Leonard Porter Ayres
Brigadier General, United States Army
Porter Ayres (1879 - 1946) was an American educator, born at Niantic, Connecticut.
He received his college and graduate training at Boston, Harvard, and Columbia
universities. He began teaching in 1902 as one of the first to carry American
ideas and methods to Porto Rico. There he was appointed superintendent
of schools in the districts of Caguas and San Juan, and later general superintendent
of all the public schools on the island. Having returned to live in the
United States, he was made head of the division of statistics in the Playground
Association of America.
Beginning in 1908, he was prominently identified
with the work of the Russell Sage Foundation, especially as chairman of
the committee in charge of the Backward Children Investigation. In 1908-09
he lectured on education at New York University. Very many of his articles
in educational journals have been reprinted, among them, The Effect of
Promotion Rate on School Efficiency (1913). His writings on educational
subjects , besides reports and contributions to periodicals, are:
Ayres apparently tallied a count of the US Army battle deaths for World War I. He served as a Major during the war, or shortly thereafter.
Ayres was recalled to active duty in 1940 with the rank of Brigadier General. He retired in 1942.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.
Posted Monday, Sep. 1, 1930
Above the gabble of minor seers there last week arose the well-respected voice of Col. Leonard Porter Ayres, studious vice president of Cleveland Trust Co. Distinguishing the present world-wide depression from the domestic depressions of 1924 and 1927, Col. Ayres, writing in Collier's, predicted a turning point in the near future. "Now arises the emotion of fear," he said. "Things ,,ere [last spring] brighter looking than they were. Now they look darker than they are. This is the last phase of the depression."
The AYRES SPELLING SCALE: A Ready Made Literacy Scale
A MEASURING SCALE FOR ABILITY IN SPELLING, by Leonard Porter Ayres
First published in 1915 by the Russell Sage Foundation; Currently (1986) by Mott Media, Inc.,
Milford MI, ISBN 0-88062-039-0
One of the most elegant and carefully standardized tests available in the domain of literacy is the 1915 Ayres Spelling Scale, republished in 1986 thanks to the efforts of Geraldine E. Rodgers, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, to whom this writer is much indebted for information on this, the McCall-Crabbs reading material, and the Rice Education Management references.
Ayres was first and foremost a statistician,
and the elegance and simplicity of this scale illustrate the adage, "Simplicity
is the ultimate sophistication." Though the scale is easy to apply and
use, it is not necessarily simple to understand the theory and design techniques
embodied. It is worth the time to study. The scale consists of 1000 of
the highest- frequency English words arranged in measured increments of
ascending order of difficulty, and normed by grade levels, at 50th through
99th percentiles, from second through eighth grade. A copy of the Scale
Heading is shown in Figure 1. The letters are the headings for each word
list out of the 1000 words. The administering and scoring of a 20-word
sample drawn from any one of the lists, when matched for percent and grade,
will give the exact spelling grade level of any 2nd - 8th-grade student
(as long as he scores at least 50%!). Ayres apparently believed that scores
less than 50% were not
Rodgers provides an interesting example of
the use of the scale to rate present day spelling by a comparison with
results from tests on 30,000 second graders in 1954. A 90- word list from
the Follett Spelling Program was published with percentage-correct data
from the Iowa Spelling Scale (State University of Iowa) in 1955. Of the
90 Follett test words for second graders, 67 were also on the 1915 Ayres
List. The following lists show the 1954 Iowa percent-correct scores on