 100,000 sheets per hour.

    The success of these testing programs led to the development of other major tests and test agencies. During World War II, after the U.S. Armed Forces Institute (USAFI) was organized, Lindquist developed the USAFI Tests of General Educational Development (GED), which is used today for both military personnel and workers in government and private industry. In 1957 the ITED and GED were used as building blocks to develop the Qualifying Test of the National Merit Scholarship Program.

    In 1959 another major spin-off of the ITP was achieved with the launching of the American College Testing Program (ACT). The vast increase in college admissions after World War II stimulated demand for precollege admissions testing. The ACT was designed as a test of the student's general educational development and could be used with other criteria to predict student success at the college level.

    In conjunction with his activities in test development, Lindquist carried a teaching and research load in the State University of Iowa College of Education. He published A First Course in Statistics (1938) and a study manual to accompany it, as well as Statistical Analysis in Educational Research (1940) and Design and Analysis of Research in Education and Psychology (1953.) He also established the Iowa Education Information Center in 1964. In 1967 he received the American Educational Research Association Phi Delta Kappa Award. Upon his death in 1978, Lindquist donated his body to the University of Iowa.
Sources Lindquist wrote a wonderfully concise history of his career in "The Iowa Testing Programs-A Retrospective View," Education 91 (September–October 1970), 4, 6–23, in which he was modest about his accomplishments and gave lavish credit to his many associates for their contributions to the development of the testing programs. A broader, more detailed history of the development of the educational testing programs is Julia Peterson, The Iowa Testing Programs: The First Fifty Years (1983). See also Margie Hahn Fletcher, "The Measuring Place," Iowan 25 (Summer 1977), 13–19; Des Moines Register, 2/17/1967; and Iowa City Press Citizen, 5/13/1978 and 5/15/1978.
Contributor: David Holmgren