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Because of the omission of the absolute units from the syllabus, we may infer that the omission of the quantitative treatment of force (as mass-acceleration) and of Newton's laws of motion is to be permitted. If the majority of teachers will interpret it in this way, a great step in advance will have been made. The number of hours that is annually wasted in attempting to teach the quantitative side of the topics in the last paragraph is appalling. It is to be hoped that teachers are now ready to follow the advice of Professor Edwin H. Hall of Harvard, when he says: 2“I should have been perfectly willing, in my capacity as a college teacher of physics, to see all reference to the quantitative aspect of Newton's laws of motion excluded from the revised physics requirement of the College Entrance Examination Board. But the school teachers of physics have ruled otherwise, and accordingly we are still concerned, in associations such as those meeting at Hartford, to find the most profitable exercise dealing with the facts and laws of acceleration." And again: “I gave the inclined plane method (of finding the accelerating action of a uniform force) a painstaking trial for two or three years; but it was finally cut out, not so much because my pupils could not get satisfactory measurements of distances traveled in one, two, or three seconds, as because we could not make profitable use of such data when we had them. Let the teacher who thinks of setting up such an exercise as that here alluded to, or any other giving like results, assume that his pupil has found the distances correctly. What is to be done with them? We can show the pupil that, if acceleration has been uniform, the distances for one second, for two seconds, for three seconds, etc., must be in the ratios of one, four, nine, etc. Suppose that he applies this test and finds that his measured distances do have these ratios. What have we learned ? That the center of a ball rolling down an incline, under the conditions here existing, has uniform acceleration. Is this result sufficiently instructive to justify the time and care that have been given to the exercise? I think not. Such was, and still is, my conclusion after some years of trial.”
*Report of the joint meeting of the Physics Club of New York and the Eastern Association of Physics Teachers, April 24, 1909, p. 36.
Had the committee applied Professor Hall's criteria to all the topics in the syllabus, I am sure some of the objectionable ones would have been omitted. When you have the result, what is the student to do with it? What has he learned ? Is the result of sufficient value and use to the pupil, not to the physicist, to justify the time and effort that must be expended on it? Are there other topics that would give the pupil larger educational returns for the same time and effort ?
At the meeting of the Department of Superintendence of the National Education Association in Chicago last February, Professor J. L. Meriam suggested four principles to guide in the selection and arrangement of the content of a curriculum. In the hope that physics teachers will make constant use of them in framing their individual courses, as they are free to do under the new requirement, I will in closing quote them.
1. That content has a place in the physics course which meets real, present needs of the pupils.
2. Only that content has a rightful place, in the study of which the pupil has a conscious motive.
3. Only that content may be admitted which the pupil can comprehend and the significance of which he can appreciate.
4. Only that content may be admitted which contributes to the continuity in the development of the special problem being studied.
C. R. MANN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
'Proceedings of the Department of Superintendence, 1909, page 17.
A NEW METHOD OF ADMISSION TO COLLEGE 1
When I heard the secretary read just now the minutes of the 160th meeting of this organization, and when I recalled the subject upon which I have been asked to speak briefly and informally this morning, I felt moved to paraphrase a familiar line of Horace, to the end of suggesting that, while we have changed our date, we have not altered our problem. I am one of the very few persons in this room—there are not more than two or three, I think, at most—who recall the meeting at which this Association was organized. It was organized for the express purpose of considering the question of college admission and the problems relating to it; I find now, by the terms of your order of business, that you are still dealing with that problem today. It would not be fair, however, for me to infer, or to permit you to infer, that no progress has been made in regard to this matter during the past eighteen or twenty years. As a matter of fact, we have progressed far more rapidly and in a far more healthy direction, than I, for one, should have ventured to hope when you first came together in this Schoolmasters' Association.
Moreover, this particular body has taken a very leading part in what has been done. Those of you who have come into this Association in recent years may not be familiar with the early committees and early reports by which the scholarship and experience of the schoolmasters of this city and vicinity found expression in ways that have since commended themselves very widely to colleges, and that have helped to bring about new relations between colleges and schools generally.
There is nothing that I could say about this subject in a * Stenographic report of an address before the Association of Schoolmasters of New York and Vicinity, April 24, 1909.
technical way that you do not already know; because many of you are brought face to face with its technical details every year. Therefore, I shall confine myself to speaking about some general principles which underlie the problem of college admission, and which are now coming to be more or less clearly understood.
In the first place, let me remind you of the extreme difficulty of the problem of college admission, owing to the condition in which our American education finds itself. Before one can secure the consideration of any of these large educational questions in the public interest, he must first instil into the minds of those who control the policies of a given educational institution that it exists primarily for the public service. Not a few colleges have considered themselves and still consider themselves entirely private institutions without any accountability to the public interest or to public opinion, no matter how many students they have, or how large the endowments they control. They choose to think that they represent some particular type of education, and they feel compelled to stand for that type or ideal, come what may. As a matter of fact, they do not stand for any particular type or ideal, except selfish lack of public spirit, and incapacity for coöperation. We have all of us seen a great deal of injury done to secondary school work by individuals who hold positions of influence in the college service, and who have resisted the invitation of schools to coöperate in working out their common educational problems in ways that would serve the largest public interests.
Very great progress has been made since this Association was organized, however, and it has been made chiefly thru the establishment of the College Entrance Examination Board, which this Association was influential in founding, and has been influential in conducting. It was obvious that if we were to go forward in regard to this question, we must at least progress to the point where the schools and colleges should be brought to understand that they have a common problem. We have now gone so far as to secure thru the College Entrance Examination Board not only a single uniform system of college admission examinations, held all over the United States; not only a single uniform system of reading and rating the examination books of candidates; but we are able to do these things by the coöperation of school and college teachers. Moreover, by this same coöperation we are now able to secure revision and simplification of the definitions of subjects or topics on which examinations for admission to college are set, in the interest of better secondary school organization and teaching.
A striking, and what seems to me a rather dramatic, incident in this regard took place in this city just one week ago. You are all aware how unsatisfactory the definition of the college entrance requirement in physics has been for many years. You know how unfortunate it was alike in its emphasis and in its details. You know how urgent were the influences that led to its original formulation and that it was accepted because any uniform definition of physics seemed better than no definition at all. The complaints against it were so emphatic and so widespread, particularly in the Western States, that the College Entrance Examination Board two years ago secured the appointment of a committee to revise that definition and to bring it into a more satisfactory condition. A year ago it appeared that this committee could not agree upon a unanimous report, or, indeed, upon any report. The matter was farther considered, differing views began to be harmonized, and it was finally agreed that the proposals of the committee should be referred to a commission of six secondary school teachers, and that all parties in interest would abide by whatever determination these six secondary school teachers might reach. They arrived at a unanimous conclusion, and on Saturday last their report was adopted by the College Entrance Examination Board. In other words, there is now to be a great change in an important subject of secondary school study, and an important subject on which college admission examinations are set, which change is the result of study and conference on the part of both college and secondary school teachers. It yet remains to be seen whether what the six representative secondary school teachers chosen from New England, the Middle States, and the West, have agreed upon is