Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 75.djvu/397

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393
LATIN VS. GERMAN

LATIN VS. GERMAN
By Professor RALPH H. McKEE, Ph.D.

LAKE FOREST COLLEGE

CERTAIN arguments have from time to time been presented favoring a rule requiring all students to present Latin for entrance to college, rather than to place the ancient and modern languages on an equal footing. The following very suggestive data were obtained from the records of Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Ill., and presented to the faculty of that institution. In the thought that others might be interested they are now publicly presented, though with some hesitation, owing to the comparative smallness of the number of students under observation, the class entering each year being ordinarily about fifty-five.

Greek and French being but rarely given in the high schools of Illinois and the adjoining states, the question actually comes to a question of German vs. Latin. It was thought that, by a study of the data available from the college records, evidence of the comparative value of the two languages, as now taught in the high schools, might be obtained. The statistics have given an answer showing that German is unquestionably as desirable as Latin as a requirement for entrance to college.

It has been claimed that the student with Latin preparation for college does better work in college than the student whose high-school language preparation has been German.

The records of Lake Forest College show that in so far as grades indicate the quality of work done in the various departments and that is the purpose of giving grades they show that the student, whose language preparation for entrance has been German presents work of fully as good quality as that of the student whose language preparation has been Latin.

If Latin were really better than German for preparation for college entrance, then the students of Group 1 would have the highest grades, the students of 2A higher than 2B and 2C, and the students of 3A higher than 3B and 3C. The facts are exactly contrary to the above, the students whose language preparation has been German proving to be better students than those who have presented Latin for college entrance.

It has been claimed that the study of Latin is particularly valuable as a preparation for work in English, far better than the modern languages.