No Headline

We think that our correspondent of yesterday is quite right in his complaint against the low range of marks adopted in a certain German course. The suggestion that a fixed amount, say five or ten, or a certain percentage be added to each mark has considerable weight. There can be no doubt that the greatest evil of the marking system is that no unity or equality of standards, seems to be attained by the body of instructors. Fifty per cent. with Prof. A may often be set against seventy or seventy-five per cent. with Prof. B; in courses which require very nearly the same amount of work and brains, the marks often show an appalling difference. An interesting comparison has been made between the marks of two courses, which had been elected almost without exceptions by the same men. The courses were reputed to be of very nearly equal difficulty; but the disparity in the marks was very great. There was to be found not even a tendency toward equality. For the twelve highest marks of the same men in the two courses, there was an average difference of over seven per cent. The numbers of men who got on the rank list were respectively thirty-two and twenty-five, and the first twenty-five were very nearly the same in the two courses. Of the two courses in question, if there was any difference in the difficulties present, that difference would favor our position rather than weaken it; for in the harder course the marks ranged the highest. The whole fault then lay in the difference of standards in marking adopted by the different instructors. It is a fact that some of the best courses in college are avoided just because the instructors are " hard markers," -avoided, not only by men who are satisfied with a mark of forty or fifty per cent, but by men who aim at, who in many cases must get ninety. As soon as any sort of equality in the marking standard is established, we will not be constantly hearing the complaint that students are too often slaves to their scholarships. Surely under the present state of things, students are not blamable for their slavery. However, were the system of marking more just, more universally definite and stable, then the student needing a scholarship need not be forced to consider whether this or that instructor would rob him of, or assist him to the needed money.