Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/417

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
407
DISTRIBUTION OF COLLEGE CREDITS

grades and low grades assigned to him. Thus, for example, instructor number 4 has the high rating of 41 in the quality of his students and the low rating of -23 in the assignment of grades. Instructor number 26, on the contrary, has the low rating of -21 in quality of students and the high rating of 52 in grades assigned. In other words, he has a conspicuously large proportion of the students whose general scholarship is low, and to these poor students he awards a conspicuously large proportion of high grades. Many a teacher would be surprised to discover his standing on such a scale, and the college administrator who undertakes to deal with such discrepancies, through discussion with individual members of the faculty, will do well to provide himself with a quantitative presentation of the facts.

TABLE V

A Rating of Elective Classes in Williams College

I II I II
1 113 0 16 2 41
2 113 0 17 1 42
3 77 27 18 -1 56
4 41 -23 19 -2 6
5 39 23 20 -4 -11
6 39 -21 21 -5 89
7 24 3 22 -7 63
8 20 49 23 -8 59
9 17 50 24 -14 40
10 15 34 25 -17 95
11 13 20 26 -21 52
12 9 41 27 -22 89
13 7 32 28 -30 114
14 6 58 29 -33 66
15 5 63 30 -40 73

Such regulation will be resented by many college teachers as an infringement on their rights. But academic freedom that allows each member of a faculty to do as he pleases in matters that reach far beyond the interests of his own department is intolerable license. As President Eliot has said:

A faculty can properly criticize the results of any professor's, or other instructor's, work as they appear in certain easily visible ways. Among such visible evidences are . . . the resort of obviously incompetent or uninterested students to his courses; examination papers of a trivial or pedantic sort; uniform high grades or uniform low grades returned by the professor; an extraordinary number of distinctions earned in his courses; or an extraordinary number of rejections and failures. These are legitimate subjects of inquiry by a faculty committee or by faculty officials, and can be dealt with by a faculty without impairing just academic freedom. The knowledge that this power of revision resides in a facility is a valuable control over individual eccentricities.

It is sometimes said that "there are usually some courses in a university which, from year to year, secure only an inferior grade of pupils, and other lines of work which, for various reasons, secure a dis-