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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1928. Department of Educational Psychology.


Copyright 1928, the author. Used by permission.


More than fifty per cent of the vacancies in the schools of Nebraska are filled with teachers whose selection is based on credentials submitted and not on personal interviews.One important element of the credentials is the candidate’s photograph.In fact, the demand for photographs is so universal that a candidate who fails to submit a photograph with the application or credentials receives little or no consideration from a superintendent.The problem is to discover whether the photograph is of any value in determining the choice of candidates in filling teacher positions.In this study, we are concerned primarily with general impressions on those who are actually engaged in hiring teachers.The source of the data for this study was the evaluations of a set of four groups of photographs by 148 people who have an active and important part in selecting, recommending, and, in most cases, hiring teachers.

In this study 24 photographs of actual teachers were submitted to three groups of judges to be ranked according to their desirability as teachers.The first set of judges were 61 school superintendents, the second 38 secretaries of school boards and the third 49 secretaries of placement bureaus—all being people actually interested in hiring teachers. The ratings of these 148 people were compared with the ratings of a committee made up of 6 members of the faculty of Teacher’s College, who based their findings on the data possessed by the Bureau of Educational Service.This data furnishes a record of each candidate’s academic preparation and also of his experience and achievement for at least three years past.

A study of the data thus secured leads to the general conclusion that there is no value in a photograph in determining ability to teach, as the photograph is judged in practice by school superintendents, school boards and secretaries of placement bureaus. There is no semblance of agreement between the composite estimates of all the judges and the committee’s rating. No individual was found who possessed any particular talent for judging teaching ability from photographs.No one class of judges did consistently better than any other class in ranking the teachers from their pictures.The collective judgments do not seem to be any more accurate than that of the average individual chosen at random.

Advisor:Dean A. Worcester