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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/556

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tion; (2) an examination for B. A. much on the lines of the old one before tinkering began about 1849; (3) an examination (or other exercise) for the degree of M. A. of as varied a kind, and, at the same time, of as "specialised" a kind in each case as anybody can want. The complete degree should be given only to those who show real proficiency in some subject, the last "-ology" counting as one. Thus only can real learning, as distinguished from cram, at least cease to be penal. Whether it will ever reach to a "pecuniary value," I do not presume to guess.

May I end with my own personal experience in a time now far distant? I have deeply to thank my Oxford undergraduate course for causing me carefully to read several books, Aristotle's "Ethics" at their head, which I otherwise might not have read at all or might have read less thoroughly. But I do not thank it at all for examining me in anything. I do not mean because I got only a second class; for I got the "pecuniary value" of a first class in the shape of a fellowship. What I do mean is that I read with very little comfort or pleasure, while there was before me the specter of an examination, deadening everything and giving a wrong motive for one's work. When I had got my degree and my fellowship, I said, "Now I will begin really to read." I began in October, 1845, and I have never stopped yet.


My point in this discussion is: That, having been called in to aid education, examination has grown and hardened into the master of education. Education is becoming the slave of its own creature and servant. I do not deny that examination has its uses: I do not say that we can do without it. I say that it is a good servant, but a bad master; and, like good servants turned bad masters, it is now bullying, spoiling, and humiliating education.

Those who teach are the proper judges of what should be taught, how it should be taught, and what are the results of teaching. One of the methods by which they have sought to test the results of their own teaching was by examination—one of the methods, an instrument to be used with discretion, moderation, and freedom. This expedient (a mere subordinate expedient) has silently grown into a system; it has perpetually enlarged its own jurisdiction; it has stiffened into a special profession; it has created a body of specialists called examiners. As a body, the class of special examiners are younger men, of less experience, and, except in elementary schools, of inferior learning, as compared with teachers, as a class. They very soon evolve an artificial and professional skill, and set up hard, narrow, technical tests. Their business is not to teach; but to test whether the