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academic work, and to boys and girls of students were adapted to classical work, high intelligence with a practical turn of except in cases where they had shown ability mind.
by superior scholarship in elementary school. For some years after the passing of com- Today we can prophesy, with a reliability pulsory attendance laws for pupils of high as high as 80 per cent, ability or nonschool age, boys and girls in large numbers ability to succeed with “academic” work. flocked into the classical high school, or While it has been noted that many of the classical course. It was better established; most superior pupils are found in other generally it had better teachers. The schools, practically all those who succeed situation may be compared to immigrants in the classical course are above normal in swarming into New York or Massachusetts. mental ability. They did not look for the course best suited Figures show an average superiority of to their needs; all courses looked alike to over a year in mental age upon entrance, them. Of course there was no room for even though nearly half the freshman class many of them. In less than a year fully have I. Q.'s below 110. half of them had either left or become most In one school,' at the end of the first ten undesirable citizens. They could not “do weeks, five out of six freshmen having I. Q.'s Latin” even when they tried; they knew below 90 had been eliminated. Twentythey would never use it; and they hated the one of sixty-nine having I. Q.’s below 110 school and the teacher who made them take had failed in at least half their work, and only it-like castor oil.
one of these pupils had made A's and B's. There was just one thing for the teachers On the other hand of thirty-six pupils with to do under such circumstances. Since they I. Q.'s above 120, eighteen had made all A's must of course teach Latin and the binomial and B's and none of them had failed. theorem to their students who would go on It is evident, then, that a pupil having an to college, they must get rid of the disturb- I. Q. below 110 has little chance of doing ing element which could not, or as they often well in a classical course. He may, of thought "would not,” do Latin and algebra. course, and if his past records are good, he Resort was had to the time-honored custom should not be advised too strongly against of “Aunking-out," as fast as they could, all trying, but should be watched carefully. undesirables. When these undesirables got Advice to pupils when they select their tired of flunking, and incidentally got old courses will eliminate as it has eliminated, enough to leave, they left to go to work or to many failures. It will reinstate the classical enter one of the other high schools.
school as a specialized course adapted to The school was right. The system was students of high intelligence who have also wrong. Since the avowed purpose of the mental traits insuring good scholarship and classical course was to prepare for college interest in learning for learning's sake. It and the professions, it had no right to keep will save and make good citizens of those pupils unfitted for that end-although that was other pupils, some of them of higher intellibefore colleges began to "limit enrollment."
gence, who are unfitted to be lawyers or The system was wrong. Pupils unable to
Pupils unable to ministers but who would make excellent do classical work, or uninterested, should business men or engineers, never have entered a classical school.
Figures quoted here are for The Classical High School, Providence, Ten years ago we could not tell what
R. I. 1921–22.
The control of educational processes is very low. Our boasted knowledge is mostly traditional ignorance masquerading.
-S. A. Courtis, Journal of Ed. Research, June, 1926, page 40.
CLASS SIZE IN UNIVERSITIES
[The British Admiralty after cruising up and down the Thames in a barge equipped with John Ericsson's screw propeller declined to supplant paddle wheels with it on the ground that large vessels screw-driven could not be steered. The American naval board refused to allow the Monitor's guns to be loaded with Ericsson's specified charge. “It is too great." Afterwards twice the charge was regularly used. The Pratt Institute high-school building was constructed with classrooms holding only twenty-four seats. “Experience has always shown that a larger class cannot be properly taught.” Oh, these measurers! With statistics and graphs they are uprooting all that we hold dear. Along comes Professor Hudelson, of the University of Minnesota. We wouldn't mind so much a Foundation agent or a surveyor from the School of Finance. But Hudelson is one of ours-he fills the chair of Education. Even he applies the measuring stick to one of our cherished declarations.)
THE greatest single determinant of they reach the senior college level. As long
educational expense is the cost of in- as the unprecedented number of freshmen
struction. This is true even in ele- who surge over university campuses each mentary schools, is still more true in second fall continue to be assigned to classes of ary education, while at the university level thirty or less there seems to be no relief from the relation between class size and edu- this condition. The faculty is beginning to cational cost approaches a reciprocal rela- wonder if larger classes offer a solution. tion. The major factors involved in in A number of studies of more or less signistructional costs are salary schedule and ficance on one or another phase of the questeaching load. Teaching load includes hours tion of class size have been made during the of teaching and number of students. As last thirty years. Most of these studies these factors are ordinarily administered employed the best investigative techniques to-day, class size is the greatest single de- available at the time. They range all the terminant of educational cost. Increasing way from the mere comparison of teachers' the size of classes, then, offers such an obvious subjective marks through improvised local and tempting means of lowering the cost of achievement tests up to standardized outeducation that the whole question of the re come tests administered to carefully paired lation of class size to educational economy or pupils in small and large classes under conefficiency warrants a wide but thorough and trolled conditions. They also range from impartial investigation.
a few pupils up to Stevenson's recent investiThere is another reason why the question gations in the school systems of Chicago, of class size at the university level should Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, and Toledo. be seriously considered. At the University All but five of the studies on class size of Minnesota, for example, approximately have been confined to the elementary school eighty-five per cent. of the teaching in the and of these five, only two have been related arts college is being done in junior-college to education on the university level. The courses. This means that less than one Universities of Michigan and Minnesota fifth of the resources of this college are avail- seem thus far to be the only ones audacious able for instruction at a distinctly university enough to raise the question of class size, level or at a graduate level. The facilities and at Michigan the investigation seems to of the physical plant and the energy of the have spent its force on a single experiment in faculty are being usurped by students before a single course. Whatever curiosity may
have germinated in other universities was the administration of experiments and in the probably nipped in the bud by such re- interpretation of results. actions as I had from the head of a depart No pressure has been exerted at Minnesota ment in an eastern university. “I should to induce any instructor to coöperate. The say not!” he replied. “It has taken me members of the sub-committee on class size twenty years to get classes in my department were chosen because of their known interest down to the right size. Do you suppose I in the problem. Though their private opinam going to allow all of my work to be ions differed as to the optimum size of undone?” I wrote to an administrator in classes, all were eager to find out the facts. another institution, asking him to send me The temptation, therefore, was to go gunthe names of any of his instructors who have ning—to take the offensive. If such a policy had experience in teaching large classes. I had been pursued I am confident that I explained that I wanted to ask them whether could have limited this paper to three words they had found any particular techniques of Nothing to report! teaching especially adapted to large classes. The sub-committee's conception of its He replied, “Fortunately I have no such functions is indicated in a report which it teachers; but if I had you would not need to made to the general committee on research bother to write to them. I can answer your over a year ago: question. Large classes will not work." When I asked a professor in another middle The sub-committee on class size believes that west university whether they had ever seri- its proper duty is to stand ready to advise and ously considered the possibility of larger assist in the technical aspects of any experiment classes, he replied, “No, we don't have the
which an instructor may wish to conduct. It courage!”
is felt particularly that the sub-committee may
be of service (1) where intelligence tests need to At the University of Minnesota the inves
be selected and administered; (2) in pairing stutigations on class size, planned to continue dents; (3) where instructors desire to supplement indefinitely and already in their second year, their regular examinations by objective tests; and were instituted under particularly favorable (4) in the statistical study and interpretation of auspices. The president, two years ago, the results of the experiments. appointed a committee on university research, composed of the deans of the various The success of the investigations thus far colleges and a few other faculty members in- has been due, in my opinion, mainly to these terested and trained in research, whose pur two facts: (1) that the sub-committee was pose was to investigate whatever it might sired by a representative faculty committee conceive to be outstanding educational prob- capable of seeing both the administrative lems of the University of Minnesota. At and the research aspects of the problem, and least three instructors had already carried on (2) that the sub-committee had the right independent experiments on class size in their conception of its functions. I dwell upon courses and had found some rather discon- these points because I consider them more certing indications. These isolated studies important to us at Minnesota and to any and Edmonson's report of his experiment at other university that may wish to study the Michigan had come to the attention and problem, than any facts about class size aroused the interest of the committee on that we have yet ascertained. research. It decided to encourage further Controlled experiments have thus far investigations along this line. A sub- been conducted by seven instructors in six committee was appointed to draw up sug different courses in three different colleges. gestive experimental techniques for attacking In the arts college two instructors have carthe problem, to make these techniques avail- ried on separate experiments through five able to any instructor who might be inter- successive quarters in elementary psychology sted, and to offer its technical services in Both plan to continue the experiment indef
initely. Classes in each experiment contain The only stipulation as to methods of inthirty and sixty students carefully paired on struction and classroom management is that the bases of intelligence and past scholarship the same procedure shall be followed in both records. This course offers a rich field for sections. A log or diary of his procedure controlled experiments because of the res- is kept by each instructor. Unusually freervoir of nearly a thousand students from quent and thorough tests are administered which carefully paired students may be to both classes. These tests are usually of drawn.
the objective type but are sometimes supIn the college of law, experiments have plemented by subjective quizzes. Each stubeen conducted in the courses on contracts dent in one section is paired with a student in and criminal law. These two courses were the other section on the basis of intelligence taught by different instructors but included and, in some experiments, on other bases the same students. The instructors are now also. This method of pairing insures that waiting for the results to be analyzed and the two groups are comparable, both as to until more objective tests have been devised central tendency and variability, to the defor their courses.
gree that the standards of selection are reIn the college of education experiments on liable. class size have been carried on for five quar In most of the courses where the experiters in educational psychology and in two ment has been repeated, the same teaching other required teacher-training courses called procedure has been followed each term. "The High School" and "General Methods This is not, however, a stipulation. One inof High School Instruction." Each has structor of a teacher-training course who has been conducted by a different instructor, or conducted the experiment through five sucby him and his assistant. The relative size cessive quarters, has used a distinctly differof classes has ranged from three to one to ent method of teaching each time. Once he seven to one.
employed the lecture method exclusively; In addition to those of the above experi- next time he used only the question-andments which are being continued, an experi- answer method; next he confined the class ment is being planned for the spring quarter work to topical discussions; next he organin the course of anatomy in the college of ized the content of the course into problems; medicine, and the feasibility of investiga- and, finally, he had his class observe demontions in several other departments is not stration teaching frequently and based the being considered. One department, for in- recitation work wholly upon questions which stance, has just received appropriations for a his students raised as a result of their obnew building. It has approached the re servations. The hope of the sub-committee search committee for help in determining ex on class size is to have the problem studied perimentally the size of classrooms and labo- from as many different angles, under as ratories that the new building should contain. many typical conditions, by as many teach
The question constantly recurs: How small ers and teaching methods, in as many colis a small class and how large is a large one? leges, departments, and courses, and with The sub-committee has taken the attitude as many educational aims in view as possible. that the difference in size between the two A detailed study of the results of such classes should be so much bigger than any complex experiments is a slow process. It other variable in the experiment that any involves such questions as the effect of pupil differences in results are more apt to be due homogeneity upon class size; the relation of to class size than to any other factor. Any- class size to the median intelligence level of thing below thirty has been called a small the classes; the magnitude of difference in class. The large classes have ranged from IWholly apart from the effect of class size, it may be of interest to
some of you to know that it made po apparent difference which of sixty to two hundred and fifty, with the
and examinations the median scores of all five classes were practiratio ranging from two to one to seven to one. cally identical.
the five methods of teaching the instructor used-on the same tests
size between the two sections; the nature of not been detected in these experiments bethe course; the relative showing of the two cause no one knew how to measure them groups on subjective tests, on objective reliably. All that can be claimed is that tests, on the final examination, on oral reci- when measured in terms that are commonly tations, and on written reports; the attitude employed in university classes, these stuof the students toward class size; the physical dents seemed to be unaffected by class and emotional effects of large and small size. classes upon the teacher; the possibility of Neither the general research committee at instructional or clerical assistance in large Minnesota nor the sub-committee on class classes; the relation of teaching methods and size is ready to propose a general increase in class organization to class size; and the the size of university classes. They are not physical and other practical limitations of ready to make recommendations either way. class size. An analysis of the results in the They hope, instead, that experiments will be light of these and other considerations is pursued in many other departments under now being made for each experiment that has various instructors in various courses under been completed. It will be some time before various conditions and methods of teaching. detailed results are known.
It is to be hoped, also, that other universities Certain general tendencies, however, seem will find it feasible to study the problem on to be emerging. It appears that, on the their campuses so that results at Minnesota whole, the size of classes in the courses thus may be checked. far investigated has little or no effect upon If further investigations confirm the results measured in terms of student achieve- Michigan and Minnesota evidence that ment. What slight differences exist seem differences in efficiency between small and to be favorable to the large classes, and the large classes are so slight under present method of teaching employed does not seem methods of instruction and classroom manto affect this difference.
agement, the question arises: Can classroom It may be that there are important edu- technique be refined or modified so as to cational outcomes accruing, or at least ac produce results distinctly favorable to larger cruable, only from small classes which have university classes?
WHEN THE CONVENTION IS ONLY HALF DONE
CARL G. MILLER
[Here is sound sense and timely. The young man who writes it teaches journalism in the Lewis and Clark High School, Spokane.]
EWSPAPER publicity for an edu- in their city, and the public at large has a
cational convention, which is certainly certain amount of curiosity over who is the
one consideration in this vast subject person honored as president, nominal as of “interpreting the schools to the public,” this office so many times is. But it is not is not always what it might be. Newspapers fair to class an educational convention with always tell the people what is the next con other conventions in this matter of publicity vention city and who is the next president of because education is so much the affair of the the association. They do this for every kind public; much more so than lumbering, lodge of convention. Business men are always work, medicine, and all the other kinds interested to know that next year a large of occupations and organizations the protagnumber of out-of-town customers will be onists of which are in the habit of assem