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The Following article was written for the Crimson by Peter H. Behr, Yale '37, of the Daily News.
Present College Seniors, first guinea pigs of Yale's newest academic experiment, are looking forward with trepidation to the Comprehensives, which are intended to probe out the accumulated knowledge they have (or have not) amassed in their respective Majors.
The new experiment was first announced January 26, 1935, so that its first applications will not be overmuch of a shock to the class of 1937 and 1938. They have been warned.
At the time the news broke the experiment was heralded as a great forward step. The Yale News was "overwhelmed with admiration" and offered its heartiest congratulations."
It is generally felt that courses had too often been looked upon as separate entities, rather than parts of a rounded whole. The new system demands correlation and integration; requires that course be so mastered that they will not pass into the limbo of forgotten things immediately after the June of Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior year. (ed. note: under the former concentration system students selected a "Major" field at the end of Sophomer year and then simply collected sufficient credits in assorted and allied subjects to win a degree.)
When sample Comprehensives in English and International Relations were printed in the "News," it was seen that last-minute fact-grabbing, under the costly guidance of the tutoring school, would be worse than useless; only a sound comprehension of the Major subject will be of use. And it is felt that this will entail more application than has hitherto been the custom.
However, final course examinations are not to be done away with in Senior year. The new examination in the Major will be additional.
The full success of the plan depends, of course, on the skill with which the examinations are compiled, on the continuity and correlation which can be attained in the courses themselves. It will also be affected by the wisdom which the various departments show in helping the Sophomore to choose his Major and plan his work for the coming two years.
Bright hopes are being held, and it is generally considered that the step is both ambitions and forward looking.
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