Chapter 2 - Cooperative, Testing - The Beginnings of a Professional Association

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It was not that Hermann Remmers started out to establish an association of financial aid administrators. It was not that President Edward Charles Elliott of Purdue University foresaw the need to develop an elaborate needs analysis system. But the desire of these two men to use testing as a means of selecting scholarship students at Indiana universities ignited a cooperative effort in Indiana in 1935 which has grown and developed into what we now know as the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association.

Hermann Remmers, a professor of education and psychology at Purdue for almost thirty years, was a man of many interests. His scholarly research and prolific publishing involved him in such diverse interests as evaluating the teaching staff, researching problems in pharmacy teaching, and measuring the effectiveness of the high schools in Indiana in their variety of programs. Purdue emeritus registrar, Nelson Parkhurst, and a man later to play an important role in the selecting of scholars in Indiana, was a student of Remmers. He remembers the professor's unflappable demand for scholarship and his unswerving interest in increasing scholarship in the high schools through scholarship testing of the high school students. 1

In 1931, Remmers organized representatives of the four public institutions in the state to develop the scope and purposes of the State High School Testing Service. In the January, 1943 edition of the Indiana Teacher, Remmers wrote:

. . . organized in 1931, the service has been made available to Indiana Secondary School teachers . . . the present members of the committee responsible for the work of the service are J. E. Grinnell, Dean of Instruction, Indiana State Teachers College; Ralph Noyer, Dean of the College, Ball State Teachers College; Merrill T. Eaton, Professor of Education, Indiana University; and H. H. Remmers, Chairman, Professor of Education and Psychology, Purdue University. 2

And Remmers goes on to say:

. . . the State High School Testing Service for Indiana has an important relationship to the work of educational evaluation in Indiana secondary schools.3

General Assembly Mandates State Scholarships

Since 1852, two scholarships per county were made available to one or more of the state universities by action of the Indiana General Assembly. But these scholarships were chosen by county commissioners or county superintendents and were not under the control of the universities.4 In 1935, however, three legislative actions were taken. One gave Indiana University authority to choose the two scholars per county. On February 16, 1935, a bill was enacted which said:

The Board of Trustees and Faculty of Indiana University shall appoint annually to said university not less than two students or scholars from each county of the state. Such nominations shall be made on the basis of scholarship and superior mental ability.5

Another gave similar authority to the State Teachers Colleges on February 27, 1935.

The State Teachers College Board shall have power to appoint, annually, for matriculation in each of the state's teachers' colleges, Ball State Teachers College, Muncie and Indiana State Teachers College, Terre Haute, not more than two students from each county of this State . . . such qualifications as in the judgment of the board, predicate for such appointees' success as teachers in the public schools of Indiana.6

And on March 9, 1935, similar legislative authority was also given to Purdue. But a distinguishing characteristic of that authority was the specification that:

said appointees shall be based upon such tests, examinations, and records as may be prescribed by the faculty.7 [Emphasis added.]

Because Remmers was at that time so actively engaged in high school student test construction and administration, Nelson Parkhurst suggests that the infusion of the different wording, "based on such tests, examinations," may even have been included because of his persuasion.8

In any event, shortly after the passage of the 1935 legislation, at the suggestion and initiation of President Edward C. Elliott, the four state institutions joined in a common program of (scholarship) selection.9

Cooperation for Testing Scholars

Jean Harvey, later to become Chairman of the Association and an official of the scholarship committee at Purdue, wrote in her History of the Cooperation Among Indiana Colleges and Universities:

Through an informal agreement suggested by Dr. H. H. Remmers of Purdue, the four state institutions of higher education arranged to use the same tests in connection with the selection of State Scholarship recipients . . .

The initial committee was composed of Dr. Ralph Noyer, Ball State Teachers College, Mr. Harry Elder, Indiana State Teachers College, Dr. Wendell Wright, Indiana University and Dr. H. H. Remmers, Purdue University.lO

A university catalog for 1935 of Purdue includes a footnote, disclaiming earlier text saying:

The General Assembly of the State of Indiana, in the session of 1935, passed a bill repealing the act entitled "An Act authorizing the appointment of students to Purdue University, by the commissioners of each county … approved March 12, 1877, and all acts amendatory thereof." Consequently, the statements made above with regard to county appointments are no longer in effect. The bill further provides that the Board of Trustees of Purdue University . . . shall be based upon such tests, examinations . . . a supplementary bulletin will be issued . . . giving full instructions …11

And in a president's report for the 1934-35 session Remmers, director of the Division of Educational Reference, says:

an added function of the Division this year has been work connected with the selection of County Scholarship appointees. 12

The report further stated that this Division's director acted as chairman of the cooperative group.

Harvey's history goes on to state, "the distribution and scoring of the tests was the responsibility each year of one of the [four] institutions, whose scholarship officer acted as chairman of the program." From the first years the chairmanship of the cooperative effort was rotated among the four institutions. Dr. Frank R. Elliott, Director of Admissions at Indiana University from 1937-42, wrote in his report to the President:

Miscellaneous activities of the Director:

Devised and administered first state scholarship coordinated selection program of four state universities and colleges in 1938-39. Serving again as chairman in 1942-43.13

Cooperation among Indiana colleges and universities has been notable throughout their history. Whether to assure region-based educational opportunities for the students of the state, to eliminate redundancy in the availability of different academic disciplines, or just for the sake of accomplishing testing of a student once, rather than many times, the Indiana stance has been one of cooperation rather than competition.

In a meeting of the Indiana Conference on Higher Education held at Purdue University on November 9 and 10, 1961, the Emeritus President of Earlham College, Thomas E. Jones remembered that President William Lowe Bryan of Indiana University had much earlier enunciated his support for public-private college cooperation. In a baccalaureate address at Earlham College in 1903, President Bryan said:

Private education has much to gain, perhaps even more to gain than to lose by cooperation with tax supported institutions. All the colleges, by working together in harmony, cannot afford the young people of Indiana all the facilities they ought to have and so let us unite our forces to reach the goals that together we can attain. 14

At the same 1961 meeting, speaking on this Indiana-style cooperation Herman B Wells, President of Indiana University said:

We need to use every possible opportunity to drive home the fact that the welfare of higher education in Indiana depends on a cooperative effort. It depends on the welfare of each institution in the state and that each institution has the responsibility not only for its own development but also for the development of its neighbors and its colleagues. 15

He went on to quote a poem which;

Mr. Kennedy handed to Mr. Gromyko when they had a discussion a few weeks ago about the troika system. It was entitled The Swan, The Pike and the Crab. It is a Russian poem and Mr. Kennedy handed the poem to Mr. Gromyko in Russian. I shall not read it in Russian, I shall give you a translation.

"When partners with each other don't agree, each project must a failure be, and out of it no profit come, but of sheer vexation. A swan, a pike and crab once took their station in harness and would drag a loaded cart, but when the moment came for them to start they swear, they strain, and yet the cart stands still. What is lacking? The load must, as it seems have been but light. The swan through the clouds takes flight. The pike into the water pulls. The crab keeps backing. Now, which of them was right? Which wrong? Concerns us not, the cart is still upon the self same spot."16

In spite of this long-standing dedication to cooperate, the archrivals Indiana and Purdue could not resist taking friendly jabs at each other on occasion. Correspondence in 1938 between two Indiana University officials speaks of how the testing program could better succeed "if that school in West Lafayette would just pay its fair share."17

During the period from 1935 to 1952, the four state universities were the only participants in the program. Jean Harvey writes:

When the four state colleges and universities were the only participants, tests were purchased and distributed by the institution of the chairman, [this follows the time when tests were actually constructed by professors of the state schools] records were kept of the cost of supplies and the colleges paid the bills at the end of the year on a per capita basis. For a number of years each high school had the privilege of testing without charge two students for each of the four colleges; additional students were tested for a fee of fifty cents each.18

A January, 1939 letter from Frank Elliott to Ward Biddle, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs at Indiana University, says:

If we are to conduct the county scholarship program this year, the money will have to be appropriated as last year, test blanks ordered, announcements printed… the Scholarship Chairmen of the state universities and colleges have met . . . program launched by February 15.19

In a February, 1939 letter to Herman B Wells, the President of Indiana University, Biddle says:

I suggest that $250 be transferred temporarily . . . an estimated $50 will be reimbursed to Indiana University by three other state schools participating . . . since some of the work is being consolidated in order to economize. 20

While the early tests were constructed through the collective efforts of academicians from the four institutions, the 1951-52 year uncovered a number of reports of misuse of scholarship tests, and according to Harvey:

it became evident that a protected test of some type was badly needed. As an interim measure, the Ohio Psychological Test was adopted for 1952-53 through special arrangement with Dr. Ray Wood who was the Director of the Ohio Scholarship Program. In 1953-54 it was decided to use the Ohio Psychological test and a special test developed at Purdue University by Dr. Paul Baker. The same battery was used in 1954-55. In 1955, the scholarship representatives voted to use a battery composed of the School and College Ability Test, and the Natural Science and Social Science subtests of the Cooperative Achievement Tests. 21

Private Colleges Invited to Join in 1952

But a more crucial development in financial aid professionalism happened in 1952 when the State Scholarship Committee voted to invite the private colleges and universities of the state to participate. The four public institution representatives at that time included two from the original group in 1935, Harry Elder of Indiana State and Ralph Noyer of Ball State.

Byron Doenges was appointed in the spring of 1951 as Indiana University's Director of Scholarships and Loans. In the fall of 1951, Doenges, whose undergraduate work was completed at Franklin College and DePauw University, proposed to Jean Harvey, Harry Elder, and Ralph Noyer that Indiana private colleges be included in the Indiana Scholarship Testing Program. His plan at the time was to continue the organizational arrangement in which the four state schools continue to take responsibility for the annual testing with test results and specific college choice information to be sent to the relevant Indiana institution of higher learning irrespective of financial support. The four state institutions in the fall of 1951 approved this concept and the era of cooperation began shortly thereafter.

The chairmanship that had rotated from the beginning continued to rotate among the four public colleges and universities until 1957 when the organization was reorganized and work was begun on a constitution. Donald Fleenor of Indiana Central College became the first private school chairman in the 1959-61 two-year terms.

At the time the private schools were invited into membership, they were already working actively with the public institutions as a sub-group of the Committee on High School-College Cooperation in Indiana. The Committee on High School-College Cooperation (COHSCC) began in 1939. Financial aid as well as admissions matters was discussed in this cooperative group. The Indiana Conference on Higher Education, anticipated by President Bryan in 1903, was begun in 1945. Institutions, which were members of the Indiana Conference on Higher Education, were invited into activity with the COHSCC, later the Indiana Association of College Admissions Counselors, and thus membership in the scholarship-testing group was at first restricted to Conference on Higher Education members. This brought the total membership of the Testing Association to twenty in 1952.

Indiana's Response to Overlap Groups

By this time, in the early to mid-1950's, scholarship "overlap" groups were being formed throughout the country. An overlap group was a group of colleges, a notable one was the Ivy League, which agreed to limit scholarship offers to financial need of the student and further to confer with one another before offering assistance to students who had applied to more than one of their membership. The College Scholarship Service (CSS), which in part developed out of a need to serve these overlap groups, was beginning to fashion its need analysis system.

Indiana's response was two-fold: (1) to endorse the principle of awarding aid according to need as defined by CSS and (2) to develop a first choice system within the scholarship-testing program.

Under the first choice system, each student was asked at the time he or she took the scholarship test to indicate a first choice among Indiana colleges. When the test was graded, the score was keypunched into an IBM card and cards sorted by institution. Rosters of all "first choice" students together with scores on the test were printed and distributed by the scholarship chairman. The colleges were then permitted to offer financial assistance, not to exceed need as determined by CSS, to the students on their list. If a student changed his or her mind or wished to apply for aid at a second institution, the student had to request that the card be forwarded from the first choice college to the second choice college.

Because competition for students was very great during this period, the procedures or breaches of procedure were serious business and near rifts, as well as threats, sometimes developed in this "cooperative" group. Much of the time of the Association was given over to discussions of possible "breaches of ethics" and appropriate penalties for violating institutions. The procedure was awkward at best and happily, in 1965, was voted out of existence by the group.

The "one-choice" system had imposed an ethical standard on the member colleges and universities. With the abandonment of the one-choice system and the move to a nationally administered test, the Association moved to expand its purposes. It adopted, and on October 1, 1964 reaffirmed, a Code of Ethics (see Appendix IV). At the same time it published a statement of future objectives which were:

. . . a logical growth to the rich history of this organization and as a purpose to bind the institutions in a common effort for the cause of Indiana students . . . 22 [See Appendix III for the complete statement.]

Testing Program Adopts Secure Test and the SAT in 1962

Harvey, in her history, reports that in 1956, the State Testing Program of Indiana Colleges and Universities voted to adopt the use of the Scholarship Qualifying Test (SQT) of the Educational Testing Service. She writes:

The labor cost involved in the careful scoring of thousands of tests and the reporting of the scores to the participating colleges was, of course, a large item but a cost that was hidden in the budgets of the colleges whose scholarship officers served as chairmen. As the program expanded the IBM services at Purdue, Indiana and Ball State were utilize; However, even with these services it became obvious that it was no longer possible to insert a large mailing and test reporting operation into the scholarship office of any university or college. In 1955, the chairmanship was at Purdue; three tests with three separate answer sheets were distributed to 719 high schools and 12,733 students. At the end of that year it was the unanimous vote of the group that arrangements should be made to contract for a test that would be processed by a professional testing agency. 23

From the use of the SQT for three years, the transition to the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) was natural and this test was adopted for use in 1959-60. This test remained in use until the adoption of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in 1962.

The decision to move to the SAT provoked a great deal of debate and discussion. The use of the test for the purpose of awarding financial aid was no longer its only use. Several institutions of the state had moved to an admissions test and were requiring the SAT. "In the spring of 1961, the Committee on High School-College Cooperation went on record as favoring the use of the Scholastic Aptitude Test" as the official scholarship test of the state. 24 At the meeting of the Scholarship Testing Program on April 24, 1961 (which was attended by three high school principals as guests) the matter was discussed. After lengthy debate over the efficacy of moving too fast it was agreed to recommend to the Indiana Conference on Higher Education that the test be adopted for use in the 1962-63 school year. At their meeting in November, the Indiana Conference voted to support this action.

Testing Responsibility Moves to SSACI

In 1965, when the State Scholarship Act was passed, responsibility for the rules on testing of students for scholarships in Indiana became a function of the State Scholarship Commission. By that time, the Scholarship Association of Indiana Colleges and Universities had expanded its scope of activities and its very purpose for existence to much broader objectives. The desire for a cooperative testing program which sparked the beginnings of cooperation and was the genesis of a profession of student financial aid administration in Indiana no longer would play a central role in the affairs of the Association.