Cronbach, Lee J(oseph) 1916-2001
CRONBACH, Lee J(oseph) 1916-2001
(L. J. Cronbach)
Born April 22, 1916, in Fresno, CA; died October 1, 2001, in Palo Alto, CA; married Helen Claresta Bower; children: five. Education: Fresno State College, B.A., 1934; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1937; University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1940.
Educator, researcher, and author. Washington State University, Pullman, assistant professor of psychology, 1940-46; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, assistant professor of educational psychology, 1946-48; University of Illinois, Urbana, began as associate professor, became professor of educational psychology, 1948-64; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of education, 1964-66, Vida Jacks Professor of Education, 1966-80, professor emeritus, 1980-2001. Military service: University of California Division of War Research, associate psychologist, 1944-45; Office of Naval Research, London, England, scientific liaison officer, 1955-56.
L.H.D., Yeshiva University, 1966, University of Chicago, 1979, and University of Illinois, 1982; honorary Ph.D., University of Gothenburg, 1977, and University Autónoma (Madrid, Spain), 1985; Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, American Psychological Association, 1973, 1994; Fulbright fellowship to University of Tokyo, 1967-68.
Exploring the Wartime Morale of High School Youth, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1943.
Essentials of Psychological Testing, Harper (New York, NY), 1949, 5th edition, 1990.
Educational Psychology, Harcourt, Brace (New York, NY), 1954, 3rd edition, 1977.
(Editor) Text Materials in Modern Education: A Comprehensive Theory and Platform for Research, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1955.
(Editor, with Ellis Batten Page) Readings for Educational Psychology, Harcourt, Brace (New York, NY), 1964.
(Coauthor, with Goldine C. Gleser) Psychological Tests and Personnel Decisions, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1965.
(Coeditor, with Patrick Suppes) James S. Coleman, Research for Tomorrow's Schools: Disciplined Inquiry for Education; Report, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1969.
(With others) The Dependability of Behavioral Measurements: Theory of Generalizability for Scores and Profiles, Wiley (New York, NY), 1972.
(As L. J. Cronbach; coeditor, with P. J. D. Drenth) Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation, Mouton (The Hague, Netherlands), 1973.
(Coauthor, with Richard E. Snow) Aptitudes and Instructional Methods: A Handbook for Research on Interactions, Irvington Publishers (New York, NY), 1977.
(With others) Toward Reform of Program Evaluation, Jossey-Bass Publishers (San Francisco, CA), 1980.
(With Karen Shapiro) Designing Evaluations of Educational and Social Programs, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 1982.
(With Carole K. Holahan and Robert R. Sears) The Gifted Group in Later Maturity, Stanford University Press (Palo Alto, CA), 1995.
(Editor) Lyn Corno, with others, Remaking the Concept of Aptitude: Extending the Legacy of Richard E. Snow, Laurence Erlbaum (Mahwah, NJ), 2002.
Contributor to Psychological Bulletin, Psychometrika, and American Psychologist.
Author and educator Lee J. Cronbach first experienced the world of educational testing at the age of four when he took an I.Q. test. The resulting score, 200, marked his intelligence well into the genius range. Cronbach was enrolled in the Terman gifted program and went on to graduate from high school at age fourteen, and from college at eighteen. His interest in testing and mathematics led him to the field of education psychology, where his research focused on measurement theory, the evaluation of programs, and instruction.
Over the span of his career as a professor, Cronbach wrote and edited numerous texts on education and the psychology of testing and evaluation, stressing the principle that learning is a cumulative process, refined with age and maturation. His Essentials of Psychological Testing serves as the bible for courses in testing, referred to by Lawrence Beymer in a review for Personnel and Guidance Journal as one of "several volumes which are authoritative, original sources in the field." Beymer went on to call it "a comprehensive coverage of the basic concepts of measurement by a scholar in the field. The author's personality as well as his scholarship comes through loud and strong." In a review of the fourth edition of the volume, Contemporary Psychology critic Robert J. Sternberg wrote that "the discussion of some of the newer topics does not have the excellent sense of historical perspective that characterizes the discussion of older topics," but went on to state that the book "is still among the best of texts in any of the various areas of psychology." Personnel Psychology reviewer Manuel London commented that the book "is more than a text. Cronbach provides a balanced view of tests in relation to social policies."
Cronbach's book Educational Psychology serves as a follow-up to Essentials of Psychological Testing, addressing theory in a way as to be useful to future teachers as well as general arts and science scholars. Chapters include periodic questions, encouraging application of lessons learned. Philip H. Winne, writing for Contemporary Psychology, commented that the structure of the book limits a teacher's ability to alter the chronology of the material, but added that "teaching from the book will be fun, however, because the instructor is free to introduce favorite topics that will nest comfortably in a well-developed framework of principles."
Psychological Tests and Personnel Decisions, which Cronbach cowrote with Goldine C. Gleser, addresses the task of developing tests suitable for personnel use that might accurately measure a potential employee's reliability and the chances of them succeeding in the job in question. James N. Mosél, in a review for Personnel Administration, cited the volume as important, going on to explain that "the book's significance lies in the fact that it signals the establishment of important new directions in the classical psychometric theory underlying all traditional scientific personnel decision-making." In Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation, Cronbach, along with coeditor P. J. D. Drenth, collects fifty papers previously presented at an international conference. Issues addressed include both the practical and theoretical problems inherent in testing accurately within and across cultures. John Cotton, in an article for Contemporary Psychology, remarked that "too many presentations were preliminary reports of studies and too few seemed to this reader to represent an extensive analysis of the topic." Reviewing the book for Personnel and Guidance Journal, David P. Campbell wrote, "the last chapter, by Cronbach and Drenth, sums up both the conference and where the world is right now in its thinking about mental testing. I highly recommend it to any thoughtful person working with mental tests."
The Dependability of Behavioral Measurements: Theory of Generalizability for Scores and Profiles examines the difficulty in assessing results in behavioral test situations over the more easily measured physical and even biological sciences, particularly when the tests are either psychological or educational. R. Darrell Bock, in an article for Science, wrote that "by formulating the well-defined and readily operationalized alternate concepts of generalizability and universe score, the authors have put this work on firmer ground and have given classical test theory a new lease on life." American Journal of Sociology contributor Hanan C. Selvin pointed out that, despite references to a number of experts to validate their theories, there is no mention of Karl Popper, whose books refute their premise. However, Selvin went on to state, "I have learned a great deal from this book, and so will anyone else who does elaborate quantitative research or tries to teach others how to do it."
A collaborative effort among Cronbach and several other members of the Stanford Evaluation Consortium, Toward Reform of Program Evaluation seeks to promote a new, more effective system of evaluation. Randy Elliott Bennett, in a review for Journal of Learning Disabilities, stated that the book "presents an honest, realistic view of the current state of program evaluation and of how it can be changed to better serve the needs of our society." Journal of Higher Education reviewer Blaine R. Worthen wrote, "Cronbach and his colleagues have provided an important book which is likely to have a major impact in the young field of evaluation." Worthen did find fault with, among other things, the heavy use of secondary sources and the fact that the authors on the whole have little experience in actually conducting program evaluations. He concluded, however, that "it is still one of the most important books to be published in the field of evaluation. I was not only informed by reading it but in significant ways I feel it has altered my thinking."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Sheehy, Noel, Anthony J. Chapman, and Wendy A. Conroy, editors, Biographical Dictionary of Psychology, Routledge (London, England), 1997.
Snow, R. E., and D. E. Wiley, editors, Improving Inquiry in Social Science: A Volume in Honor of Lee J. Cronbach, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Hillsdale, NJ), 1991.
American Journal of Sociology, January, 1974, Hanan C. Selvin, review of The Dependability of Behavioral Measurements: Theory of Generalizability for Scores and Profiles, pp. 1029-1031.
Change, November-December, 1982, Cherie Toll Bottum, review of Designing Evaluations of Educational and Social Programs, p. 62.
Choice, February, 1974, review of Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation, p. 1938.
Contemporary Psychology, June, 1976, John Cotton, review of Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation, pp. 442-443; October, 1978, W. J. McKeachie and Ernst Z. Rothkopf, review of Aptitudes and Instructional Methods: A Handbook for Research on Interactions, pp. 705-707; March, 1979, Philip H. Winne, review of Educational Psychology, pp. 233-234; July 1983, Gene V. Glass, review of Designing Evaluations of Educational and Social Programs, pp. 501-503; May, 1985, Robert J. Sternberg, review of Essentials of Psychological Testing, pp. 377-378.
Gerontologist, August, 1996, Richard A. Settersten, Jr., review of The Gifted Group in Later Maturity, pp. 551-553.
Journal of Higher Education, July-August, 1982, Blaine R. Worthen, review of Toward Reform of Program Evaluation, pp. 491-495.
Journal of Learning Disabilities, October, 1982, Randy Elliott Bennett, review of Toward Reform of Program Evaluation, p. 511.
Personnel Administration, September-October, 1965, James N. Mosél, review of Psychological Tests and Personnel Decisions, pp. 52-53.
Personnel and Guidance Journal, June, 1970, Eugene L. Gaier, review of Research for Tomorrow's Schools: Disciplined Inquiry for Education; Report, pp. 863-864; January, 1971, Lawrence Beymer, review of Essentials of Psychological Testing, pp. 399, 402; October 1974, David P. Campbell, review of Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation, pp. 176-177.
Personnel Psychology, spring, 1985, Manuel London, review of Essentials of Psychological Testing, pp. 157-160; spring, 2003, Charlie L. Reeve, review of Remaking the Concept of Aptitude: Extending the Legacy of Richard E. Snow, p. 277.
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, December, 2003, Richard J. Shavelson, "Biographical Memoirs: Lee J. Cronbach," pp. 380-385.
Science, May, 1965, William Petersen, review of Psychological Tests and Personnel Decisions, pp. 803-804; December, 1972, R. Darrell Bock, "Psycho-metrics," review of The Dependability of Behavioral Measurements, p. 1275.
National Academies Web site,http://nationalacademies.org/ (September 23, 2004), "Lee J. Cronbach."
Stanford University Web site,http://www.stanford.edu/ (September 23, 2004), "Lee J. Cronbach."*