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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/539

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535
COLLEGE STANDARDIZATION

result is loss of confidence, on the part of these schools, in the disposition of college authorities to deal justly or consistently with them. Rapid growth is indeed desirable, but growth of the faculty is quite as important as growth of the student body. If faculty growth is impossible then the standard of admission should be raised, and the severity of examinations increased, until the student body is cut down to such dimensions that an equitable teaching ratio is recovered. This necessity is fundamental. A reputation for thoroughness, for strict accordance between profession and practise, is better than large numbers. The faculty should be limited to trained specialists, and the students naturally expect instruction from teachers of more maturity than can be expected from those who are members of the student body. There can be no reasonable objection to the employment of student-assistants if their responsibility is limited enough and no use of their names is made by including these in the published list of apparently responsible instructors. To quote from the second annual report of the Carnegie Foundation (p. 18):

The instructing staff includes every person giving regular instruction in the institution except undergraduate assistants. These latter manifestly should not be counted in the teaching force even when they give some teaching. They are primarily college students.

For colleges whose feeding schools are largely compelled to limit themselves to three years of high-school work an abrupt change to the standard of the New York law is very difficult, if not impossible. If honestly carried out, the change necessitates great loss in numbers. The natural resource for aid is to secure a rise of standard in the local high school, which is in no way subordinate to the college and has no representation in its catalogue. A student coming with defective preparation may resort to this school until the full entrance requirements are fulfilled. Many applicants would undoubtedly be lost to the college on account of unwillingness to continue in the high school, but this is the price that has to be paid for standardization. Within a few years there will be improvement for the college, in both numbers and quality, due to the advance of standard. In Virginia the improvement in high schools during the last ten years has been very marked, and their reactive effect on the colleges is distinctly recognizable.

Among the most insidious of the evils in colleges that strive for numbers is the indiscriminate admission of special students, and of students on certificate from so-called accredited high schools which are not subjected to inspection. The theory of accrediting is that the school gives its certificate of graduation only to students who have successfully completed the full period of four years, with final examinations quite equal to the entrance examinations of the best colleges. The student takes examination on all his subjects immediately after study-