Senior Faculty Members Discuss Exams in Booklet

A booklet containing evaluations of Harvard's examination system by 17 senior Faculty members was published yesterday by the Committee on Educational Policy. In preparation for over a year and a half, the 135-page volume contains the observations of some of the University's most prominent men on "an issue of educational policy of the first importance," according to the editor, Leon Bramson, assistant professor of Social Relations.

The contributors include Paul H. Buck, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor; Franklin L. Ford, Dean of the Faculty; David Riesman, Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences Gerald Helton, professor of Physics; George Wald, professor of Biology; and Oscar Handlin, professor of History. They discuss exhaustively every aspect of the examination system.

Few of the essays are either very critical or very complimentary of present exams. Only one rejects the exam entirely as an educational devios. Eselly the most prevalent theme in the book is the contrast between the exam as a means of rating students and the exam as on educational tool. Most of the professors concestrate on the educational possibilities of leating, delineating their own personal personal theories about how to to obtain the greatest possible educational effect.

James Ackerman, professor of Fine Arts, also seriously questions the present exam system, suggesting that professors "should not be constrained to organize in a predetermined way." Rather, he would prefer to be able to adjust to the individual student.k

Except for Buck's offering which traces the history of exams at Harvard the rest of the essays approach the problem from different angles but off discuss primarily how the exam can be utilized best educationally.


Dean Ford writes that a "good examination to European history... offers the student a chases to see his knowledge of facts learned relating them wherever possible to arms and periods outside the specific subject of the course." In his opinion the exam should become "a teaching tool in its own right."

Other suggestions range along right different lines. William Alfred would preier to see frequent hour exams temper like arbitrarneous of one final exam; Edward H. Geary, associate professor of Romance Languages, limits his discussion to the most successful ways of testing achievement in beginning language courses; George W. Goethcia, lecturer on Social would prefer to see exams provide "an opportunity to make a synthesis of it [the course] with material which has been learned elsewhere," thereby guiding the student's.

The most enthusiastic supporter of exams for their own sake was Thomas C. Schnilling, professor of Economics. He finds four specific ways in which exams are educationally useful, and one general advantage; "Students get few enough rewards for their study; perhaps we should provide them, in the form of examinations."