Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/519

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

the sciences did not excel the others. On the contrary, it appears that of the 23 men who took ten or more courses in science, only 39 per cent, graduated cum laude from the medical school, whereas of 48 men who took less than three courses 61 per cent, graduated cum laude. In general, it was the case that students who elected six or more courses in any one of the four groups into which the studies at Harvard are now divided did equally well in the professional school whatever the group

PSM V79 D519 Academic results of electives of medical students.png

The two columns on the left represent the students in the medical school who did not and who did receive honors in accordance with the subjects pursued in college. The two columns on the right represent those who did not and those who did receive honors in the medical school in accordance with their standing in college.

in which the larger share of work was done. The relations for the medical school are shown on the chart. Of 311 students who elected six or more courses in the languages in college, 145 graduated without and 166 with honors from the medical school. Of those who took six or more courses in the natural sciences, 75 graduated without and 81 with honors. Within the limits of probable error, the relations are the same for the smaller groups in political science and in philosophy and mathematics.

The two columns on the right side of the diagram show the relations between high standing in college and success in the work of the medical course. Of the 239 men who received no honors in college 36 per cent, were given honors in the medical school; of the 85 with a cum laude in college, 76 per cent.; of the 39 with magna cum laude, 87 per cent.; and the two who received summa cum laude received honors in the medical school.

President Lowell's theories are certainly supported by these statistics. He holds that men should be incited to obtain high grades in college and that the college course should be purely cultural without reference to the student 's work in after life. He has argued that the college course should make all students equally well prepared to enter any professional school and that the entrance requirements of each professional school should be such that they are met by all students having completed a college course. Every one will of course agree that it is a good thing for students to do well in their college work, even though it may be doubted how much is gained by trying to lead students to compete with one another for honors, as President Lowell advocates. It is, however, a legitimate incentive to good work to make it known that students who do well in college, are likely also to succeed in the professional school and in after life.

The fact that students do equally well in the medical school, whatever the studies they pursued in college, is a stronger argument for cultural studies than any theory. It is not quite convincing, as it may be argued that the courses in the natural sciences given to students at Harvard are proved by these statistics not to be the best training for the future medical student. We know that students who do well in one subject in college are likely to do well in others. This was put on a quantitative basis by Dr. Clark Wissler in a doctor's thesis from the psychological department of Columbia University,