still the tendency everywhere, in spite of the manifest absurdity of declaring a large proportion of students distinguished.
On the other hand, nearly every institution has instructors who occasionally refuse pass marks to large proportions of their students. It was when a professor in Missouri "flunked" his entire class, and the boards overruled him by passing the entire class, that some of the faculty urged the adoption of a scientific system of grading. The students at another college put more sense than lyrical charm into the following lines:
There was a professor named Bray
Who forgot the reflection on Bray,
When in two of his classes
He gave but few passes.
And frightened good students away.
If an instructor refuses to pass some of the median half of the surface of distribution, it must mean, as a rule, that his methods of instruction or discipline are faulty, or that an unwarranted proportion of students have been admitted to a course they are unprepared to take. In either case, the fault is not with the students, but with the administration of the college.
The distribution of grades by the various departments at the University of Missouri in 1909, under the new rules, showed a range in percentage of A's from twenty in the history of art to zero in political science. The narrow limits of 2 to 7 per cent, included seventy-two per cent, of the departments. Thirteen departments gave the median percentage of A's, which was 4. The entire distribution of grades by departments was published and sent to the instructors, together with a table locating the responsibility for the failure to hold to the adopted definition of grades. The table gave the name of each instructor whose percentage of A-B grades differed from 25 by more than 2, and the name of each instructor whose percentage of D-E grades differed from 25 by more than 4. The table would have been an invaluable guide to students who were seeking the easiest way to get high grades. It was in fact a table of chances.
As a result of this wholesome publicity, the instructors in 1910 showed an even closer approximation to the adopted scheme of distribution. This means that we come nearer to knowing what a grade stands for at the University of Missouri than at any other institution in the country.
Replies from 58 members of the faculty of the University of Missouri in 1910 show that 51 approve of the general principle of standardizing grades and 4 do not approve; only 1 reports that he does not aim to have his grades conform to the system in the long average; 21 tend in grading large, elementary classes to give low marks and offset them by higher marks given to advanced classes, 20 do not; 15 think that