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universities and colleges, schools, the ministry, law, medicine,
engineering, science, journalism, modern literature, history and
related branches, fine arts, and oriental studies. These statements
were substantially unanimous in bearing testimony to the value
of the classical languages.

But perhaps as many opinions on the other side from men of
equal intellect could be gathered. The point is that mere opinions
cannot yield a final appraisal of the training value of school studies.
Both favorable and unfavorable opinions are bound to be very
nearly worthless because at best they are apt to be prejudiced by
personal likes or dislikes and by exceptional instances of benefit
or lack of benefit from the pursuit of this or that particular subject,
and most of all because no general observer has at hand sufficient,
reliable or complete evidence concerning the problem. Experi-
mental and statistical data are hard enough to interpret because
of the complication of factors in the production of any type of
training to say nothing of the settlement of the controversy by
general impressions.

We cannot determine by ballot the shape of the earth, or the
value of a patent medicine, no matter how many testimonials may
be presented on the one sida or the other. Men prominent in
life have testified to the benefits of patented remedies which
science has shown to be not only valueless but harmful.

Specific Estimates of the Value of School Studies. The writer
attempted to obtain specific estimates of the value of school sub-
jects according to the best judgment that could be exercised by
persons who are concerned with the work of public education.
These were obtained not with a view to contributing anything
toward the solution of the problem but for the purpose of examining
more precisely the drift of the consensus of opinions held by persons
immediately in charge of school work.

Any branch of learning may have three possible values — a

^ Reported in Value of the Classics, Princeton University Press.



220 EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

disciplinary value, a utility value, and a cultural value. Thus
the study of English has a certain amount of disciplinary value in
training the mental capacities involved in the learning and under-
standing of the material studied ; it has an obvious utility value in
acquiring the ability to use English correctly and effectively; and
it has a certain cultural value in acquainting the student with the
thought and life of mankind.

Estimates of the three values of each of the subjects listed in
the table were made as carefully as possible by fifty-eight super-
intendents, principals and teachers. In making these estimates
it was assumed that the pure, disciplinary value of the first year
of high school English as taught in the average way be equal to lo
and that all other values be estimated in terms of this assumption.
If the disciplinary value of algebra was considered to be twice as
great as that of English, hour for hour devoted to each, then it
should be estimated as 20. Or if the utility or cultural value of
EngHsh was considered greater or less than its disciplinary value,
the rating should be indicated accordingly. It was further assumed
that these were to be the values for the average boy or girl in the
high school.

At first glance it would seem that such judgments would be
rather uncertain and variable, and, as a matter of fact, they were
quite variable. Nevertheless, viewed from the statistical stand-
point, the judgments present a normal distribution spreading over
a wide range but clinging in large numbers about a central point.
For example, the judgments of the disciplinary value of American
history ranged as extremes from 3 to 30, with the largest number
of estimates on 10 and a gradual decrease in the number of estimates
on values farther and farther removed from 10. The median
estimate was 10 and the probable error was 3.5, that is, one-half
of the estimates were between 8 and 15. So that the judgments
about the various values, even though quite variable and usually
accompanied by a feeling of uncertainty so far as the individual
judge was concerned, were as reliable and as normal as judgments
about most matters are.

The following table gives the median judgment for each of the
values listed:



TRANSFERENCE OF TRAINING



221



TABLE 55
Estimated values of school subjects. After Starch ('17)

Totals



Geometry

Algebra

Latin

Physics

Gymnastics

German

French

Chemistry

Manual Training

Football

Shorthand

English (assumerl)

U. S. History

Physical Geography

Music

Cooking

Bookkeeping

Civics

Botany

Zoology

Drawing

Sewing

Typewriting

Work of teacher or business

man

Earning one's way through

school



Disciplinary


Utility


Cultural


Valur


Value


Value


20


10


8


19


9


8


17


10


14


17


18


12


17


12


7


15


15


12


13


II


13


13


19


11


12


23


10


12


6


5


II


21


5


10


30


22


10


iS


17


10


15


10


ID


II


25


10


30


9


ID


25


7


ID


21


12


ID


12


II


10


II


II


10


II


15


9


30


ID


9


22


5


2 2


33


18


24


36


18



38
36

41

47
36
42

37
43
45
23
37
62

45
35
46

49
42
43
33
32
36
49
36

73

78



An examination of the table reveals some interesting compari-
sons. The highest disciplinary value is assigned to geometry vi^ith
a rating of 20, or twice as high as that of English. Algebra is next
'with a value of 19. It is rather surprising to find gymnastics and
football rated as high as they are. It is also interesting to note
that the disciplinary value of a pupil's earning his way through
school is rated higher than that of any of his studies. The lowest
disciplinary value is assigned to sewing and typewriting.

In the case of utility values, the highest rating is given to English,
cooking and sewing (30), a value approximately three times as
great as their disciplinary value. The lowest utility value is as-
signed to football (6) and the next to algebra (9). Again the utihty



222 EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

value of a pupil's earning his way through school (36) is placed
above that of any of his studies.

In the case of cultural values, the highest rating is given to
music (25) and the next to English (22). The lowest value is as-
signed to shorthand, typewriting, and football (5). The cultural
value of a pupil's earning his way through school (18) is placed
below only music and English.

A similar study with reference only to the disciplinary aspect of
college studies was previously reported by Thorndike ('15). Esti-
mates obtained from 100 teachers are summarized thus:

"Philosophy (for freshmen) 8; English composition, 10; German,
Chemistry and Logic, 11; Physics, 13; Latin, Greek, Mathematics, 16.
Waiting on table is rated at 3; athletics is rated at about 7; work for the
college paper at 8 or 8^-2 ; tutoring at 13 or 13J2 ; and regular productive
work in the world as teacher, business man or skilled laborer at 14/^."
(Page 28 1.)

Such tabulations of opinions are valuable only in showing in
more accurate terms what teachers and educators think about
the question and not in really answering it. However, so long
as schools are operated by opinions, a combination of opinions
may be better than individual ones as guides of educational policies.
To what extent individual opinions are consciously or unconsciously
prejudiced by personal interests is shown by the fact that the
teachers overestimated by nearly one-half the value of their own
specialties as compared with the average values assigned by
teachers as a whole.

Experimental and Statistical Inquiries, a. Arithmetic. The
writer made an investigation to measure the effect of improvement
in mental multiplication of three-place numbers by a one-place
number, doing 50 problems a day for 14 days, upon other t>'pes of
arithmetical processes. This experiment was carried out with
eight subjects who constituted the training group, and seven
subjects who constituted the control group. The results are given in
the following table, which shows the percentages of gain of the
second end tests over the first:



TRANSFERENCE OF TRAINING



223



TABLE 56. After Starch ('11)



Adding fractions

Adding three-place numbers

Memory span for numbers

Subtracting numbers

Multiplying four-place numbers. . . .

Memory span for words

Multiplying two-place numbers. . . .
Dividing three-place numbers

Averages, exclusive of memory span



Trained
Persons


Untrained
Persons


40


12


49


10


—3


— 2


58


35


53


29


3


-5


47


ID


45


25


49


20



Differences



28

39
— I

23

24

8

37



The residual gain on the average was 29%. The average gain
made by the trained group in the practice series, comparing the
first day with the 14th day, was 112%. Hence the gain trans-
ferred to the alUed arithmetical operations was only 26% of the
gain in the practice series itself. From one point of view, this
seems to be a very considerable amount of transfer, but when we
note that some of the end tests were as similar to the training
series as they could be without being identical with it the transfer
is small. We might expect almost a complete carrying over to
the closely similar operations but the largest amount of residual
gain took place in the multiplying of two-place numbers by a
one-place number and in the adding of three-place numbers; but
even there it was only slightly larger than the transfer to the other
operations.

Winch conducted a series of experiments to determine the amount
of transfer from improvement in numerical computation to arith-
metical reasoning. In each experiment the class was divided into
two groups of approximately equal ability as shown by a previous
test in arithmetical reasoning. Then one-half of the class was
trained in "rule" sums after which a final test in arithmetical
reasoning was given alike to both groups.

The first class, composed of 13-year-old girls from a poor neigh-
borhood, showed improvement in numerical accuracy but no
transfer to arithmetical reasoning. The second class, composed of
lo-year-old girls from a poor neighborhood, showed considerable
improvement in accuracy and a doubtful transfer to reasoning.
The third class, composed of lo-year-old girls from a good neigh-



K



224 EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

borhood but poor in arithmetic, showed transfer in three sections
but the opposite in a fourth section. In the fourth class, composed
of lo-year-old boys, both practiced and unpracticed groups showed
about equal gains in arithmetical reasoning. Winch concludes
from these experiments that improvement may take place in
numerical computation without any certainty of improvement in
arithmetical reasoning.

In a later experiment conducted on the same general plan, he
used 72 ten-year-old boys. Here again he found no evidence of
transfer from improvement in numerical computation to arith-
metical reasoning.

Carrie R. Squire made an experiment regarding the transfer of
neatness: "At the Montana State Normal College careful experi-
ments were undertaken to determine whether the habit of produc-
ing neat papers in arithmetic will function in reference to neat
written work in other studies; the tests were confined to the
intermediate grades. The results are almost startling in their
failure to show the slightest improvement in language and
spelling papers although the improvement in arithmetic papers
was noticeable from the first." (Bagley, The Educative Process,
p. 208.)

This experiment was repeated under the direction of Ruediger
with the difference that along with the specific training in neatness
in one particular study a general practice of neatness in daily life
was held up before the class as an ideal to be striven for. Care was
taken not to discuss neatness in tlie other classes. Sample papers
were taken in the one subject concerned and in two other subjects
before and after the training. The seventh grades of three schools,
located at widely different places and comprising 39 pupils in all,
were used in the experiment. The two schools which showed
an appreciable improvement in neatness in the study where special
training was given also showed considerable, though less, improve-
ment in the other studies. Thus the two schools showed an average
improvement of 4.75 points in the study where training was given
and 3.1 points, or 65% as much, in studies where nothing was said
about neatness.

b. Grammar. Grammar has been regarded as a highly effica-
cious instrument for training the functions of the mind. Thus
Commenius stated: "I presume that no one can raise any objection
to my placing (Latin) grammar first, since it is the key of all knowl-
edge." Locke said on the other hand: "I Avould fain have anyone



TRANSFERENCE OF TRAINING 225

name to me that Tongue, that anyone can learn, or speak as he
should do, by the rules of Grammar. Languages were made not
by Rules, or Art, but by Accident, and the Common Use of the
People."

Claims for Grammar have been that it

1. Disciplines the mind.

2. Prepares for the study of other languages.

3. Gives command of an indispensable terminology.

4. Enables one to use better English.

5. Aids in the interpretation of literatures.

The Committee of Ten (1S93) said: "The study of formal gram-
mar is valuable as training in thought, but has only an indirect
bearing on the art of writing and speaking."

What are the actual facts so far as any are available at the
present time? Briggs ('13) attempted to determine the extent to
which the various claims made for grammar are substantiated.
He outlined the following claims and devised an elaborate set of
tests to measure the effects of training in grammar.

"It is held that grammar trains children:

A. With rules and definitions:

1. To see likenesses and differences.

2. To critically test a definition.

3. To thoroughly apply a definition.

4. To make a rule or definition.

B. With reasoning:

5. To test reasons.

6. a. To take from a mass of data all that are necessary

and to use them in reaching a judgment,
b. To demand all necessary data before drawing a
conclusion.

7. To reason in other fields, e. g., arithmetic.

8. To reason syllogistically.

9. To detect "catches."

As illustrations of the nature of the tests we may dte the follow-
ing instances. For measuring the observation of likenesses and
differences, Briggs used such a test as this:

"One-half of the following 16 words are alike in one respect and in that



226 EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

respect unlike all the others in the list. Find these eight words and mark
them with a check (V)."

biscuit pirate mountains men ^

oxen'- geese^ fathers-in-law factory

scholars knives '^ vessel table /

pole frame children"' mice
(8 are plurals)

To determine ability to judge definitions and to amend them,
he used as tests such statements as the following for shoe:

1. A portion of clothing.

2. Something black made of leather.

3. Something to wear on the feet.

4. A necessary article costing from $1.00 to $5.00 or $6.00.

These tests were given to 25 or 30 pupils in each grade from two
to seven in the Horace Mann school. Each class was divided into
two divisions. Then for three months, three times a week, the
children of Division I were taught formal grammar. During the
same three months, the children of Division II had work in com-
position and language. They were then given the second set of
tests similar to the preliminary tests, after which the conditions
were reversed. Division II then had formal grammar and Divi-
sion I had language and composition work. At the conclusion of
this period, the first set of tests was again given to all of the chil-
dren. The upshot of the whole investigation is simimarized by
Briggs in the following manner:

. / "As a result of this experiment it may safely be asserted that these
particular children after the amount of formal grammar that they had,
do not, as measured by the means employed, show in any of the abilities
tested, improvement that may be attributed to their training in formal
grammar."

Hoyt ('06) made a study to determine the relation between the
knowledge of grammar, ability to interpret English, and ability
to write English. He employed three tests: One for grammar
consisting of ten questions on four stanzas of Gray's Elegy; the
second for testing ability to interpret English, consisting of a
statement of thought in four other stanzas of Gray's Elegy; and
the third for ascertaining ability in composition, consisting of
writing a composition in forty minutes. These tests were made
with 200 pupils in a high school in Indianapolis. All papers were



TRANSFERENCE OF TRAINING 227

marked by two exanainers according to the percentage method.
Correlations were then computed among the different tests, which
were as follows:

Grammar and composition 23

Grammar and interpretation 28

Interpretation and composition 32

These coefficients are very low and indicate that a greater or
less amount of knowledge of grammar is accompanied to only a
slight extent by greater or less ability to write a composition. The
same statement holds for the relations between the other compari-
sons of abilities. The fact that the pupil who knows more or less
grammar writes respectively a slightly better or worse composition
is quite likely due to the fact that he is a better or poorer pupil
rather than to any aid which knowledge of grammar may render
him in writing a composition,
y- Hoyt concludes that "... the teaching of grammar is of
little avail in strengthening one's ability to use language."

The writer ('15) made a series of tests in formal grammar and
' in correctness of English usage. The test in formal grammar
consisted of three parts: First, a passage in which the parts of
speech of as many successive words as possible were to be indicated
in three minutes; second, a passage in which the cases of nouns
and pronouns were to be indicated in three minutes; and third, a
passage in which the tenses and modes were to be indicated in
three minutes.^The test for usage consisted of 100 sentences each
of which was stated in two ways. Both might be correct, both
might be incorrect, or one might be correct and the other incorrect.
Pupils were allowed fifteen minutes in which to indicate the cor-
rect expressions. The results are summarized in the following
tables.

The tests were made upon 54 university Juniors and Seniors and
146 high-school pupils. They gave the results shown in Table 57,
in which the scores for knowledge of grammar are the numbers of
the parts of speech, tenses, cases, and modes indicated correctly
in the specified period of time, and the scores for correctness of
usage are the numbers of sentences designated correctly in the
specified period of time.



228



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY





TABLE 57. After Starch ('15)




Years of Foreign


Number of Average Scores for


Average Scores for


Languages


Students Knowledge of Gramaiar


Correctness of Usage




University Juniors


AND Seniors




o


2


48.0


81. s


2— S


12


47-8


71. 1


6-9


25


58.6


75-5


lo — 15


15


63-4


7S-7




High School


Pupils







12


14-7


32.2


8 weeks


50


20.8


43 -o


I year


i8


25-5


43-4


2 years


39


24.8


45-9


3 years


27


28.6


47-7




University Juniors


and Seniors




Years of Latin











15


45-8


70.9


1—3


II


56.1


75-7


4


14


57-5


74-3


5 or more


9


SI.8


76.1



Another test for correctness of usage, consisting of sentences
like the set of one hundred but arranged in the order of increas-
ingly difficult steps, was made on another group of 146 university
students and 92 high-school pupils. This test yielded the results
given in the following table. The scores are the numbers of the
highest steps passed. The higher the score is, the greater is the_
ability of using English correctly.





TABLE s8




Years of Latin


Number of Pupils
University Students


Average Scores





47


10. 1


1-6


99
High School Pupils


10.2





78


9.0


1-4.


14


9-3



These tables agree in showing one very significant result, namely,
that the study of foreign languages materially increases a pupil's
knowledge of English grammar but only slightly increases his
ability in the correct usage of the English language. Notice, for



TiiANSFERENCE OF TRAINING 229

example, the upper part of Table 57. The students who had
10 to 15 years of foreign languages made a score in grammatical
knowledge of 63, as compared with a score of 47.8 made by the
students who had 2 to 5 years of foreign languages, a difference of
32.6% in favor of the former group. For correctness of usage, the
corresponding difference is only 6.4%. The two students with no
foreign languages made high scores because they were exception-
ally good students, but they are too few in number to be con-
sidered. The high-school pupils show a gain in grammatical
knowledge of 37.5% from the S-week group to the 3-year group
and a gain in usage of only 10.9%. The twelve pupils with no for-
eign language made low scores because they were exceptionally poor
pupils. This is indicated by their low scholarship records, by the
fact that many were over-age, by the fact that they avoided the
foreign languages, and also by the large difference between their
scores and those of the 50 pupils who were just beginning foreign
languages. Eight weeks of foreign languages could hardly have
produced such a big gain. Their higher scores must be due largely
to a difference in original natiu-e.

c. Foreign Languages. Extensive and confident claims have been
"Tnade for the value of general mental training to be derived from the
study of languages. Thus Lodge states the value of the study of
Latin as follows:

" Far above every other subject it trains (i) the process of observation,
(2) the function of correct record, (3) the reasoning power and general
intelligence in correct inference from recorded observation. To this
should be added its great value in developing the power of voluntary
attention.

"The value of Latin as a practical subject has to do particularly with
the effect of the language in the cultivation of English style. In the
English vocabulary a very large proportion of words in everyday use are
of Latin origin, and it has been estimated that two-thirds of the Latin
vocabulary of the classical period has in some form or other come over
into English speech. For the correct use of synonyms in English and
the habit of expressing one's thoughts clearly, concisely, and cogently, a
discriminating knowledge of Latin is indispensable, and while not every
pupil in the school may be expected to develop a good style, nevertheless
he should be given the necessary foundation for it.

"When we turn to literature, we find that Latin is influential every-
where — ^particularly in our classical authors — -by allusions, by quota-
tions, by actual domestication. Many of our great English writers are
permeated with Latin. We cannot expect that all will desire to feed



23©



EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY



P



their niinds on the works of our greatest authors, however much we
might prefer it; but certainly we should not deprive them of one of the
most important elements in their enjoyment should they be so minded."
(Lodge, p. 388, in Principles of Secondary Education, Edited by Paul
^Monroe.)

Swift measured tlie progress in learning a new language made by
pupils with different amounts of previous language study to de-
termine, if possible, the advantage in beginning a new language to

100%



90



80



bo 70



"60



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A -One Year of Latin and German.
B-One Year of Latin.
C- Spanish Only.






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Weeks



10 11 Vi. 13 U 15





Online LibraryDaniel StarchEducational psychology → online text (page 19 of 41)