Conant Calls Present Exam Poor Test of Student's Potentialities
Also Shows Value of Research, Need for High Scholarships in Private Colleges
Hope that the present system of college examinations, would give way to a system whereby a student's potentialities as a successful citizen could be judged, rather than only his intellectual capacity, was expressed by President Conant in an address at the Chamber of Commerce of Cincinnati, Ohio, yesterday noon.
Before making this point, which concerns all American colleges and universities, he first mentioned three missions which can be best fulfilled by privately endowed institutions only.
Duties of Private Colleges
Mr. Conant's first point was that privately endowed colleges are able to direct attention more towards those aspects of education and research which are not utilitarian in nature, and which "to the shortsighted appear useless."
"In the second place," he said, "it is usually possible to limit the size of the student body and the range of the institutions activities."
His third point was that only in endowed colleges was the nation as a whole so well represented both geographically and socially, and that contacts thus made develop "citizens with a truly American viewpoint." In this connection he repeated the statement made at Cleveland on Monday night that in order to provide opportunities for all classes, scholarships must be offered large enough to cover the student's total expenditures.
Weak Point in All Colleges
President Conant then turned to all universities, privately endowed and state-controlled.
"High scholastic standing is on the whole at a discount in this country," he admitted. Law is the only profession in which intellectual capacity alone is of much importance. "Imagination, originality, a spirit of adventure, stamina, courage,--a man must have all these in addition to brains to be a suc- cessful and useful citizen."
Emphasis on Grinds is Bad
"And these factors are not usually measured by college examinations," he stated. "We must admit that too often academic prizes go to students of mediocre ability who have good memories and the willingness to do hard, plodding work.