« EelmineJätka »
length of the school year. Without data for measuring the efficiency of a school system in all its various aspects, manifestly the determination of the length of the school year is a mere matter of opinion, but with complete data showing the efficiency of the school with respect to its holding power, with respect to its ability to carry pupils through the several grades of the school on time, and with respect to the number of non-promoted children and their intelligence and skill in the various branches of study, the length of the school year may be fixed intelligently and with reference to social conditions and the needs of the children. Whether or not a summer term for non-promoted and retarded pupils is needed in a school system may also be decided in view of data showing the number of such children. Such data are supplied by the above and following tables.
DETERMINING STUDY-GRADES AND STUDY-VALUES
One of the most important problems in connection with education is to settle in what grades of the elementary school and years of the high
school given studies shall be taught, and to fix upon the time-value of these studies in particular grades and years. Thus far tradition and personal opinion have been large factors in determining in what grades a study appears and the amount of time given to it. There is great need of intelligent data along these lines that administrative action may be based on facts and freed from personal bias.
Table IX shows the branches included in the elementary courses of study of fifty of the largest cities of the United States, the number teaching each branch; also the grades in which each is taught and the number teaching the given subject in the respective grade.
Table X shows the average time in minutes per week devoted to each study in each grade in the schools of the following cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Francisco.
STANDARDIZING REQUIREMENTS IN STUDIES AND DEPARTMENTS
Notwithstanding the value of studies is fixed by the time alloted in the daily program, study-requirements seemingly have little relation to the value ascribed. Reading, for example, was given in 1909-10, 25.82 per cent of the total time of our elementary school, spelling 5.99 per cent, arithmetic 16.55 per cent, and geography and history combined 9.45 per cent, while in the first year of the high school Latin, English, algebra, and natural history were ascribed like value. Nevertheless, the failures in arithmetic were one-third greater than in reading, and those in geography and history combined, tho the two studies were assigned but one-third of the time, were threefold larger than in reading, whereas in the high school, 26 per cent of the children dropped out or failed in Latin, 15.9 per cent in English, 30.4 per cent in algebra, and 22 per cent in natural history. Such variations reveal a need of standardizing the requirements in studies as well as in departments. Standards for completing a study of great
value should be such as to actually put the emphasis on that study rather than that the pressure on one study, when measured by the time allotted, should be two to twenty times as great as upon another.
Table XI shows the fundamental studies in our elementary school, the enrollment and the failures in each by grades for 1909-10.
Table XII gives the enrollment in first-year Latin, English, algebra, and natural history, the number dropping out and failing in each highschool class for 1909-10.
A school, like an individual, acquires a reputation. One is reputed as being good, another poor. Quite often such opinions have no reality in fact, and the school reputed poor is in truth a good school, and vice versa. There is also wide variation in the standards of the different schools of the same system. For example, in one the failures in arithmetic mount to as high as 25 per cent; in another, doing the same work, there are none. In our high school, those failing and dropping out of first-year Latin in 1909-10 range from 26 to 41 per cent of the enrollment, in algebra from 26 to 46 per cent, in geometry (second-year study) from 23 to 45 per cent. Such variations in standards in a single system are scarcely to be countenanced. That schools should be rightly judged with regard to their work, and that there should be reasonable uniformity in the requirements of different schools of the same system, there can be little doubt. Yet, before this can be done, data must be collected with reference to the failures in different schools; upon these city-wide standards fixed, and the requirements of individual schools equalized and their work judged.
DETERMINING MODE AND METHOD OF PROMOTION
No one factor penetrates so deeply into the life of the school as method of promotion. For this involves standards of attainment and modes of advancing children from grade to grade as well as from school to school.
Total Failing and
Percentage Failures ing to End of Year
of Those Remain
Percentage of Total
From a promiscuous method of promotion, prevailing even now in country districts, there has been advance to annual promotions. Certain large cities have, however, of late broken away from the annual plan and adopted semi-annual promotions. A further step is now being advocated, that children be advanced at the end of each term of twelve or thirteen weeks. Such a plan, it is argued, will go far toward reducing repetition and retardation.
To a very considerable extent plans of promotion have been determined in view of the easy organization and administration of the school, and in view of the pleasure of the teacher. Whether the given plan conserved the best interests of the child and permitted him without undue hindrance to advance thru the school on time, has been little considered. The time, however, is at hand, when the efficiency of modes of promotion must be measured in view of effect upon educational waste; and a promotion plan devised which will enable children as a rule to complete the elementaryschool course on the average in eight years, and the high-school course in four. Such a plan must rest upon a careful study of withdrawals, retardation, and non-promotions. It must be so flexible that each child shall be permitted to advance thru school according to his ability. It must permit the bright child to advance in less than the average required time; and even tho the slow child may take longer, the average, when all the children passing thru the school are taken into account, should not be more than eight years for the elementary, and four years for the high school.
Data which may be used in measuring efficiency of old methods, and devising new methods of promotion, are found in the above tables.
DETERMINING AND EQUALIZING SCHOOL EXPENDITURE
The growing diversity in public instruction and the increased cost of education renders increasingly difficult the administration of our schools. The increasing cost of education makes necessary more detailed knowledge of the results derived and more detailed knowledge of the cost of each type of school work, and of the different lines of instruction, to the end that there may be a better weighing of needs and a more careful determination of educational values in the expenditures of public money. For in the development of our schools activity after activity has been added with the assumption that the money to carry each forward would be forthcoming. The day is, however, even now here when the claims of each separate activity must be set over against those of every other, and each line of work supported and advanced according to its worth in relation to all the other interests of the school.
Table XIV shows the cost of instruction, the enrollment, and per capita cost of instruction in each type of school in the city of Cleveland for the year 1909-10.