THIS complaint is not of the marking system in general, only of the particular phase of it that appears in German 7. We do not complain that it is carelessly executed; on the contrary, the instructor takes more pains to examine the books carefully and justly, according to his light, than can be demanded of any one. It is the system that is wrong, and radically so.
The books are examined and the mistakes marked without the instructor's knowing, in a single instance, whose book he examines. The names are written on a slip of paper, with the number of mistakes each has made. Then the man with fewest mistakes, say six, is given the highest mark, say 98%. This is almost exactly the relation the best man's mistakes and per cent bore at the mid year. The man with seven mistakes gets 97%, and the man with twelve gets 92%. Thus the first man loses only 1% for each three mistakes, while the others lose 1% for each mistake over six. This statement is nearly if not exactly correct, and is as clear as it can be made.
When the members of an elective feel, almost without exception, that they deserve higher marks, it is highly probable that something is wrong, and in this case it seems to be the system. The whole division think that the instructor ought to raise all the marks, even though some would be over 100%. Yet this would only balance the minus per cents given in the elective.