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Anastasi studied at Barnard College, and then earned her doctorate at the age of 21 from Columbia University under supervision from Henry Edward Garrett (1894-1973).
Anastasi taught at Barnard College and Queens College, where she would be the psychology department's chairperson, before joining Fordham University in 1947. It was at Fordham where she would spend the remainder of her long and successful academic career. Anastasi's early mathematical aptitude translated easily into the world of psychological measurement and, influenced by the work of both Leta Stetter Hollingsworth (1886-1939) and Charles Spearman (1863-1945), she developed a nationwide reputation as an expert - as well as a critic - regarding standardized testing.