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Dean Holmes Refutes Rogers' Statement That Scholastic Grades are the Mark of the Dunce Cap as Exaggeration


"In brief. Dr. Rogers' statement that scholastic grades in the United States are the mark of the Dunce cap is exaggerated. Many difficulties arise in marking, but some sort of measurement of achievement is an absolute necessity, and the thing to do is not to throw out the baby with the water you wash him in."

This statement was made yesterday by H. W. Holmes '30, Dean of the Graduate School of Education, commenting on an address by Dr. Frederick, Rand Rogers of New York City at a meeting of Utah educators Saturday.

Colleges, Professor Rogers said, "worshipped marks", but he added that an A.B. degree merely indicated that the student had agreed with his professors during his four years at school, Grades make a battleground of the classroom, he said, and are a "disgrace to scientific education and must be done away with."

The highest grades as a general rule, was his comment, go to the student who is the best "ape", to the one who can best imitate his teacher.

Dean Holmes pointed to a study made in 1913 by the Graduate School of Education on the teaching of Economics in the University, as evidence of the work that has been done here to investigate methods of grading.

Ten Economics A' Midyear books were selected and graded by seven instructors, each man marking every question individually as well as each book as a whole. The results were carefully tabulated and compared., and a summary of conclusions and recommendations published in volume three of the "Harvard Studies in Education." As revealed by that study, the investigators concluded that college marking is at best far too much a matter of chance, and that every care is needed to make it accurate. It showed, however, it is the difference in examiners which makes the attainment of academic credit a gamble for the student.

Dean Holmes pointed out that the difficulties of marking presented no adequate reason for abolishing the system, as Professor Rogers suggested, but that they merely made more accurate grading necessary.

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