University and Educational Intelligence

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    PROF. JEBB, M. P., in presenting the prizes and certificates on Tuesday to the students who successfully passed the last Cambridge local examination at Eastbourne centre, observed that thirty years ago examinations were believed to be a panacea for every educational defect. Now a reaction ha l set in, and some went so far as to hold that success in examinations afforded no trustworthy criterion of merit. The truth, of course, lay between these two extremes. An examination was not an infallible test, and was more favourable to some temperaments than to others; but, when well managed, was a sound test. An examiner must have at least three qualifications: he must know a great deal more than the subject in which he examined, or he would not have a proper sense of intellectual proportion and perspective; he must have a certain measure of acuteness to enable him to penetrate disguise or simulated knowledge; and, above all, he must have common sense in order to take proper account of particular circumstances of each case. The two older Universities, in the early part of the century, were said to be no longer in touch with the nation, and were regarded rather as great schools reserved for the education and, equally perhaps the amusement of a select few; but now they had spread a network of examination, and were diffusing their influence over the country, becoming what they were in the Middle Ages, really national, but national in the higher sense, in the desire that every one who sought it should have the means of a liberal education, and that the best things which literature or science had to show should be placed within reach of all.

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    University and Educational Intelligence. Nature 48, 215 (1893) doi:10.1038/048215a0

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