THE QUESTION OF EXAMINATIONS.
In another column the CRIMSON is printing reports of the work done by the Student Council since the March meeting. In these reports there is one recommendation which we believe is of very great importance and one which should receive the immediate and careful attention of every man interested in Harvard scholarship. This recommendation is to the effect that less importance be laid upon final examinations and that greater stress be placed upon frequent hour examinations. In most courses, under the present system, practically all the emphasis is placed upon a student's showing in the mid-year and final examinations. To such an extent is this true that the marks in these make from one-half to three-fourths of the mark of the year. There are many evils resulting from this system. It places a premium on irregular and desultory work, for students know that their good marks in the mid-year and final examinations will more than off-set poor marks in conferences and the few hour tests that may be held. The system is directly responsible for the very great amount of eleventh-hour "cramming" that exists in the University and makes easy the path of the professional tutor. In addition to encouraging irregular work and helping to maintain a pernicious tutoring system, the placing of such great emphasis upon one or two examinations works great hardship on many a man who, at the time of the finals, may be in poor physical condition, or who for some other good reason may do much less than his best work in the final test--the test that practically determines his mark in the course.
In place of this system the Student Council recommends one which will do away with the evident faults outlined above. Instead of making the mid-year and final examinations count from fifty to eighty per cent. of a student's work in a course, the Council recommends that a system of regular hour examinations at frequent intervals be substituted, the mid-year and final examinations being counted much less than at present in making up the grades in a course. Under such a system regular study would take the place of irregular and uncertain endeavor; more regularity in work would lessen the evils of professional tutoring; and the man who for any good reason did poorly in his final test could not claim that any injustice had been done, for marks would be based upon work done throughout a course. Under such a system there would be an increase of work for those who prepare examinations and correct blue-books, but this and other objections raised against the proposed plan seem to be more than offset by the many advantages that would result.