In Philosophy IV Professor Palmer has taken up a new and seemingly good scheme for the final examination. He has proposed a thesis subject which will cover all the year's work. The members of the section are to write out the thesis in the examination room, after getting matter for it during the rest of the course. Such a plan is necessarily better for a philosophical examination than for many other kinds; but still we would like to see it more commonly adopted. For in the ordinary examination, without showing that you have any connected idea of your work, you have barely time to jot down a few ideas on a number of disjointed questions. On the other hand, in answering but few questions, or even one very comprehensive one, you can show not only a knowledge of details, but a broad comprehension of what has been treated. A thesis then is often the fairest test, both of ability and of work done.
But quite possibly in some courses it would be well to offer an alternative. We might be allowed either to answer a given set of questions, or to write on some topic covering a large part of the work. Such a plan as Professor Palmer's is, we hope, the small end of the wedge which may split to pieces our present examination and marking system.