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MEASURING PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT
Under present conditions it is no longer sufficient for administrative purposes to know the total enrollment in all schools of a system, the total number of teachers, and the total expenditure for a given year. Furthermore, it is not sufficient for purposes of publicity, or for administration, merely to report year by year the facts about the teaching force, about the enrollment, and expenditure for instruction. Nor to report year by year the facts about the number of pupils per teacher, the per capita cost of instruction in different types of schools, or to report the facts about retardation, withdrawals, non-promotions, failures in studies, number going to high school and to college, or the time taken on the average to complete the course of a given school. There is need that these separate facts for each year be correlated, and those for a series of years be brought together and so arranged as to bring to view the movements and developments both within the system as a whole, and within each separate type of school. Only in some such way can a correct idea of growth and progress be acquired sufficiently definite for administrative purposes.
The following tables are illustrative of such data:
Table XV shows cost of instruction—that is, amount paid for salaries of supervisors, principals, and teachers in all schools and in each type of
school for the years 1906-10, the percentage of total spent on each type of school, and percentage of increase in 1910 over that in 1906.
Table XVI shows the enrollment in the regular day elementary school, for the years 1901-10, the number of teachers in the regular day elementary school, the number pupils per teacher, the decrease in number pupils per teacher over preceding year, and the percentage of decrease in number pupils per teacher in 1910 over 1901.
* Exclusive of transfers and the enrollment of all special schools other than backward schools. † Includes all teachers in day elementary school except those in Deaf School, Boys' School, special schools (Defective), and School for Cripples.
Table XVII shows cost of instruction in special schools for physically and mentally defective children, the enrollment, per capita cost of instruction, the number of teachers and the average number of pupils per teacher, for the years 1906-10.
Special schools were first organized by the Board of Education during the school year of 1904-5.
MEASURING EFFICIENCY OF INSTRUCTION
The present-day school differs from that of two or three generations ago. Old studies have received new content, new studies have been added, and methods of instruction improved; in a word, the spirit and purposes of the school have changed. The reasons for the differences between the school of the present and that of the past not being readily understood,
the present-day school comes in for criticism. It is affirmed that children. do not read as well, spell as well, or write as well as in the past, and that they have not the same skill in arithmetic as formerly. Such criticism is, of course, the eternal protest of the old against the new. Yet for school men to go on year after year denying this protest, and affirming that present-day instruction is even better than in the past, will no longer suffice. Public criticism must be met by facts, and the affirmations of school men must rest upon positive knowledge.
One of the means, at least, of testing efficiency of present-day instruction is thru the giving of old examinations. In our system, fortunately, there were ready to hand the questions and the results of examinations given in the schools of Cleveland five and even fifty years ago. The regiving of such tests has, of course, its limitations. Still only as data are collected and presented which are a reasonable measure of efficiency, will the public be made to believe that there is increasing power in the imparting of knowledge, and that the schools of the present are more effective than those of the past.
The following tables are typical of the data that may be collected relative to the efficiency in present-day instruction:
Table XVIII shows the number of children taking the spelling examination of 1858 and taking the same examination in 1909, the of misspelled words per pupil, and the average percentage of efficiency in both years.
FIG. 4. Black shows percentage of efficiency for spelling test given in Cleveland schools in 1858, and for same regiven 1909.
Table XIX shows the number of pupils taking the arithmetic examination in 1856 and taking the same examination in 1909, the average number of correct answers per pupil, and the average percentage of efficiency for both years.
FIG. 5-Black shows percentage of efficiency for arithmetic test given in Cleveland schools 1856, and for same regiven 1909.
ENLIGHTENING THE PUBLIC
Not only are carefully collected and well-organized statistics vital to the judicious administration of the school, but such data serve as the most effective means of enlightening the public with reference to educational needs and conditions. The growing complexity of modern-city-life militates against parents having to any extent first-hand knowledge of the school. Indeed, the average citizen knows little of the purposes, range of activities, and methods of modern education. The necessity of systematic effort toward acquainting the public with the problems and needs of the school is now felt on every hand.
In such a campaign mere assertion, personal opinion, personal bias have little weight. The public only takes seriously those presentations of school needs and conditions which are based upon carefully collected and well-interpreted facts. Only by the use of such data, set forth by means of tables, colored circles, curves, black-line graphs, or other graphic representations, can the people be made acquainted with the whole work of the school, be made to realize where the school breaks down, be brought to understand the necessity of certain adjustments within the school, be brought to appreciate the propriety of expending such large sums of public money upon education. Only by these means can the public be convinced that the modern school, despite its wide range of instruction and activities, is more effective than the school of the past, and is seeking as never before to serve all the children and all the people of the community.