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The following table shows the number of Primary pupils admitted to each Grammar School at the semiannual promotion in February, 1868:
It will be observed that the number of boys promoted to the Grammar Schools largely exceeded the number of girls. This is probably owing to the fact that a pretty large number of girls attend free sectarian schools, while the number of boys in such schools is quite small.
COURSE OF STUDY FOR GRAMMAR SCHOOLS.
In my last Report the need of reforming the course of study prescribed for our Grammar Schools, was brought to the attention of the Board, and my views respecting the proper treatment of the principal branches taught in this grade of schools were set forth somewhat in detail. The Board promptly referred the matter to the Committee on Text-Books; and this Committee requested me to prepare a Grammar School programme for their consideration. This important and difficult task was performed by me with much care, no pains being spared in the study of the subject in its various aspects and relations.
The programme thus prepared was submitted to the Committee on Text-Books, with the following introductory remarks :
GENTLEMEN, — In compliance with your request I have prepared, and now respectfully lay before you, the accompanying Course of Study for Grammar Schools. It has been framed as far as seemed practicable, in accordance with the views presented to the Board in my last Semi-Annual Report. It conforms to the text-books now in use, with the exception of the change already proposed in your recent Report to the Board. It is hoped that it will be found explicit enough in respect to the order in which the studies are to be taken up and pursued. Perhaps it may be thought that the standard of attainment requisite for promotion from one class to another, and for graduation, is not expressed with sufficient distinctness. Fearing lest I might go too far in this direction, I may not have gone far enough. But when the programme shall have been made as definite as it
will do to make it, considering that it is to be imperative in its requirements, it will probably be found necessary here, as it has been elsewhere, to supplement it with a carefully prepared explanatory manual, setting forth in detail what is expected to be taught at each step. This manual should take the form of "suggestions or directions to teachers," to be observed, as far as circumstances permit, rather than that of positive requirements to be strictly enforced. Such a manual I have not had the time to prepare, and, indeed, had I been able to draw up one, it might seem presumptuous in me to submit it without having been desired to do so.
A peculiar feature of the Course here submitted is this: Pupils are to go over more ground in a given time than they have been in the habit of doing. General notions and essential practical acquirements are the first things to be attended to, and then, further on, exactness in details, and the discussion of principles.
With this view the pupil is required to go through the spelling-book in a short time, in order to give him an opportunity to make some acquaintance with many words. But after going through once in this way he is not expected to get a hundred per cent on a test examination. To get fifty or sixty per cent would be doing very well. In pursuing arithmetic on the plan here proposed, it is not expected that pupils will be able readily to demonstrate all the principles involved until they arrive at the last year of the course, but that they should be taught the common operations, in a practical way, making use of small numbers, and comparatively easy examples. The Readers are not to be used merely as manuals of elocution, all the time that can be spared for this branch being devoted to drilling upon a few select pieces. They should be employed as manuals of knowledge and of language, as well as of elocution, and so should be read through. Spelling and writing are to occupy much time in the early part of the course, and little in the last
part of it. Mental arithmetic is to be used as strictly auxiliary to written arithmetic at each step of the course, from the beginning to the end.
Such in general is the nature of the plan. It is intended to remedy to some extent an evil that has been developed in the graded system of schools, the evil of keeping children marking time, stepping but not moving forward. If this plan is adopted and fairly carried out, I believe it will prove a great boon to our schools. If it is not adopted I hope some better one will be substituted for it.
The Committee on Text-Books, in due time reported this programme to the Board for its adoption, copies having been previously sent to all the members. Some of the members, however, desiring further time for the purpose of examining its provisions, it was laid on the table, where it still remains.
Such being the state of the case, in respect to this proposed improvement in the Course of Study for the Grammar Schools, I take this opportunity to explain more fully its leading characteristics, and the purposes it is intended to serve.
This programme, is designed, in the first place, to meet the wants, as far as practicable, both of those pupils who complete the course, and of those the more numerous class by far-who drop out at different stages of the course; and to this end the aim has been to make each step complete in itself, and at the same time a fit preparation for the succeeding studies. The importance of this provision is very apparent in view of the fact that a large majority of the Grammar School
pupils are withdrawn from school before they have reached the graduating class. The whole number of pupils admitted into the Grammar Schools from the Primary Schools during the year 1867, was 3,779, while the number of graduates of the Grammar Schools was less than 500, or one-seventh of the admissions. Now, while we ought to endeavor by all means to keep the pupils in these schools until they pass through all the classes of the course, it is at the same time highly desirable that the course of instruction should be arranged with a due regard to the circumstances of the great mass of the pupils who are withdrawn before they get to the upper classes.
It has been said that if the graduates of a school reach a high average per cent at their final examination, it is safe to assume that the lower grades of the school are in a satisfactory condition; and the course usually pursued by most District Committees in conducting their examinations, seems to give an indorsement to this view. It is well known that the graduating class very largely monopolizes the attention both at the quarterly and annual examinations, while the actual attainments of the pupils in the lower divisions are very imperfectly known to the Committee as a whole. Scarcely any member probably knows with exactness what all the divisions of even one school accomplish. I have frequently called attention to the too great disparity between the upper and lower classes, in respect to proficiency, but the fact still exists. In order to set this matter in its true light before the Board, it is neces