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K 1. Showing the Social Position of the Fathers
WE, Your Majesty's Civil Service Commissioners, humbly offer to Your Majesty the following Report of our proceedings for the past year. We are the more anxious to perform this duty, because we earnestly desire to give as much publicity to all that we do as is consistent with the due fulfilment of our functions. With this view we have in our preceding Reports given copious specimens of our examination papers, and stated in general terms the various causes of rejection of candidates. On the present occasion we propose to go further in this direction, and to set forth in the Appendix the examination papers which have been set during the last year. We have made exceptions as regards the papers in arithmetic and orthography, which are of so simple and uniform a character as to render it superfluous to give more than a few examples of them; and as regards passages to be translated, we have given references to the books from which they are selected.
In the multitude of questions which will be found in the examination papers which are thus set forth-varied as they necessarily must be in order to prevent unfair advantage being taken by surreptitiously acquired knowledge of them -there are in all probability some which may deserve and will doubtless undergo adverse criticism.
Far from deprecating such criticism we shall gladly take advantage of any useful suggestions it may afford to 11s. We may venture, however, to say that the assistance we have received in this portion of our duties from gentlemen of the highest ability and of great experience induces us to believe that our examination papers will be found to be free from general and serious objections. We may
add that if in any case an exercise has been set which on further consideration seemed to be of too difficult a character, ample allowance has been made for this in estimating the performance of the candidate.
We have likewise stated in appropriate Tables the results of all the competitive examinations which have taken place in the year 1857, showing the amount of marks obtained by each candidate in each subject-mentioning, however, the actual names of those candidates only who have been successful, and have obtained certificates.
With regard, moreover, to those candidates to whom we may henceforth find ourselves obliged to refuse certificates, we have made arrangements for apprizing the candidates in which of the prescribed subjects they have failed.
We are aware that the information of details of failure thus communicated may lead to the second nomination of those who have failed, and to their coming before us a second time for examination, after devoting their attention especially to the subject of their failure; but we think that the only serious evil to be apprehended from this course of proceeding is, that a system of cramming superficial knowledge in respect of the particular deficiency may be resorted to. This evil, however, we believe ourselves able to meet and defeat, by an examination properly adapted to test the reality of such knowledge.
In our former Reports we entered so fully into explanations of the nature and subjects of our examinations, that there remain very few matters of principle to which it is necessary to address ourselves; the most important of these, i. e. the subject of competitive examinations, we shall reserve for the latter portion of this Report.
Additional Departments and Appointments to which the Order in Council has been applied.
During the last year the provisions of the Order in Council of the 21st May have been brought into practical operation with respect to several departments and several classes of appointments to which they had not been previously applied.
These departments and classes of officers are as follows:
The Ecclesiastical Commission (the arrangements for
Lunacy Board (Scotland).
Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.
Clerks to Deputy Surveyors of Royal Forests.
The subjects of examination adopted in these several, cases will be found in the Appendix annexed to this Report.
With respect to the Public Works Loan Office, the Lunacy Board (Scotland), and the Record Office, we have set forth in the Appendix the correspondence which has taken place between the departments and ourselves.
Under the impression that amongst the appointments on the establishment of the British Museum there were some which should be considered as junior situations within the meaning of the Order in Council, we addressed a letter to the Principal Librarian, Mr. Panizzi, in July last, requesting him to bring the subject under the notice of the Trustees. [See Appendix, p. 146,] Mr. Panizzi has informed us that this communication has been transmitted to the Principal Trustees, by whom all appointments in the Museum, except that of the Principal Librarian, are made; but we are not in possession of their views on the subject.
At an early period in the past year, the suggestion was conveyed to us from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland that the competitive examinations of candidates for ap pointments to Cadetships in the Irish Constabulary, which had previously been conducted by the Deputy and Assistant Inspectors-General, should thenceforth take place under our directions. To this proposed change we readily acceded, and we have hitherto conducted five such competitions, in which 28 candidates contended for six vacancies. We have also examined without competition twenty-eight Lieutenants of Revenue Police, whom it was