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Secondary-School Examinations and Advanced Courses

    Naturevolume 100pages413414 (1918) | Download Citation



    THE Consultative Committee of the Board of Education some years ago prepared a report on examinations in secondary schools, and this was published by the Board in 1911. Following the Committee's recommendation, the Board of Education invited the English, universities to confer with representatives of the Board on the whole subject. These conferences took place during 1913, and in the same year the Board explained the general nature of the proposals it was about to make to representatives of local education authorities and of associations of secondary-school teachers. In July, 1914, the Board issued the now well-known Circular 849, on “Examinations in Secondary Schools,” and invited criticisms from responsible authorities upon the scheme proposed in it. The scheme provides for the annual examination of grant-earning schools in connection with the Board. Two examinations are proposed, and they are to be conducted by one of the recognised university examining bodies. The first examination is to be suitable for forms in which the average age of the pupils ranges from about sixteen years to sixteen years eight months. The second examination will be designed for those who have continued their studies for about two years after the stage of the first examination. The first examination is intended to test the pupil's general education before he begins his school specialisation. It should, under certain conditions, serve the purposes of a matriculation examination, and it is hoped that eventually it will replace the numerous entrance and preliminary examinations to which pupils leaving the secondary school have had to submit themselves. The second examination will be based on the view that older pupils should have enjoyed a more concentrated study of a connected group of subjects, and the courses suggested in the Circular are (a) classics and modern history, (b) modern “humanistic” studies, and (c) science and mathematics. The Board's scheme naturally involves increased expenditure by the schools, and in Circular 849 the Board promised further financial aid, but in a later circular of December, 1915, it was announced that proposals involving increased financial aid were to be considered in abeyance. Circular 996, issued on May 25, 1917, however, announced the Board's ability to take up its examination scheme again, and the appointment of the “Secondary-School Examinations Council” to assist the Board to undertake its functions as the co-ordinating authority for secondary-school examinations. This council is at work, and the schools are awaiting its first report.

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