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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

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Many instructors, it is said, favor the abolition of the marking system. The truth is that the practice of assigning so-called marks is one productive of much evil, and wholly unworthy to be employed in an institution that claims to be a university. It is well that a man's work be reported, in some form, as good, fair or bad; but it is impossible for the ordinary mind to conceive how one student acquires eighty-three per cent. of a subject, and another eighty-four. It must require wonderful microscopy of discrimination to determine which student deserves the one per cent. It will not be long before this old-time spelling-school way of informing a man that he stands "one higher" than his classmate will have been consigned to oblivion, together with the other "relics of bygone barbarism," as an intelligent exchange has it.

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