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The composition of the school enrollment, so far as the presence of any foreign element is concerned, is homogeneous. In fact the number of children of foreign extraction is so small as to be practically a negligible quantity, with the exception of one school. One factor, however, in the school population enrolled stands out prominently. The school enrollment is made up of the two races, white and colored, which are kept entirely separate. The enrollment for the session uf 1913-14 was as follows:

Enrollment in the schools of Richmond in 1913-14


It is seen that there are about half as many Negro children as white children enrolled.

The organization of the Richmond school system provides for two years in the kindergarten, seven years in the elementary schools, and four years in the high school. The normal age * for children to enter the grades is at 7 years, but in the last few years a large number of children have been entering under 7 years, due to the fact that they have become too old for the kindergarten. This condition is being met by the introduction of connecting classes which meet the needs of the children who are too old for kindergarten and too young for the first grade.

The system provides for semiannual promotion, so that the grades in the elementary schools run from 1A, IB, 2A, etc., to 7B. Moreover, considerable attention has been given to the question of making the grading system elastic, so that children can be advanced at any time through the year as their ability and progress demand. There has been a feeling on the part of many that children are being held back when their ability would enable them to advance. A desire to secure more scientific information on this problem than the regular school records supplied prompted the employment of a woman who could use the Binet-Simon tests in measuring children's mental abilities. This situation made possible much of the information which is used in this study.

In order to make an application of tests to the results achieved by the children in the schools of the city of Richmond, it was deemed advisable to inquire into what has been actually happening to some of the children, at least, who have been in school a number of years;

1A recent legislative enactment reduces the entering age for children in the public schools of Virginia to 6 years.

to ascertain what progress these children have made through the grades, where some of them have repeated and at what age, where others have dropped out and at what age.

Therefore the plan which has been pursued in this study consists of, first, a study of the progress of a group of children, 627 white and 547 Negro, who were in the 1A grade seven years ago, September, 1906, through seven years—the school life of a child who makes normal progress—in order to show what is actually taking place in the history of the children who enter the Eichmond school system; second, a study consisting of the progress of 897 white children who made up the enrollment of the 1A to the 5A grades, inclusive, in three schools, and of a group of 787 white children who were selected from the 1A to the 5A grades of 10 schools because they were a year or more over age chronologically for their grade or because they had made frequent repetitions. All of the children in the last two groups were tested with the Binet-Simon tests. From the data thus obtained it is evident (1) that many children are misplaced, (2) that mental tests can be employed to determine where they ought to be, and (3) that many of these children can succeed when differently placed, as will be shown in the following chapter.


During the past few years the information on the cumulative record cards in the cities where they have been in use for some time has supplied the material for several studies in educational administration. By means of the information contained on these cards, the progress of children through the schools has been studied and conclusions drawn therefrom that serve as a basis for many changes in educational practice. It is to be regretted that more city school systems have not made an attempt to secure the helpful information which such records make possible. Of 31 southern cities to which an inquiry as to the use of the cumulative record cards was sent in March, 1913, only 14 reported their use. In nine cities the cards have been introduced since 1910, in one they were introduced in 1906, in another in 1907, while in only one city did the use of the cards date back as far as 1900.

As the school system of the city of Richmond continued to grow and become more complex, the school officials saw the necessity for accurate information concerning the child's family and school history. Consequently a cumulative record card was introduced in September, 1906. The following is a sample card duly filled:

Cumulative Record Card.


"(Name fa rail." "wrftelast name first.)" (COLORED



Hsh) Mrs. H. H E.Clay St

w*********"-J (Name) (Residence) (Occupation)



ENTERED Central SCHOOL Sept 1906

TRANSFERRED {£rqm} High SCHOOL Sept 1913

[merged small][table]

When the records were made for the first time, every child in the 1A grade in September, 1906, was recorded as having entered that grade at the beginning of the session 1906-7. The children so recorded ought to form the entering group for this session; but, as a matter of fact, some of these children were repeating the 1A grade, having entered prior to September, 1906. This group of children and those who entered in February, 1907, the beginning of the second half term, make up the total enrollment in the 1A grade for the session of 1906-7. This enrollment, according to the superintendent's report of that year, was 650 for the white schools and 572 for the colored schools.

According to the record cards there were 627 children in the white schools in September, 1906, and 547 in the colored schools, or a total of 1,174 children who had either entered or were repeating the 1A grade. The school history of these 1,174 children presents many problems such as the following: How many have completed the elementary schools in normal time? How many of those who have finished have entered the high school? How many are still in the elementary schools, and where and at what ages were they retarded? How many had finished the elementary schools in less than the normal time and what became of them? How many had dropped out of school and what became of them? Of this dropped group, how many had not repeated a grade and how many had repeated a grade? At what ages and in what grades? 7534°—16 2

These and other questions will be answered in connection with the white children by the data in the following tables.

If a child was in the 1A grade in September, 1906, and would advance two grades each year, he would complete the elementary schools of Richmond in seven years, the normal time. This would make this child finish the 7B grade in June, 1913, and be ready for the high school in September, 1913.

Therefore, if the children who were in the 1A grade of the Richmond school system in September, 1906, are divided according to their progress they will be classified as follows: Those who have completed the work of the elementary grades in normal time or less than normal time (seven years) will be called the finished group; those who have not completed the work of the elementary grades in seven years and are still in school will be called the unfinished group; and those who left school before the expiration of seven years will be called the dropped group. This classification for the 627 white children will give the following distribution:

Classification of627 white children in 1A grade in September, 1906.


For the purpose of analysis each of these groups will be studied separately.

Table 3.—Age, grade, and progress of finished group (white).


Table 3 shows that out of 627 children who were in the 1A grade September, 1906, only 4 boys and 2 girls, or less than 1 per cent (0.96 per cent), completed the elementary course in less than seven years,

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