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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

A Formal Annual Examination

A Formal Annual Examination

of the school by an inspector. You will notice, however, that I do not say an examination as now. Indeed, I am still of the opinion, formerly expressed by me, that a trained expert in school work could easily page 7 tell by spending time in the school and taking stock of all that goes on without any formal examination whether or not the teaching were efficient and the results good. I believe all competent educationists would bear me out in that. But I do not think that the public, as represented by the Government of the colony, would be content with such a verdict, and I am not sure that it ought to be content. The public wants to know not simply what an officer thinks but why lie thinks it. And still further, I doubt if the teachers themselves would be content with it. They might be so as long as the inspector's verdict was favorable, but in those cases in which it was unfavorable they would be almost certain to take exception to it, and that on the ground of its indefiniteness. A teacher whose work was declared to be unsatisfactory would demand to be put on his trial; he would say "It is not just to condemn me simply on the general impression produced on the inspector's mind by the style and methods of my school. I demand that the results of my teaching shall be assessed. Let my school be examined, and I am willing to stand or fall by that." Most people would feel that the teacher was right in this protest; that it was putting too much power into the hands of a mortal man, and asking the public to take too much on trust, to settle everything by a mere expression of opinion from the inspector. We must have a formal examination of some sort.