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most advanced candidates, and sufficient opportunities to ali who possessed a sound though less comprehensive knowledge. The only question is, whether it would be advisable to set two sets of papers, corresponding with a graduated course of lectures extending over two years.
Considering these facts, I am unwilling to propose any great change. I do not find that the principals are generally disposed to adopt a distinct course of lessons for the students in the first and in the second year. The classification according to proficiency, which is essential for lectures, does not at all correspond with that according to seniority. The Queen's scholars, and indeed most of the students, have passed through the entire course previously, and require frequent examination, recapitulation, &c., rather than a distinct series of lessons. They are, or they ought to be, generally speaking, conversant with the Four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the chief historical books of the Old Testament, the Messianic prophecies, and also with the history and contents of the Prayer-book,--subjects upon which they are periodically examined during the five years of their apprenticeship. The examination at the end of each year should be adapted to that amount of knowledge about the utility of which there is no question, and which has been proved by repeated trials to be really attained. At the last, and at former examinations, a large proportion of the most complete and satisfactory papers were worked by students who had been only one year under instruction. This was the case with the twelve candidates from Rochester, of whom seven obtained the highest, and the remaining five satisfactory marks. The only modification which appears desirable will be the extension of the supplementary portion of the examination-paper.
Arithmetic, &'c. COMPARATIVE RESULTS of the EXAMINATIONS in ARITHMETIC for
Excellent, good, or fair.
1849 1850 1851 1852 1853
47 43 76 68 227
78 105 103 112 71
19 27 36 96 9
144 175 215 276 307
COMPARATIVE Results of the last ExAMINATION, Christmas, 1853.
From these tables it appears that the improvement since 18+9 has been continuous, with the exception of one year, 1852 ; and it would seem that the failure then had a great effect upon the teachers and students. The results of the last examination indicate a most remarkable increase in the efficiency of the instruction. The improvement, moreover, has been general. In three institutions only,–Salisbury, Derby, and Cheltenham, – the proportion of “good” marks to the total is still unsatisfactory. Omitting them, we find that 206 out of 236 produced “good” or “fair” papers.
This result proves that the standard of attainment is one which the vast majority of the students can reach with proper exertions. The examination-paper last Christmas was certainly not more difficult than in former years, and the revision was entrusted to an experienced Inspector, thoroughly conversant with the subject. At Whitelands, out of seventy candidates, only five obtained lower marks than "fair," with an average training of two years; at Rochester the proportion was ten to two, with an average training of one year. So far as regards the candidates' powers, it would therefore be quite safe, if it were desirable, to propose questions of greater difficulty, or even to introduce higher branches of arithmetic.
I am, however, clearly of opinion that all objects which are really worth contending for will be accomplished, if papers such as have hitherto been proposed are worked with increasing success. They involve a thorough knowledge of all that can possibly be needed by a schoolmistress, and are sufficient to excite the candidates to great exertion, and to encourage habits of close attention, accuracy, and thoughtfulness; but some modification in the form and arrangement of this paper may be advantageously introduced. The attention of the principals has been especially called to the importance of instructing students in decimals, with reference to the conversion of money, weights, and measures to an uniform system. In all these institutions regular instruction is now given in this, which, for the future, will form a permanent subject of examination.*
In no subject was improvement more needed, in none has it been more remarkable within the last year. The number of unsatisfactory papers is reduced since 1849 from 105, upon a total of 134, to 57, upon a total of 307; while the number of “good” or “fair” papers upon the same totals has increased from 29 to 250. This is not entirely owing to the introduction of Queen's scholars; for the result of the Christmas examination in 1852, when they bore nearly the same proportion to the entire number of candidates, was far less satisfactory. I attribute it to the increased exertions of the teachers, to the growing conviction that the subject must receive more attention, and to the improved system which has been generally introduced The attention of students was formerly distracted by reference to a variety of grammars, based upon different principles. At present, most institutions
* See letter in Appendix.
adhere to a single text-book, and give whatever additional information they consider necessary in oral lectures. Much remains to be done, in order to simplify and explain the laws of language, and to divest the subject of technical terms, which are formidable obstacles even to the classical student, and a source of indescribable confusion and perplexity to young women, acquainted with no other language but their own.
I cannot, however, look without some apprehension at the results even of the last examination, confirmed and tested as they have been by my inquiries in this year's tour of inspection. Only twenty-three papers were entirely satisfactory, and the vast increase in fair parsing does not indicate a thorough perception of the laws which regulate the construction of language. Unless the exercises of the students in college are carefully revised, and the number of teachers engaged in this duty somewhat increased, the improvement is not unlikely to pass away. It will be remarked that nearly all the papers with low marks came from Cheltenham, the Home and Colonial, Derby, and Salisbury. The attention of the managers will of course be directed to the causes of this comparative deficiency. Having taken pains to examine the students in many institutions orally, I am glad to say that I, and those of my colleagues who assisted me in the several districts, found them generally better instructed in the analysis of sentences than in any former year. I must especially record our satisfaction with the improvement at Salisbury and Derby, and with the intelligence of the students at York, Rochester, Warrington, and Norwich.
I am of opinion that the form of the examination-paper on this subject may be sufficiently modified, without altering the standard, which I believe to be generally approved.
I regret very much that some standard work of English literature has not been agreed upon as a special subject of examination in each year.
Domestic Economy. COMPARATIVE Results of the ExAMINATions in DOMESTIC Economy,
Excellent, good, or fair.
Moderate, imperfeet, or
1849 1850 1851 1952 1853
72 83 97 208 226
72 75 118 65 81
COMPARATIVE Result of the ExAMINATION of the TRAINING Schools
at Christmas, 1853.
The improvement in this subject has also been continuous since 1849, with the exception of one year, 185). It has, in fact, been much greater than the numbers in the table indicate; the questions have gradually been made more searching, and the answers have contained more accurate as well as more extensive information. It is perfectly true that the results do not correspond with the comparative attainments of candidates in practical housekeeping. The papers from institutions where no special instruction is given are sometimes better than those from others where great attention has been given to the subject. Indeed, the goodness of the answers depends more upon good sense, general information, and habits of observation, than upon the system of training in each institution. But all this may be admitted without any disparagement to the effect of written examinations. It is mainly because such examination is known to be regarded as indispensable to success, that a complete syllabus bas been formed, and a course of lectures given, as I believe, without an exception, in every institution. And I have reason to know that a large proportion of students spend much time in collecting interesting and useful information from books on this subject. The study of common things,* which has lately been urged with so much earnestness by many distinguished persons, has taken this direction in most institutions, and many valuable lessons on matters touching the health, comfort, and personal
* In all my early reports upon the training institutions, beginning with that upon Salisbury in 1847, the study of “common things ” (i.e. practical knowledge of all matters connected with housekeeping and the objects that surround people in ordinary life) was strongly pressed upon the attention of managers.