By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
If you were in the classes of 1960-1963 at Corbin High School, Project Talent is looking for you.
Not because of where you are now, or what you’ve done, but because of a study you took at school in 1960.
If you were in those classes, think of it as a reunion of sorts — because Project Talent wants to reconnect with you. And, they’re planning to do a historic follow-up study, some 53 years later.
During that time, students from Corbin High were among 440,000 teenagers from 1,353 schools throughout America who took the study. It started in 1960, and for two full days or four half-days of testing, high school students nationwide were surveyed by Project Talent. Students were assessed their abilities and aptitudes, as well as on their hopes and expectations, with the U.S. Office of Education and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducting the study.
At the time, Project Talent was the largest and most comprehensive study of high school students ever conducted in our nation.
The project was diverse, and represented America’s high schools in the early 1960s. From small towns like Corbin to large cities, and from all social, economic and cultural backgrounds, the survey mirrored the high school experience in public, private and parochial schools across the country.
The extensive study came during a pivotal time in the history of America.
The world was shrinking and events around the globe were shaping young minds in 1960. High school students were asked to aim high and reach for the stars, especially with a race for space in full throttle. And by year’s end, a young new president-elect urged the nation to explore what he called “The New Frontier.”
According to the Project Talent website, the nation’s Commissioner of Education at that time explained why the study was being done.
“The purpose of the study is to find out why some students learn and others do not; why some students do poorly in high school and then seem to come into their own in college, while others who do well in high school fail to adjust to college. Here, on an unprecedented scale, is an attempt to find out more about the students’ interests, their career plans, and whether the courses they take are consistent with the life objectives they have set for themselves. And above all, it is an attempt to determine why so much of the nation’s human potential is lost and what schools, counselors and parents can do to reduce this loss,” said education commissioner Lawrence W. Derthink in April 1959.
Project Talent’s Director of Outreach and Communications, Sabine Horner, noted that generation who took the study is very important in our nation’s history.
“They came of age during an era of great upheaval and they transformed the United States as we knew it. Project Talent is an opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences in a meaningful way that can benefit future generations,” she said last Wednesday in an email from Washington, D.C.
Now, Project Talent wants to follow up on how those students they studied 53 years ago have done now.
The project’s part of AIR, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research. Because Project Talent was the only large-scale national study that tracks those who participated from childhood to retirement age, it gives researchers a chance to find out how those experiences, interests and abilities of people early in life can play a role in their health and well-being as they get older.
By following up with the study now, researchers can discover how educational and family backgrounds can affect the course of the student’s lives, including their retirement. In addition, they can determine why some people have stayed happier and healthier, and seem to enjoy life as they age.
Also, those who were a part of Project Talent lived during a time of change and evolution in America’s history, from the space race, civil rights and the Vietnam War, to 9/11 and the Internet era.
As a result, the 1960 study is now rare and extremely valuable.
If you’re a member of the classes of 1960-1963 at Corbin High School, you can contact Project Talent to register your interest, and to provide details where you can be contacted to receive further information. In addition, they’re also interested you can provide about where they can get in touch with your other classmates.
You can contact the project at 1-866-770-6077, or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their website at www.projecttalent.org, for more information about the follow-up study, as well as the historic 1960 study.