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EDITORS DAILY CRIMSON:- You published in a recent issue a communication in which the writer advocated the abolition of semi-annual examinations and the substitution in their place of periodical hour examinations. His chief argument in favor of this change was that the present system allows a man so inclined to loaf the greater part of the year and to grind up before the examination just enough to enable him to pass. As a result, the writer urges, a few days after the examinations he knows as little as he did before. The adoption of the hour examination plan would prevent this evil and would cause systematic work.
In the first place I do not understand why men cannot grind up just before hour examinations as they do before mid-year examinations, and consequently gain almost as little from their work in one case as in the other. It is true the constant feeling of an impending examination would probably cause some men to do better work than they do under the present system. Still the real evil is but slightly mitigated.
On the other hand there are many things to be urged in favor of semiannual examinations. The writer of your communication bases his whole argument on the fact that a change of system would be of benefit to those who "come to college simply to have a good time." Now, I contend that the regulations of college should be shaped so as to benefit not those who come here to loaf, but those who come here to study, if the interests of the two classes of men are at variance.
In many, in fact in most, of the courses in the college curriculum it is practically impossible to make a one-hour paper that will be a test of a man's work or will enable him to do himself justice. The same thing is true of a three-hour paper, but obviously in a much less degree. For although in the latter case much more ground must be covered, the papers can be made so as to involve the tendencies of principles and facts discussed in the half year's work. Furthermore, the brief time in which a man surveys the work of the half year, if he has done his studying systematically, is one of the most valuable periods of his study; for it gives him an idea of the broaden and unity of what he has hitherto seen only in detail. In these two respects, I think the mid-year system of examinations have advantages which hour examinations can never supply.
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