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NOTICE.—A Further Report on the Exeter Examination, drawn up by
LONDON: PRINTED BY W. CLOW ES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET,
AND CHARING CROSS.
The Examination Papers used at Exeter in June last are now published, partly for the satisfaction of those who are locally interested, partly as a basis on which to collect information for future examinations. It will probably strike most persons at first sight that the questions cover too much ground. To obviate this objection, the circumstances of the examination should be explained.
One hundred and twenty candidates entered their names, and a hundred and seyen actually assembled at Exeter. They came from schools of various kinds-from grammar-schools and commercial schools; and two litile fellows, from a National school, walked twenty miles in order to be present. Some of the candidates had left school for some time, and had been carrying on their own studies. The employments for which the youths were destined were connected with the various branches of agriculture, commerce, and the arts, and the courses of education they had pursued were widely different. It was necessary to provide for all these varieties, and at the same time to detain the candidates for the shortest possible period at the place of assembly.
The scheme was not publicly proposed until last Christmas; and the first step taken was to address a letter to the master of every commercial school in Devonshire, and to some of the masters in the adjacent counties,* requesting information as to the course of education pursued, and the books used in their respective schools. The opinions of some intelligent parents in the middle ranks, as to the kind of knowledge required in business, were also ascertained.
* Recourse was had to a printed list for Devonshire; no similar list for Cornwall and Somerset could be found.
Notices, drawn up with a view to satisfy the reasonable expectations of both these classes of persons, were issued in February. The Board of Examiners was not constituted till March, and on the 14th of that month the final notice was issued. The examiners, therefore, were not responsible for the general outline of the examination, but only for the mode of carrying it into effect.
The subjects of examination were arranged under four heads or departments, designated respectively
A. Religious Knowledge.
A preliminary examination in reading, writing, and arithmetic, was to be passed by all candidates without exception; an examination on religious knowledge by all whose parents did not object, and one hundred candidates were in fact examined in this subject. All candidates for prizes in Department D were required to pass creditably either in Department B, or in Department C. It was found impossible to devote less than one entire day to each department.
The general arrangement was to devote three hours in the forenoon to an elementary or general paper, and to allow four hours in the afternoon for more advanced or more detailed knowledge. To meet the case of the junior candidates, a second elementary paper was prepared for the afternoon (in A and B), for which two hours were allotted ; leaving two hours for one of the more advanced subjects. In C this arrangement was unnecessary, on account of the mixed character of the questions in the two papers of Pure and Mixed Mathematics. On the fourth day the candidates in Department D were much fewer than on the three former days. The morning examination was rather general than elementary. In the afternoon the candidates were allowed to choose one of three papers, prepared with a special reference to Agriculture, Commerce, and the Arts.
The subjects of Drawing and Music were also assigned to the
fourth day, being, for the most part, selected by those candidates who declined the higher or special examination on that day ; some candidates were examined in drawing on previous afternoons on which they were disengaged. It
may be remarked generally, that a much larger number of questions was set than any one candidate was expected to answer, and that questions suited to the younger and older candidates were included in the same paper. This arrangement was adopted in order to give to every candidate the widest range of selection, and the least occasion for subsequent complaint. Considering the various circumstances of the youths, no other plan presented so little prospect of inconvenience, and no inconvenience did in fact result from the course adopted.
The Committee are bound to acknowledge their great obligations to Mr. Temple and Mr. Bowstead for the labour which they undertook in arranging the various examination papers, and collecting and revising the final results. They were also indebted to Mr. Hayward, Surveyor of County Buildings in Devon ; Mr. Wigzell, Master of the Exeter School of Art; and to Dr. Miller, for valuable suggestions and assistance before and during the examination.
The Notices to Competitors, defining the nature of the examination, and referring to suitable books, together with other documents, relative to the Middle Class Examinations at the Universities, are to be found in a pamphlet entitled,
, “ Middle Class Education: West of England Examination, and Prizes, &c. By T. D. Acland. Published by Ridgway, price 1s."
Some Extracts from the Notices are here appended, in order to show the relative bearing of the different parts of the examination
EXTRACTS FROM NOTICE I. Preliminary Examination.—All Candidates will be examined in writing from dictation, in the four First Rules of Arithmetic, and (if time permits) in reading aloud, before they are admitted to compete for any of the Prizes.
Competitive Examination. Each Candidate will be required to pass an