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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 12. September 6, 1954

Emotive Methods

Emotive Methods

In the second paragraph of his letter, Mr. Beaglehole again uses unnecessary emotive methods in his attempt to state a case. We see the expression "the ill-informed public," and "headmasters too lazy to make the effort accrediting requires of them." Who are the members of this public who are so ill-informed, and about what? Who are the headmasters (If any) who are too lazy, and how does Mr. Beaglehole know this? We are not told, and no reasons are given to support these statements. The expressions would appear to have been lifted solely because of their contemptuous connotations. Later on in the paragraph we read: "Perhaps it should be explained to these gentleman that the Editor does not agree." I wonder, sir, what relation this sentence bears to a purported criticism of your editorial?

The third paragraph indicates a singular lack of common sense on Mr. Beaglchole's part. He says: "It is my impression that the only way of Judging the average person's capacity for benefiting by university study is to try it and see. . . ." This suggestion, sir, is uneconomical and impracticable. There are other ways of discovering whether the "average person" can benefit from university study, than trial and error. The "average person" has, by definition, an I.Q. of round about 100. And it is generally assumed that the aver-age I.Q. of Victoria University College students must be in the neighbourhood of 118 for them to be successful. Therefore, by intelligence tests administered at post-primary schools, and by aptitude tests administered before a university course is embarked upon, one can get a much better idea of a person's capacity to benefit from university study than we could from the method of "try it and see."

Such a method is also uneconomical. In his address at 1954 Curious Cove Congress. Dr. G. A. Currie stated that "fees from students represent in New Zealand on the average only 13.5 per cent of the total income of the colleges." The cost of educating a student ranges from round about £400 per annum for a dental student to 1120 per annum for an arts and science student, on an average. Dr. Currie states further: "There is little need to stress the obvious privilege the community extends to students in meeting the costs of such university training. . . . Not only do high standards for admission need to be maintained, but I believe that in cases of repeated failure, only very high fees should justify students in continuing university studies," (Salient, Vol. 18 No. 3, p.7.)

Thus Mr. Beaglehole's "impression" as to the "only" way of judging the average person's capacity for benefiting by university study, in both erroneous, unfounded and contrary to common sense. There are other ways than the system of "try it and see" "suggested by T. H. Beaglehole.