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the results of the trials can be presented in no better way than in statistical tables.
“The record of attendance must embrace the following particulars, and may be much extended.
“1st. Whole number of pupils enrolled during the year.
" This must not be confounded with the whole number in the district or town of legal age to attend school, as shown by the
“ 2d. Number transferred during the year.
“These names will have been entered twice, and their number must be deducted from the first item in order to give the number of different pupils that have attended during the year.
“3d. Average number belonging to the school or town. “ 4th. Average daily attendance.
“In order that these statistics may possess value, the original entries must be correct. This, it is believed, has too often not been the case. The records required by committees and superintendents, instead of being few and simple, have often been complex and voluminous, and teachers seeing little use made of them, have grown negligent. The popular distrust which has arisen in consequence of carelessness, has been urged as an excuse for continued want of care. Cases are found in which the average attendance is greater than the whole number registered, and also greater than the number of seats in the building. Such want of care admits of no justification. Correctness is the demand of honesty.
“ The meaning of the several headings should be made perfectly obvious. There is oftener fault in this particular than those who make the forms and reports are aware of.
" We believe the average number belonging to be the proper number for all estimates of expenses, per cent. of attendance, nunber of pupils to a teacher, etc. We find no dissent from this opinion where we have been able to consult.
“How shall the average number belonging to the school be determined ? To obtain the whole number of names enrolled' is easy ; so of the average attendance ;' but with this quite other. wise.
“We would suggest the following modes of determining who are members, as either of them would be better than the present want of method :
“Ist. That, without the present attempt at uniformity, the school report should always contain an intelligible account of the method by which the average number belonging' is obtained. The consideration of these different methods will have a tendency, year by year, to produce uniformity. Or,
• 2d. That the account of membership, for this purpose, be entirely disconnected from the exclusions from school which are of a penal kind; and that, whatever the cause of the absence may be, decease alone being excepted, the pupil be considered a member for a certain number of days, say four, after he has ceased to attend that on the fifth day the name be dropped.”
The following extract is taken from the report of a committee of the Massachusetts State Teachers Association, prepared by John D. Philbrick, Esq., Superintendent of Schools, Boston:
“ To ascertain the average whole number belonging with uniformity and exactness, is the most difficult matter connected with educational statistics. The percentage of attendance based on this, and ascertained by dividing the average daily attendance by the average whole number belonging, is what has been aptly denominated, by the late president of this association, in an article on the subject, in the March number of the Massachusetts Teacher, the true merit of attendance. Now this percentage may be increased in two ways; first, by making the dividend as large as possible, that is, the daily attendance; and so far as teachers and scholars are concerned, all the merit lies here. As a general rule, the attendance of a pupil should not be counted, unless he is present during the session, or long enough to substantially accomplish the work of the session."
In 1860, Ira Divoll, Esq., Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, issued a circular on this subject to superintendents and school commissioners, from which the following extracts are taken:
Registration of Pupils and Attendance. — This portion of statistical matter should embrace
“1. The whole number of pupils en rolled, of each sex (exclusive of duplicate registrations caused by transferring).
" 2. The average number belonging, for the year.
“The character of the attendance of pupils determines the de gree of usefulness of schoolsRecords of tardiness and punctuality are also important.
"The ages of the pupils enrolled are important in determining the standing and grades of different schools. It is also desirable to know the minimum and maximum ages at which pupils are admitted to school in different cities.
“ Statistics showing the number of children represented by parents in particular occupations, are valuable, in determining, as nearly as possible, to what degree the different classes of society avail themselves of the advantages of public schools.
“The nativity of children is important enough to be noted in school reports. The degree of homogeneity among the scholars has its influence on the standing of the school.
-" The number of pupils in different studies also determines the grade and standing of the schools.
“Whenever evening schools are a part of the public-school system, they should be as carefully and reliably reported as the day schools.
“A clear distinction should be made in items of cost, between those for the schools proper, and for other purposes.
“ If any thing useful is to come from comparing the school statistics of one city with those of another, they must not only be. correct, but they must be uniform. Suppose the average number of pupils belonging (as this is the number for which accommodations and instruction must be provided), be taken as the basis for estimating cost, the question at once arises, . How shall this average number belonging to school be determined ?' After a child has been registered as a member of the school, when, and for what causes, shall his connection be severed ; and how long shall he be considered a member while he is absent? Shall his name be stricken from the roll immediately, or shall it remain for a day, a week, a month, or a quarter? Shall the reasons of his absence be considered in deter
mining this matter? He may be absent on account of truancy, sickness of himself, sickness in the family, doing errands, visiting, working, and a variety of excuses.
“The rules on this subject, in St. Louis, are as follows:
“1. A pupil may be suspended (not expelled) for a variety of causes, and while under suspension his name is stricken from the roll.
“2. If a pupil has deceased, or has positively left the city without the intention of returning, his name is stricken from the roll immediately.
“3. If his continued absence is caused by his own sickness, his name is retained on the roll for one week, and no longer.
"4. For all other causes of absence, and when no cause is known to the teacher, the name is dropped from the record after two days, if the pupil do not return.
" These regulations are strictly observed in our schools; the number belonging, the number present, and the per cent. of attendance, are recorded every half-day in every department."
USE OF SCHOOL RECORDS.
A judicious use of the Class-Book, in which a record is made of the pupil's standing and progress from day to day, is one of the most important instrumentalities that teachers can bring to their aid in securing punctual attendance and an elevated standard of scholarship and deportment. The consciousness that these elements of character and scholarship are permanently recorded, is an abiding and potent influence with every pupil who has not lost all self-respect and all regard for the good opinion of his friends.
No other agency has yet been devised, which is half so effective as this in preventing the necessity for resorting to corporal punishment in school. If a
teacher created the necessity for corporal punishment, even in a single instance, he would be regarded as unworthy to retain his office. If he can, by a proper use of school records, lessen the necessity for punishment, and neglects to avail himself of this means, how much less culpable is he to be regarded ?
In the grammar divisions, the results of these records should, if practicable, be sent to the parent of the pupils at the close of every month. The salutary influence of these frequent reckonings with pupils, in the presence of their parents, cannot be over-estimated.
In the primary divisions, also, these records should be made to bear directly and constantly upon the character and progress of the pupils. Frequent and pointed allusions should be made to them, for the purpose of stimulating exertion and checking irregularity. When several marks of misdemeanor have accumulated against the name of a pupil, he may be called to the desk, or detained after school, and warned of the consequences. When pupils pass an entire week, or other prescribed period, without a demerit mark, they may receive a mark of special credit. At the close of every day or week, the
. names of all the children that have not been marked for misconduct, may be read before the school; and at the close of every month, the names of those that have secured the highest rank in deportment may be printed on the blackboard. By these and other similar means, a gentle pressure of influence may