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Educational Services, Inc. records

Identifier: MC-0079

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The ESI-PSSC-EDC collection is a partial record of some of the major activities of these groups in the areas of curriculum development and educational reform. The records cover the period 1957-1970 and include the beginnings of the PSSC Physics text (which preceded the formation of ESI), the merger of ESI with the Institute for Educational Innovation to form EDC in 1967 and the activities of that group until 1970.

The collection has been arranged in two series. Series I contains ESI records and Series 11 contains the records of EDC. For the sake of simplicity, the PSSC records which predate the formation of ESI have been included in Series I with the remainder of the PSSC material. The ESI portion of the collection consists almost entirely of the records of the development of the PSSC Physics course and the Introductory Physical Science (IPS) course, and the implementation of both courses in American and foreign schools. Although ESI became the Administrative roof for a number of other curriculum and educational reform projects during the early 1960's, there is no material concerning them in the collection. The ESI material has been divided into two subseries, PSSC (subseries A) and IPS (subseries B). The PSSC material consisted primarily of drafts of the PSSC Physics text, laboratory guide and teacher's guide. Occasional correspondence and commentary concerning the material was included. The drafts consisted of early working drafts, subsequent drafts and final drafts for the four volume preliminary edition of the PSSC text (1958-59) and in some cases revised drafts for the one volume commercial edition of 1960 and the second edition of 1965. The collection also included a number of galleys, primarily from the 1960 edition. Due to the extreme bulk of the material it was decided that many of the drafts could be removed from the collection. However, in order to preserve a record of how the committee worked in creating the text, the drafts of the first five chapters of the text and the corresponding sections of the laboratory and teacher's guide have been retained. The remainder of the collection was searched for correspondence and commentary which, together with the accompanying drafts, was also retained. The material has been filed in chapter order. In addition to the draft material the PSSC records include the early records of the teacher feedback on the preliminary edition. This material was collected by Gilbert Finlay's test group at the University of Illinois in 1958-1959. There is also a small amount of material on development of the laboratory portion of the course and some material concerning revisions for the second Heath edition of 1965. Because the PSSC approach was so different from the traditional high school physics course, Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey, was engaged to help develop achievement tests and College Entrance Examination Board tests for students who used the PSSC course. Records of this collaboration are present in the form of sample tests, analyses of scores and correspondence. The PSSC materials also include records of the implementation of the course which took place on a large scale following commercial publication of the text by D.C. Heath in 1960. This includes material from the PSSC In-Service Institutes for teachers conducted in the United States and abroad, copies of the PSSC Teacher letter for 1962-1966 and teacher feedback reports compiled from PSSC Area Meetings which were held all over the United States between 1961 and 1968. The feedback reports are present in both original form as Area Meeting Reports and as categorized for analysis by the Committee. Finally, the PSSC material includes a small amount of correspondence mostly regarding personnel, some brochures and articles on PSSC and copies of the several editions of the PSSC Physics text, Laboratory Guide, Teacher's Guide, and Guide to PSSC Films. The IPS material consists primarily of feedback from teachers in the pilot program during the 1965-1966 and 1966-1967 school years. The material is arranged alphabetically by teachers' names. There is also a section of feedback arranged by chapters of the IPS text. There is a small amount of feedback from the IPS college program; it is arranged in the same fashion. Finally, there is a small amount of correspondence concerning revision of the junior high school text. Series II consists of the records of the Education Development Center. Most of the material appears to be from the files of Marc S. Tucker, who was secretary of the EDC during 1969. The original order, which is by types of material, has been retained. The records consist of administrative records, including material on the merger between the Institute for Educational Innovation (IEI) and ESI which created EDC, public relations material, minutes of Board of Trustees meetings in 1968-1969 and administrative correspondence and memoranda. Also included are small amounts of material from the Committee on Operations, the Publications Committee and the EDC Library. Finally there is correspondence, reports and contracts with the United States Office of Education, primarily concerning EDC's Pilot Communities Program. The largest part of the records of EDC concerns the various programs which operated under its auspices. The largest and best documented of these is the Pilot Communities Program which engaged in educational reform activities in Washington, D.C.; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Boston; and rural Maine. In addition to records of the Program's activities in each of these areas, there is some material on the Committee for Community Educational Development, which was founded by Jerome Wiesner and which had an impact on the Boston phase of the Pilot Communities Program. There are smaller amounts of material on other EDC projects. Among them are the Workshop for Learning Things, the EDC Educational Van, the African Primary Science Program, the Follow Through Project, the instructional television program, "One Nation, Indivisible?", and the Introductory Physical Science Program. The EDC records also include material on other organizations engaged in educational reform and a small number of project reports, speeches and articles relevant to its activities. Finally, there is some material documenting EDC's input into the planning of the USOE Targeted Program in Development and Related Research and the National Institutes of Education (NIE). Included are drafts of plans for the programs, memoranda and correspondence. Approximately 58 linear feet of material was removed from the collection. The bulk of the material removed consisted of drafts of the PSSC and IPS texts. In addition, the collection originally included a large number of books. Some of these were part of the Science Study Series which was published to supplement the PSSC Physics course. There were also a number of foreign editions of the PSSC text. These have been catalogued into the Tech Collection in the Institute Archives. The collection also included a large number of other books, primarily in the physical sciences, which were apparently part of the ESI library. These were sent to the Gifts and Exchange division of the MIT libraries.


  • Creation: 1957 - 1971


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

The Physical Science Study Committee, (PSSC) and its outgrowths—Educational Services Incorporated (ESI) and Education Development Center (EDC)—had their beginnings in 1956 in a project initiated by Jerrold Zacharias, James Killian and Francis Friedman, all of MIT.

PSSC originated in March of 1956 with a memo from Zacharias to Killian in which he suggested the development of films as aids in teaching physics in high schools. In the fall of 1956, Zacharias and Killian held informal meetings with a number of colleagues, including I. I. Rabi, Edwin H. Land, Nathaniel H. Frank, Francis L. Friedman, Martin Deutsch and others. This group designated itself the steering committee of the PSSC and with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) began the program with a conference at MIT on December 10-12, 1956. The conference produced a tentative outline of the course and plans were made to begin writing during the summer of 1957. A draft of the first volume of the text, written by Philip Morrison with revisions by Friedman and Judson B. Cross, was produced that summer. By the spring of 1958 the preliminary edition of PSSC Physics was completed. Among the other physicists who participated in the creation of the course were Uri Haber-Schaim, Bruno Rossi and Malcolm K. Smith of MIT; Eric M. Rogers of Princeton; Walter C. Michels of Bryn Mawr; Albert Baez of Stanford; and Gilbert C. Finlay and Edwin L.Goldwasser of the University of Illinois.

Eight pilot schools (300 students) began using the PSSC materials during the 1957-58 school year. That summer, the first institutes for training PSSC teachers were held. By 1959 the Laboratory Guide was completed and the first books in the Science Study Series, which provided supplemental reading to the course, were published. In December 1958, ESI was formed to take over the administration of PSSC. James R. Killian was made Chair of the Board and served in that capacity until the formation of EDC in 1967. Under the auspices of ESI,, fifteen In-Service Institutes for PSSC teachers were held throughout the country in 1958-59. ESI also oversaw publication of the first commercial edition of PSSC Physics by the D. C. Heath Company in September of 1960. That year 44,000 high school students were exposed to the new curriculum. Although ESI had originally been founded to handle the administration of PSSC, it soon began to undertake new projects. The first of these was PSSC Advanced Topics, which was initiated in 1960 by Uri Haber-Schaim, who had previously directed the laboratory group of PSSC. Soon other projects were added, such as the Elementary Science Study, the African Education Program, the Introductory Physical Science (IPS) Program, which produced a physics text for junior high schools, the Semiconductor Electronics Education Program, and the National Committee for Fluid Mechanics Films. By 1966, ESI had a yearly revenue of over $10 million and administered some twenty-five curriculum improvement projects. In 1967, ESI merged with the Institute for Educational Innovation (IEI) to form EDC. IEI had been established in 1966 as New England's Regional Educational Laboratory under Title IV of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Through the merger, EDC became the Regional Lab for the area. Franklin A. Lindsay, president of Itek Corporation, was named Chair of the Board. He was succeeded in 1972 by Theodore R. Sizer. With the transformation to EDC the activities of the group changed in character. ESI had served principally as fiscal agent for a number of semi-autonomous projects in curriculum improvement. EDC was more involved administratively in coordinating individual projects with the aim of producing comprehensive change in school systems, and eventually, in society as a whole. It was also more involved in large federal projects. The largest of its early projects, the Pilot Communities Project, was an attempt to achieve broad based educational reform in school systems in four areas of the eastern United States, and was a part of the Title IV community development efforts of the Office of Education. EDC's other projects reflected this changed emphasis. In addition to continuing ESI activities such as the Elementary Science Study, EDC programs included Open Education Follow Through, Programs in Instructional Television, the Early Childhood Education Study, and Peace Corps training programs, as well as programs in vocational education and Title IV community projects. For a complete list of the early members of the PSSC Steering Committee and the contributing staff, which includes the authors of the course, see the First Annual Report of the PSSC (QC30.P578 1957) in the Tech Collection of the Institute Archives. For lists of officers, trustees and staff of ESI and EDC, and for summaries of specific projects, see the Quarterly Reports of ESI (L13.E24) and the Annual Reports of EDC (LB1028.E245) which are available in the Distinctive Collections Tech Collection and in the MIT Libraries.


12 Cubic Feet (12 record cartons)

Language of Materials



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Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Guide to the Records of Educational Services, Inc.
Ready For Review
Rowland Aertker
Copyright 1981
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Processing of the collection was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
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