Billeder på siden

how limited was its scope and how detached the examination seemed to be from the general educational life of the province. The number of candidates was about sixty, and these came from Montreal schools, almost without exception; nor did the number vary much until quite recently. Then the first of two important steps was taken-the examination was made a part of the provincial scholastic system. The result is that 410 candidates in all have been examined this year; 199 for the certificate of Associate in Arts, 103 for the Preliminary, and 58 for Matriculation into the various Faculties of the Universities of McGill and Bishop's College. It is impossible to over-estimate the good which will flow from a change like this. The Universities stand in their proper relation to the schools, and can now become effective instruments where their power was once unfelt. Formerly, too, the Preliminary and the Optional examinations had to be taken at the same time. It was wisely determined a year ago that the Preliminary examination might be taken one year before the optional was attempted. This change will raise the quality of the work in both, since it will afford better opportunities for grounding in essentials. Accordingly, teachers should be cautioned against imagining that the separation will reduce the Preliminary to a mere form, inasmuch as the contrary will be found to be the case. Further, it is hoped that the co-operation of the Inspector of Superior Schools with the university examiners will increase the effectiveness of the preliminary examination, as a whole.

The second step which has been alluded to above, is the establishment of an advanced examination. This was done in order to meet the demands of some of the better schools in the province. What the results of this advanced examination will be, it is impossible to conjecture. But one thing seems perfectly clear, namely, that its standard will for some time prevent all but a very few from attempting it successfully, and the examiners believe that the ambition both of masters and of pupils would be profitably satisfied in the attainment of really good places in the present optional examination. At the same time, the advanced examination will serve as a goal towards which the efforts of the best schools may be directed, when they feel themselves to be more than masters of the work hitherto demanded for the Associate in Arts.


Dictation. The results in this subject, as far as the spelling is concerned, were very good, only 18 candidates failing to satisfy

the examiner. The punctuation was very erratic, the general tendency being to over-punctuate. A number of candidates seemed to imagine that they must put a stop of some kind at the end of every few words, while in other cases there was hardly any fault to be found in this particular, even when the spelling was not very good. This seems to point to a difference in the style in which the extract was read the last time. The examiner thinks that in the instructions it should be stated that no candidate will be allowed to make a fair copy of his paper, as one candidate very nearly failed through doing this, for he had not time to complete his copy. The candidates should also be warned about their writing by all deputy examiners, as an i not dotted in such a word as division leaves the examiner in doubt whether an e or an i is intended, devision being quite a common mistake. The writing in a few papers was scarcely legible.

Preliminary Grammar.-An improvement on the work of former years is manifested, but weak points alluded to in previous reports remain weak still. The area of the weakness, however, is undoubtedly becoming less, and schools in which analysis seemed to be a thing of caprice and parsing mere guesswork, except in regard to the simplest words, have acquitted themselves with credit in answering questions that the examiners could not conscientiously have set ten years ago. What was said in the last report, with reference more particularly to the country schools, may be said again: "The analysis is often fortuitous and quite superficial or wrong. The parsing is generally fair, but at times there is evidence of lamentable weakness." For example, verbs are parsed as governing their subjects in the nominative case. The word that, used as a conjunction is parsed as a relative pronoun time and again, and in the phrase trembling for fear of the lions, for is called a conjunction more than once, nor is the examiner surprised when fear is called a verb by the same pupil. Mistakes of the first magnitude like these, point to simple thoughtlessness, and this thoughtlessness is the outcome of want of practice. It is enough, apparently, that that and for and fear have been seen in grammar-lists of pronouns and conjunctions and verbs. Still, it is not so much. to parsing as to analysis that the attention of the weaker schools must be drawn. In regard to this subject, the candidates divide themselves into four classes. The first consists of those who are utterly unable to distinguish between a simple and a complex sentence; the second, of those who can discern a dependent clause but can say of it no more than that it is dependent; the

third, of those who know the names of the various kinds of dependent clauses, but cannot tell to what kind the dependent clause which is given belongs, and the fourth, of those who have grasped the main principles of analysis and who, accordingly, find no trouble whatever in dealing with the straightforward sentence which they are asked to analyse. The first and second classes ought not to appear at all, and the third only in limited measure. But so long as devices, not in themselves absolutely worthless, but worthless in relation to what is proposed, take the place of sound teaching, the shortcomings which have just been mentioned will exist. There is no royal road to correct analysis which can be trodden in a few minutes, and the resolution of sentences into tree-like diagrams, without comment, which show little or nothing more than such interdependence of words as parsing is meant to show, had better be abandoned for the learning of the proper nomenclature and the application thereof. Another device, convenient when difficulties have to be shirked, but of no examinational value whatever, is to join together in a mass under one head, words, phrases and clauses which ought to be kept separate. The equivalent in parsing of such a proceeding is to say that lions is in the objective case governed by trembling-for-fear-of-the. Attention is directed to a scheme for analysis which will be found in a note in the new regulations. To many schools the note will appear superfluous; in the case of others it cannot be dispensed with. Before the present feature of this somewhat lengthy report is dismissed, the examiner would once more remind those whose other work is frequently excellent, to the fact that the verb to be is never a transitive verb. In conclusion, the examiner must speak in terms of praise regarding the analysis of the Montreal High School, the High School for Girls at St. John, New Brunswick, Danville Model School, Granby Academy, Huntingdon Academy, Inverness Academy, and Waterloo Academy.

The papers of those who sat for the Preliminary examination only deserve notice, more particularly in the case of the Girls' High School of Montreal. The examiner must heartily congratulate that school on the result of the examination, for, on glancing over his list, he finds that between No. 297 and No. 333-a batch of nearly forty papers-only three candidates show any signs of weakness in the portion of the paper which has formed the main burden of this report. It happens, too, that the Girls' High School is followed by a strong private school in this city, so that this fine record extends to No. 341. The remainder of the Montreal work is, with certain exceptions, weak by comparison.

Gospels. The history of the New Testament, the geography of Palestine, Biblical chronology and Oriental manners and customs have been much better and more generally taught this year than was apparent in last year's papers. The weakest of these points is geography, illustrating how often the localities of events are ignored in the teaching of history. For instance, only five well-known geographical names were to be marked-the River Jordan, Lake Genesaret, Samaria, Nazareth, Cæsarea-yet more than half of the schools did little or nothing in answering the questions. As a whole, the papers are remarkably good. Out of the 30 schools examined, 23 have obtained two-thirds or over, and of the remaining 7 schools only one has a little less than half-marks. Out of 259 candidates examined, 195 obtained two-thirds or over, and of the remaining 64 candidates, only 5 have less than half-marks. Amongst many good papers that of 307 is exceptionally excellent, gaining 49 out of 50 marks, and being not only accurate but concise and yet comprehensive, neat and clear, consecutive in the answering, consistent with the form and intent of the questions, and all done on 45 lines of foolscap. All this is largely true also of Nos. 116, 151, 336, 28 and 148; also of 7, 325 and 9, in this order of excellence. These 8 candidates got 48 out of 50 marks; 6 others have 47, 13 have 46, and 10 have 45 marks, making 38 candidates out of 259 who have received 90 per cent. or over. The following is a conspectus of the results of the examination:

[blocks in formation]

Montreal Girls' High School.

Cookshire Model School...

Montreal Boys' High School.







571. 13....43.9.


258.... 6



43... 1








Misses Symmers & Smith's School, Montreal 252.... 6....

Stanbridge East Model School.
Shawville Academy...
Dunham Academy

Trafalgar Institute, Montreal..
Coaticook Academy.

Bedford Academy..
Cowansville Academy..
St. John, N.B., (G.H.S.).
Portage du Fort Model School.

2084.. 51. .40.8..
2808....70.... .40.1..

40.... 1....40 ....10 115.. 3....38.3....11 76.... 2 ...38 ....12 38... 1....38




3....37.6....14 2....37.5....15

72.... 2....36 ....16 575. .16....35.9....17 141.... 4....35.2....18

[blocks in formation]

Classics. The Classical examiners are glad to be able to announce that, while some schools have maintained a creditable position, the Academies as a whole show advance, both in accuracy and in command of English. There is, however, room for improvement, which it is hoped will gradually manifest itself. There have been failures, and these failures are mainly due to the fact that the candidates, in their reading, have covered but a small part of the work required. Nearly one-third of the papers seem to give evidence that grammatical preparation ended with inflexions of nouns, no attempt being made to inflect the verb, or to state clearly any of the fundamental principles which underlie and control grammatical forms. It is really useless for candidates to attempt the examination without a good knowledge of inflexions of verbs and nouns, and of Latin and Greek accidence, and an acquaintance with the leading principles of construction. In some schools, notably the Girls' High School, St. John, New Brunswick, and Stanstead College School, excellent work was done in Latin grammar, not in many cases questions were left unanswered or technical knowledge of a fragmentary character was displayed. Such explanations as " subjunctive of condition," "genitive after cupidus," "ablative of time," etc., are meaningless and no credit can be given for them by an examiner. Then, case relations have been sometimes expressed variously, mostly incorrectly, and plainly demonstrating that the candidate does not comprehend what he or she writes upon the question. Such distinctions can scarcely be apprehended except by those who are really scholars, and the inaccurate use of such formulæ is rather misleading to those who employ them, and resembles an attempt to erect a pretentious superstructure upon an insecure foundation. Inasmuch as the curriculum of our Superior Schools attempts to combine

« ForrigeFortsæt »