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to be very approximately the same. Now it is easy to show that this deduction, which appears to be based upon the theory of mathematical probability, is false.
To begin with, the candidates are not distributed at random but by schools, i.e., we are not dealing with 50,000 units but with only 1,300 units, in which the efficiency of the teaching varies widely. Imagine the 1,300 schools to be arranged in order of merit, Nos. 1-650 being called A schools (i.e., Above the average), and Nos. 651-1,300 being called B schools (i.e., Below the average). Next put the names of the 1,300 schools into a hat and draw out thirty names for the smallest Examining Body and 300 for the largest. What are the odds against the first Body getting fifteen A schools and fifteen B schools? The calculation is tedious, but the answer seems to be that the odds (even in this simplified and most favourable case) are almost six to one against. Moreover, not only is it highly improbable that this Body will get an average set of schools, but it is quite possible that it will get thirty A schools. Even in the case of the largest Examining Body the odds are against an "average distribution." Are the I.A.A.M. still content with the justice of their proposed plan?
But the above calculation is relevant only if the schools are chosen at random, and in practice they are not. Some Examining Bodies have a strong local connexion, and we are driven to the further assumption that the schools of Wales are neither more nor less efficient than those of Lancashire and Yorkshire, or of London, and that the children of these three districts start life with the same natural ability.
The truth is that the laws of chance and probability do not and cannot apply. Even if they did, what rational being is willing in a particular case to act upon a theory of probability unless he has no grounds upon which to base a judgment?
Special investigators are chosen by the Examinations Council to co-ordinate the First Examinations, and among them are able members of the I.A.A.M. (as there are among the examiners). Have the I.A.A.M. so little confidence in the investigators that they are driven to the policy of despair which seems to be indicated in their circular?
Personally I interpret the statistics of the First Examinations very differently from the I.A.A.M. who have started from an unjustifiable assumption. Those statistics seem to me to show that the average quality of the candidates presented from year to year varies less widely than might reasonably have been thought possible. I suggest (a) that some of the variations in subjects from year to year which the I.A.A.M. ascribe to failure of standardization are the direct result of the deliberate judgment and recommendations of the Investigators; (b) that the I.A.A.M. should change their ground and assert that the average quality of the work probably does not vary very widely from year to year in the examinations as a whole, adducing the evidence of the statistics which they now attack in support of their assertion. (If they are not willing to use this evidence, I do not know where they will find any.)
I imagine that the Examining Bodies would be only too glad to accept the doctrine that "candidates set their own standard" for it would relieve them of one of the most difficult and expensive parts of their work, in addition to rendering the visits of large bodies of Investigators unnecessary.
My own experience had convinced me, long before I attacked the problem mathematically, that the doctrine is false and very dangerous. An attempt to apply it in practice would lead to grave injustice and would astonish and distress its authors. To apply it fully is as impossible as to make two and two come to five. The percentages of passes and failures in each subject might be kept constant by an Examining Body, but when these are fixed the result (which is what mathematicians call a dependent variable) is beyond control.
I agree wholeheartedly with the I.A.A.M. in desiring effective standardization, but I must point out that the short cut which they seem to recommend leads over a precipice, and that the statistics do not afford a safe basis for criticism of the results of the system established by the Secondary School Examinations Council.
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MR. D. T. JONES, who has succeeded Major E. T. Davis as Director of Education for Pembrokeshire, was born in the neighbouring county of Cardiganshire, and educated at Cardiff University College and Downing College, Cambridge. He holds the degrees of B.A. (Hons.) Wales, M.A. (Cantab.), and LL.B. (Hons.) Cantab. In addition he holds the Board's certificate for training. During the War he saw over four years' service, and became officer commanding Tank Corps Gunnery School, le Treport, and member of the Staff of Experimental Gunnery, Merliaront. His teaching service includes the senior history mastership at West Suffolk County School, and the senior history mastership at the Cambridge and County School for Boys. At the latter school he was captain commanding the O.T.C. Since 1925 he has been supervisor of studies in economics for Downing College.
PROF. J. E. NEALE, who occupies the chair of Modern History in the University of Manchester, has been appointed to the Astor Chair of English History at University College, London, as from August next. His publications include: "The Commons' Privilege of Free Speech in Parliament" (Longmans, 1924); "The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth" (History, October, 1925); The Evidence of the Casket Letters (History, April, 1927); "The Commons' Journals of the Tudor Period (Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc., 1920); and eight articles in Eng. Hist. Rev. (1916-27).
EDUCATION is well represented in the Birthday Honours List, which contains the names of nine teachers and eight administrators in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and five teachers and three administrators in overseas dominions. We note especially the names of Miss Emily Penrose, O.B.E., formerly Principal of Somerville College, Oxford, and Mr. R. F. Cholmeley, C.B.E., recently Headmaster of Owen's School, Islington and leader of the Teachers' Panel of the Secondary Burnham Committee.
THE names of educationists appearing in the Birthday Honours List is as follows: KNIGHTS.-Barnett, Lieut.Colonel Louis Edward, C.M.G., Professor of Surgery, Otago University, Dominion of New Zealand; Sultan Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor of the Patna University. C.M.G.-Chapman, Professor Robert William, of the University of Adelaide. C.I.E.-Littlehailes, Richard, Director of Public Instruction, Madras. G.B.E.-Heath, Sir Henry Frank, K.C.B., late Secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. D.B.E.-Penrose, Miss Emily, O.B.E., late Principal of Somerville College, Oxford. K.B.E.Ashford, Cyril Ernest, C.B., Headmaster of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. C.B.E.-Bethune, the Rev. John Walter, M.A., Headmaster of the Church Grammar School, Launceston, Tasmania; Cholmeley, Robert Francis, O.B.E., lately Headmaster of Owen's School, Islington; Howarth, Edward Goldie, Director of Establishments, Board of Education; Smith, Arthur Lionel Forster, M.V.O., Inspector-General of Education, Iraq; Stuart, George Moody, for services in connection with the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture. O.B.E.-Austin, Harold Bruce Gardiner, President of the Education Board, Barbados; Burgwin, Mrs. Elizabeth Miriam, for services to education; Crompton, John, for service to textile education; Dutton, Frederick Hugh, Director of Education, Basutoland; Gardiner, the Rev. Thomas Watson, Principal of the Hislop College, Nagpur; Grose, Cedric Vincent Wild, Headmaster, English School, Cairo; Johnson, Thomas, H.M. Inspector of Elementary Schools; Ludlow, Frank, lately Headmaster, Tibetan School, Gyantse; Ramsay, William McCulloch, J.P., for services to education in Edinburgh; Simpson, Macduff Frederick, Controller of Secondary Education, Egyptian Government; Stafford, (Continued on page 510)
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ON May 10 there passed away, at Cheltenham, the Rev. E. Wilton South, who for many years was headmaster of the Blackheath Proprietary School. He succeeded to the office at a time when, owing to the moving of such schools as St. Paul's and University College out of the City, and the foundation of Tonbridge, the school at Blackheath ceased to hold its leading position as a well-known public school just outside London, as it was in those days; and when, for this and other reasons, the large boarding houses attached had to be given up. Mr. South came from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he had won the great distinction of Chancellor's Medallist, and had had teaching experience at St. Paul's School. Though only 28 at his accession, his enthusiasm, classical scholarship, and powers of teaching produced results more than commensurate with the numbers of the pupils, and he was able to refer on one or two occasions to the fact that more numerous and brilliant university distinctions had been gained than at any other time in the school history. Canon Goudge, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford; F. B. Malim, the headmaster of Wellington; J. F. W. Galbraith, K.C., M.P.; Leighton Pullan, Vice-President of St. John's College, Oxford; M. A. North, late master at Clifton, known to a wide circle as author of the Latin text-book bearing his name, were some of those under South, who may be definitely connected with this period of his teaching. Owing largely to his efforts and influence the High School for Girls was founded in Wemyss Road, Blackheath. After his retirement in 1887 he gave himself up to clerical work entirely, and was vicar of several livings, the most important being that of Sedbergh in Yorks. It is somewhat curious that his successor as headmaster, Mr. Herbert Bendall, at one time secretary to the Incorporated Society of Headmasters, died only three months ago.
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