The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, May 01, 1894, Image 7

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    The conclusion was drawn that the. educational
world was not yet ready for a change in the exist
ing order of things, and that while the examina
tions were an evil, yet they were a necessary evil.
But progress has been made here as well as .in. oth
er details of. the.system, and now some of the lead
ing institutions of the country have rejected the
examination system.
The system as it is here, and in the vast majori
ty of other colleges, educates the not over scrnpu
lous student in the art of "ponying." But leav
ing that as a - minor point, for' it may be said, and
with some, truth, that the trouble lies in the stu
dent and not in the examination. But let us
consider how the examination 'affects the hard
working student to whose nature the idea of pony
ing is extremely foreign. Now all intelligent per
sons who have been either teachers or students
know that it is possible for such a student to be hin
dered from doing the work of which he is Caps:
ble, by numberless causes not within his control,
and then in addition to this, he feels that his wel
fare, temporal if not eternal in the mind of his
instructor, depends upon that certain percentage
of a hundred which he must make.
Thus a nervous student of the highest rank in
his daily work, may fail entirely in the final ex
amination. There is related in this connection
an incident concerning a candidate for the min
istry, who became so confused when in the hands
of the examiners, that they to affoid him an op
portunity to collect his thoughts asked him to
quote some passage from the Old Testament.
He replied with, "And Moses said unto Pharo . ah
when he was in the whale's belly, almost thou per
suadest me to be a Christian." Then again, while
the examination is supposed to catch the indolent
student, it to a certain extent gives him the advan
tage. He may while away his time until the last few
weeks of the term and then by means of some
diligent "cramming," and profuse notes, he steps
steadily along the narrow pass through which the
better student may stumble. And then again,
students differ greatly as to the amount of ground
which they can cover with a given amount of
-knowledge. This is brought Out by the story of
the student who was taking an examination in
ancient history, a subject on wl.ich he was poorly
informed It is said that when he reached the last
question, which was to describe the character of
Alexander the Great, his knowledge failed him,
but being an ingenious youth he wrote in full the
character of Philip of Macedon and ad6d, "With
such a father Alexander's character may be easily
imagined." Here again, a better student might
have failed. Taken all in all, the examination is
not a fah' way of determining the standing of a
student. Such a determination could be better
and more easily made from the standing of a stu
dent in the daily work, taking into consideration
the perseverance and thoroughness with which the
work is done, together with the general intelli
gence and ability of the student.
MAY the first has come and gone, and with it
has passed away another day of disquiet
. and agitation. The unrest in our own
great republic was marked by the entrance of
Coxey's army into Washington, .constituting the
van-guard only of a number of similar organiza
tions aiming for the same destination. Added to
this were the riots and strikes of the unemployed
and discontente4 men throughout the land.
Hundreds of thOusands of miners had Ceased to
work, and dissatisfaction and grumbling were
heard on all sides. In most of the European
countries this same spirit of uneasiness was mani
fest, although not so openly as in some of the past
years. Nevertheless it was present, and it needed
but the slightest breath to fan the smouldering fire
into a blaze.
But this evil influence failed to exert its : •pcp'4'r
over our institution ; and• instead, the day marked
a return of relief and satisfaction to the student
holy in general. Our president had justreti!rned
from a pleasure tour of three or four months dura-