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Changes in the Admission Examinations.



It is interesting to note, in President Eliot's report, what have been the results of the new method of admission examinations adopted by a vote of the faculty in 1886. The members of the last entering class have had unusual advantages in their admission examinations, in that it was their privilege to choose almost any combination they wished from a scheme of examinations including a wider range of subjects than has ever been given. Under the former scheme of admission examinations, the common method of entering was by presenting all the required elementary subjects, together with either French or German, and, of the advanced subjects, Latin and Greek with composition. The per cent. of candidates choosing that set of subjects for the years 1883 to 1886 inclusive was 221 out of 315. In 1888 the average had been lowered to 144 candidates out of 315. By the remaining 171 men, seventy-five different combinations of subjects were presented. The result of this liberty in the choice of subjects for examination has been a very material increase in the number of men offering more subjects than are strictly required for entrance. By the old method, a candidate was often compelled to prepare himself on a set of subjects, some of which were utterly distasteful to him. By the new method, a candidate may make a choice and pursue a course of preparatory study congenial to his tastes, and one which will be in a line with the preparation at college for the work which he contemplates after graduation. Latin, Greek and mathematics still have much greater weight in the examinations than any of the other studies, but of the new advanced studies that may be offered in place of the advanced courses in Greek or Latin, in 1888 French was offered by 61 candidates, German by 43, experimental physics by 9, and experimental chemistry by 22. These figures show that the new requirements have already stimulated the preparatory schools to provide means for the teaching of more advanced courses in German and French, and have moved them to take steps towards the introduction of laboratory methods of studying physics and chemistry. The fact that one quarter of all the candidates in 1888, offered more subjects than were necessary, shows that many of the preparatory schools provide means of instruction in more subjects than those strictly required for admission, and that many men are capable of doing more work before coming to college than the admission examinations call for, and that, therefore, the standard of entrance examinations cannot possibly be considered unreasonably high.

On the whole, the new method of examination bids fair, to quote from the report, "to enrich and diversify school programmes; to widen the avenues which lead to the university, without impairing in quantity or quality the preliminary training of any individual boy; and ultimately to utilize as preparatory schools for the university the best of that large class of American schools in which no Greek and only the elements of Latin are taught."

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