Benjamin S. Bloom was born in Lansford, Pennsylvania in 1913 into a Jewish family which had emigrated from a climate of discrimination in Russia a few years earlier. The father was a poor tailor and Ben like many others with his background wanted to become a teacher, a way of climbing the social ladder. After graduation from Pennsylvania State College in 1935 he became a research assistant in the American Youth Commission. After a short stay with the Cooperation Study in General Education he became employed in the historical Eight-Year Study by Ralph Tyler who at the time had become chairman of the School of Education at the University of Chicago. He enrolled in the doctoral programme there and completed his Ph.D. in 1942.