Criterion for assessing success in science
The successes of the pupils in the sciences stem from either a simple passive understanding, or from diligence, or from the strong development of mental abilities; and therefore, should be evaluated as much as possible approximately in this way.
This comprehensive and constant scale frees the teacher from the one-sidedness that always results from comparing students of the same course with each other; he defines the rules for uniform judgment at different times and in different places.
The five degrees accepted for this are distinguished as follows:
1st degree (weak successes)
The student barely touched science, because of the actual lack of natural abilities required for success in it, or because "he was not at all pleased at the inclinations to something thereof.
2nd degree (successes are mediocre)
The student knows some passages from the taught science, but they also appropriated themselves with one memory. He did not penetrate its foundation and the connection of the parts that make up the whole. This mediocrity, perhaps, comes from a certain weakness of natural abilities, especially from the weakness of that self-thinking, which he could not replace with labor and constant exercise. Excellent gifts with frivolity and idleness entail the same consequences.
3rd degree (satisfactory success)
The student knows science as it was taught to him; he even comprehends the relation of all parts to the whole in the order set out for him, but he confines himself to a book or the words of a teacher, is confused by the contact of questions proposed at that end, so that he brings together distant points; even what he has learned applies it only with difficulty and exertion.
To this degree the gifted stop much more than memory than self-conceit; but by their diligence they prove their love for science.
This degree can be called the degree of satisfactory success because the student who has achieved it is really able to follow the further development of science and apply it if necessary. Moreover, meditation, which always visits us later than the memory, often awakens among this even mechanical work.
4th degree (good progress)
The student clearly knows the teaching; he knows how to explain all parts of the principles, comprehends the mutual connection and easily applies the learned truths to ordinary cases. Here the student’s acting mind is not inferior to memory, and he considers it impossible to learn anything without understanding. One lack of diligence and exercise prevents such a student from rising above. On the other hand, it is also true that self-thinking in every person has a certain degree of power, for which it is impossible to cross the line under all stresses.
5th degree (excellent success)
The student owns science: he answers questions very clearly and definitely, easily compares the various parts, brings together the most distant points of the doctrine, analyzes new and difficult cases offered to him, knows the weaknesses of the doctrine, places where to doubt and which can be opposed to theory. All these things show that the student made the science taught his inalienable property; that the lessons served him only as a field for the exercise of independence, and that thinking with the help of books related to that science extended his knowledge further than often allowed the teacher’s one-sided view of things. Only an extraordinary mind, with the help of a good memory, in conjunction with a fiery love of science, and therefore with tireless diligence, can rise to such a height in the field of knowledge.
Compiled by the General Staff
Major General N.P. Glinoecki St. Petersburg,