Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

upon the development of the junior-senior high-school system and tend to reduce the number of applicants for college entrance who are unfit, by providing in these high schools completion courses not looking to college entrance. Similar effects in relieving the college burden may be expected from the growth of the junior college idea. Further discussion of the junior college will be found at another point in this review.

The tendency toward uniformity has been promoted by the adoption by the American Council of Education of standards for colleges, junior colleges, and teacher-training institutions, the two latter during the biennium. These standards were published with the recommendation that the regional and other accrediting agencies adopt them as a basis for accrediting institutions within their special fields of influence. Practically all of the regional associations have followed this suggestion and adopted the American council's standards or modified them somewhat to meet local necessities. The Association of American Universities, which had previously operated under the standards devised by the Carnegie Foundation, has also adopted the standards of the American council and has been given a grant by the Carnegie Foundation to enable it to conduct examinations of institutions for purposes of accrediting. The Catholic Education Association has accepted the standards of the American Council of Education, and other denominational educational organizations have been considering similar or other action looking to betterment of standards in church schools under their control or influence. The interest of the denominational colleges in the development of higher standards has arisen in part from the influence of increased standardization for other institutions and in part because the competition for students has been so reduced that they can afford to take steps in this direction.

The American Association of Teachers Colleges also adopted at its meeting in Cleveland, in February, 1923, standards for accrediting teachers colleges and normal schools. These standards have not and probably will not be applied to the institutions which were members of the association at the time of this adoption, but new applicants for membership will be admitted upon the basis of these standards. No doubt this will have considerable influence upon the regional associations in their accrediting of teacher-training institutions.

The Colorado State College adopted in 1923 higher standards involving more restrictive prescriptions for preceding work, conditional admission, and most significant, perhaps, omission of credit for life experience, teaching of penmanship, training in art and music, and other forms of work which do not contribute directly to the course offered by the college.

Paralleling the development of more exact standards for admis. sion to college and for admission to the list of institutions which may properly be defined as higher educational institutions is the development in the standards for professional work. The American Bar Association adopted standards in 1921; and in 1923, the American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and the American Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties also established standards for their specific work.

The University of Michigan determined in 1923–24 to begin in the fall of 1926 to require for admission to the school of law three years' work in college and in 1927 four years' work. This will make the law school at Michigan entirely a graduate institution, with the exception that students who take the combined letters and law course at the university or in other approved colleges may save two years of work. In line with the Carnegie Foundation's studies upon dental education, a similar plan is being considered by Michigan for the College of Dental Surgery. Columbia's Teachers College in October, 1922, adopted for the School of Practical Arts a change in admission which requires for admission two years in a college or a technical school instead of graduation from high school. This change was made necessary by the rapid growth of the School of Practical Arts. The tendency is to extend the time preliminary to professional training and the time for professional training itself in law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, teaching, and engineering.

GRADE LIMITATIONS

At the same time that it limited its enrollment in the entering class to 1,000, Harvard changed its entrance requirements to provide that 75 per cent must be obtained on the entrance examination and also that the boys admitted without examination must in their preparatory work rank among the highest seventh of boys in the class. The University of Illinois requires a grade of 10 per cent better than passing in the institution from which the student comes. The Kansas State Board of Administration has recommended that the plan of admitting graduates of accredited high schools upon an automatic basis be abolished. In general, many college executives are coming to believe that the selective process upon the basis of high rating in the preparatory work results in reduction of the number of students who will not profit sufficiently from college work. It is a real selective device.

CHARACTER SCORING

It seems to have been established by various investigations, notably at the University of Minnesota, that failures on the part of freshmen are not due so much to lack of ability as to lack of personal qualities and characteristics which enable the student to adjust himself to the environment and work of the college. Increased emphasis has been placed, therefore, upon admission to college upon the basis of personal qualities, including the physical. Scoring of applicants for college entrance upon the basis of personal characteristics attempts to cover good habits, industry, manners, respect for law, perseverance, alertness, competence, vigor, promptness, accuracy, participation in activities, and financial condition. The University of Chicago, Oberlin, Harvard, Kansas Agricultural College, Leland Stanford University, Reed College, Ripon College, and Swarthmore all have in a serious way attempted such scoring as the basis for admission. The scoring may be a very formal matter, conducted upon the basis of a blank furnished to the principal or other officer of the secondary school, and may involve in addition to such procedure a personal interview between the student and a representative of the college authorities. Northwestern University plans to undertake such scoring upon an extensive scale. Swarthmore, where the plan has been in effect for some time, states that the real entrance examination is the personal interview.

In addition to the service which character scoring renders in securing students who are fitted for good college work, the results of such personal knowledge of students should aid the institution in rendering careful instructional service. In the past the professors under whom students took their work knew little about the high-school records of their students, nothing in most cases about the parents and home conditions from which the students came, and only so much of their mental abilities and tendencies of character as they might derive from classroom contact. The personal history and estimate of students, if made available to the instructing staff, should contribute to improved college teaching procedure.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

Enthusiasts about the possibilities of pyschological tests frequently have urged that the psychological test be used as a basis of admission to college. So far development in this line seems to be insignificant. One investigation, made by the north central association in 1924, shows that institutions within its territory were not using mental testing for admission to any great extent. The service of psychological testing, in so far as it has been accepted, apparently lies in other directions, presented in another portion of this discussion.

FRESHMAN PROBLEMS Careful selection of students for admission to college implies that the work offered after admission will meet their needs to the fullest

---

------

--------

------

---------

----

--------

----------

possible extent and will give their abilities the greatest possible opportunity for development; and that college life outside the hours of formal instruction will contribute definitely to the well-being of students and will aid directly in their preparation to participate in the privileges and obligations of their adult life.

In the University of Wisconsin by February, 1923, 11 per cent of the class entering in the preceding fall had dropped out; in February 1924, the corresponding figure for the class which entered in the fall of 1923 was 13 per cent. In Harvard only 76 per cent of the freshmen who registered in September, 1923, were promoted in good standing at the end of the freshman year. Lack of ability is the least important factor in accounting for such losses; overenthusiasm for sports and other extra-curricular activities is perhaps the most frequent cause. Leaving the freshman almost entirely to his own devices in making his entrance into the official and social life of the institution results in homesickness and discouragement or in useless effort and dependence upon chance influences. Naturally his fellow freshmen and older students give him a one-sided conception of college life, a picture made up largely of athletics, social life, and extra-curricular employments. The college authorities, the faculty, and study, under such conditions, contend upon unequal terms with “ activities” in presenting their claims to his time and attention. He has little direct personal contact with college officials and official purposes, and that little is under what he and his fellows regard as compulsion.

Several institutions, following the lead of the University of Maine, the University of Rochester, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, which are pioneers in the movement, have adopted the device known as “ freshman week” in order to deal systematically with the conditions described. A study made in 1923–24 by Mary Frazer Smith, of Wellesley College, shows that 41 institutions have adopted this method of orienting freshmen. These institutions require that freshmen report in advance of upper classmen for conferences and lectures, tests, and inspection of the institutional plant. Although called quite generally “freshman week,” the actual time devoted to freshman orientation may vary from 1 hour to 10 days. The purpose is to acquaint the new student with the aims, opportunities, and customs of the institution and to secure information, by means of psychological or other tests, which will aid in more careful personal educational service during the freshman year and thereafter. The plan is so simple, results obtained so excellent, and the possibilities for further development so obvious that general adoption of the device of freshman week may be looked for among institutions which are seriously trying to meet their educational and social problems.

SECTIONING CLASSES

Freshman week affords an opportunity for obtaining information which will enable the institution to group students according to their abilities, as revealed by previous academic records or by special tests. The plan of sectioning classes in this way is developing rather rapidly. Eleven institutions, in addition to two now following the plan, intend to inaugurate such sectioning in the near future. The chief hindrances in the way of satisfactory sectioning are the desire of students for specific instructors and schedule difficulties which prevent free passage from one section to another in accordance with the record made by the student in his college work.

Those of us who in college were more concerned in choosing the men under whom we took our work than in choosing the subjects which made up our curriculum sympathize with the student who insists upon being permitted to study under a chosen instructor. To be sure, freedom of choice leads frequently to the selection of professors who have reputations for giving “snap” courses, but there is a sound element in the judgment of students which it may be a mistake to ignore. Frequently students wish to work under good teachers.

If the sectioning plan is to mean anything real, it must involve shifting from lower to higher groups as the student develops or displays his ability to work with such groups. This is especially true in view of the records and tests upon the basis of which sectioning is made in the first place. No one seems to have unlimited confidence in preparatory-school records, in entrance examinations, or in the results of psychological testing.

A study made in the University of Minnesota indicates that the newer psychological method of testing is less reliable than highschool records in prognosticating future work. Mental testing has made enormous strides since the Army tests were applied to so many young Americans, and institutions have attempted to make greater use of them for such rating of students as is implied in the plan for sectioning classes. The results have not been so satisfactory as the friends of psychological testing would desire. Toops and Bridges assert that, to be valuable, the correlation between test and scholastic record must be between 0.70 and 0.80. No such high correlation has been obtained. Many authorities seem to doubt whether the mental tests have a higher predictive value than other criteria. In a study made in the public schools it was found that the correlation between public school teachers' ranking and the subsequent work of students was 0.70 or above, which is higher than has been obtained to date between the mental tests and students' work.

« AnteriorContinuar »