Fifty-one years after they participated in a study gauging their hopes and abilities, the 1961 graduating class of Prairie du Sac is being asked to participate once again.
In 1960, 400,000 American high school students – including Prairie du Sac High School’s class of 1961 – took part in Project Talent, a study led by University of Pittsburg professor John Flanagan who described it as ""the first scientifically planned national inventory of human talents."
The original study lasted two to four days and tested for a wide range of abilities. The study was conducted by the American Institutes for Research and the United States Office of Education. Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research.
The Project Talent study also asked students about their socio-economic background and their aspirations for the future. There were follow-up studies done at 1 year, 5 years and 11 years after graduation.
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The original study was so influential that it has been cited thousands of times in peer-reviewed scientific literature, and still is being used today.
Now AIR is asking the original Project Talent participants to tell their stories for another follow-up study.
"The Project Talent generation is very important in the history of the country," stated Sabine Horner, Project Talent’s Director of Outreach and Communications, in a press release. "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."
Large studies that follow people from adolescence to retirement allow researchers to make connections between early life experiences and later life outcomes.
Members of the class of 1961 from Prairie du Sac High School are being asked to contact AIR to register their interest and provide details of where they can be contacted to receive further information. Project Talent also is interested in information about upcoming 50th reunions for the class of 1961. Class members can contact project coordinators at (866) 770 6077 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They also can visit the Project Talent website at www.projecttalent.org.