E.F. Lindquist

E.F. Lindquist worked on all aspects of academic testing and educational measurement, and along with Ted McCarrell, founded ACT.

He developed procedures for test construction and design, scoring and reporting and interpretation of results. He was a pioneer in translating statistical concepts and terms in a language appropriate to educational research. And he developed a test scoring machine unlike anything that existed at the time — an optical mark reading (OMR) machine that was capable of reading and tabulating the marks on thousands of students’ answer sheets per hour, without errors.

Lindquist’s first experience with large-scale academic testing came in 1929 when he started constructing tests for the Iowa Academic Meet and oversaw its statewide administration. In 1931, he took over leadership of the Iowa Academic Meet, which he renamed the Iowa Every-Pupil Achievement Testing program.

Born in 1901 in Gowrie, Lindquist earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., and taught for three years at an Illinois high school before coming to the University of Iowa as a graduate research assistant in 1925. He earned his Ph.D. in 1927 and joined the College of Education faculty.

Although the Iowa Academic Meet and Every-Pupil programs were successful, Lindquist grew convinced that “the emphasis (on rote learning) was headed in the wrong direction,” he said in a 1968 interview.

He went on to develop new assessments in the fall of 1942: The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS), which debuted in 1935 for grades 6 through 8, and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development for grades 9 through 12.

This work also helped him “hone his philosophies regarding the nature, purposes, and uses of achievement testing, all of which were central to the later design and implementation of the ACT Assessment,” according to the book, “ACT: The First Fifty Years, 1959-2009.”

Lindquist partnered with Ted McCarrel, director of admissions and registrar at UI, to found ACT. The American College Testing Program debuted in September 1959 and Lindquist served on the ACT Board of Directors from 1960 to 1965.

— Rachel Gallegos

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