LAKE PROVES HOUR EXAMS UNNECESSARY
Better Students Put All Their Eggs in One Basket While "Weaker Brethren" Played It Safe--and Won
"Frequent tests are for all except Fifth and Sixth Group men an unnecessary worry and expense," declared Professor Kirsopp Lake yesterday afternoon when questioned by a CRIMSON reporter about the results of his experiment in permitting his English 35a students to choose between two plans of grading for the final marks.
"Plan A," Professor Lake explained, "was for those men, who elected to stand or fall by the result of the final examination without having the hour examination taken into account, and without any other test during the course. Plan B was for those who took the November and December tests as well as the final examination, and elected to be marked on the basis of these three examinations taken together."
2 to 1 for Old Plan
Of 158 classified students taking the course, 55 chose Plan A and 103 Plan B. All except eight of the first, Second, and Third Group men elected Plan A; the Fourth Group was about evenly divided; and the Fifth and Sixth Groups showed a marked preference for Plan B.
Professor Lake has prepared a table which shows "that the better students are inclined to prefer fewer tests," and that they get higher grades by "accepting the result of the final examination."
"The choice of Plan A, by the upper groups is intelligible and correct, and needs no comment," Professor Lake continued. "But the choice of Plan B by the weaker brethren is a more difficult question. The figures suggest that for men in the Fourth Group the choice of plan made little difference. . . . But the scale turns with the Fifth Group. This Group largely preferred Plan B, and was justified by the figures, for whereas 53 per cent got C on Plan A, 63 per cent got C on Plan B. Ten per cent of safety is doubtless worth having.
Three Optimists All Pass
"The Sixth Group is quite interesting, because only three of that distinguished body took Plan A, but all three got C. It would seem to the casual observer that these men know perfectly well what they are about, and are not in the Sixth Group because they cannot help it.
"The practical conclusion would be," he declared, "that, if English 35a is a normal course, frequent tests are an unnecessary worry and expense except for men in the Fifth and Sixth Groups. Men in the First, Second, and Third Groups certainly do not need these tests, and this is probably though not certainly true of the Fourth Group."