In the mind of the average graduate now receiving stamped addressed postcards bearing evidence of the cruise of bread cast upon the waters, there is a feeling of perplexity and perhaps indignation. It seems as though his marks are in inverse proportion to his knowledge of the subjects studied. To the man in such a frame of mind, Professor Moore's chapter on "Diagnostic Education" in his book "What is Education?" is reassuring.
In his treatise, which is both scholarly and keenly analytical, Professor Moore declares present-day examinations and methods of grading students are decidedly unreliable -- that they indicate neither the worth nor the ability of the students. In giving reasons for his faith, Professor Moore reminds us that the examination by which the student's work is valued may be taken on a day when he is below pan. Moreover, there is much variation in the marking of papers, "for carefully conducted tests have shown a variation of as many as seventy points in the reading of the same papers by members of the same staff of teachers.
When an educator of Professor Moore's calibre thus combats the orthodoxy of University Hall, the average undergraduate may once more take hope. The Harvard student can resolve to place emphasis upon the acquisition of usable knowledge, upon mental development, rather than the "getting by" or "pulling a B" attitude. If marks had been a criterion of a man's future success, then marks would have consigned Emerson, the historian Prescott, and a host of other Harvard leaders to eternal ignominy. The purpose of education has been well expressed by Professor Henry Holmes: "Not a mind to be informed but a world to be understood."