The awarding of scholarship distinctions and election to Phi Beta Kappa have often been severely criticized on the ground that there exists no just basis for determining relative rank. Because of the wide variations in the standards of marking on the part of different professors, two pieces of equally good work very often receive varying marks. In certain courses the Rank List will show that about 20 per cent of the members received grade A, whereas in others only 4 or 5 per cent are A men. How, then, are the records of men graded according of different standards to be compared in the award of distinction? Nominally, one man may make a scholarship record far better than another, yet the latter may have done work o equally good quality, or in some cases even better. Consequently there has developed the wide-spread conviction that marks are a false measure of ability and merit.
To do away with the inequalities of the ordinary system, action has been recently taken at New York University to standardize the marking. By making a graphical representation of the average percentage of the different grades given by the professors in the year 1910-1911, a standard was provided to which all the professors will in the future conform.
Although the new plan is by no means perfect and may be considered somewhat rigid by many, it is well worth a thorough trial in all of our large undergraduate courses. In fact, it may well be be applied in such courses as History 1, English A and Government 1; where there are several assistants, each of whom usually has his own standard of grading. But if the new plan is applied in its more general phase to courses open to undergraduates, who are competing for scholarship honors, a more uniform system of grading would be established.