The High School Failures eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 116 pages of information about The High School Failures.

The grades in new work for repeaters are markedly superior to those in the repeated subjects, for the same semester.

As the number of identical repetitions are increased (as high as six), the percentage of final failure rapidly rises.

The emphasis placed on repetition is excessive, and the faith displayed in it by school practice is unwarranted by the facts.

Relatively few of the failing pupils who continue in school discontinue the subject or substitute another after failure.

School examinations are employed for 10.3 per cent of the failures, with 37.5 per cent of success on the attempts.

The Regents’ examinations are employed for 17.2 per cent of the failures, of which 72.8 per cent succeed in passing, and in most cases immediately after the school failure.

Of those who continue the subject of failure without any repetition 52 per cent get passing grades.

No form of school compensation can be considered as adequate which does not adapt the treatment to the kind and cause of the malady, as manifested by the failure symptoms.


42.  Briggs, T.H.  Report on Secondary Education, U.S.  Comm. of Educ.  Report, 1914.

43.  Snedden, D. In Johnson’s Modern High School. II, 24, 26.

44.  Official Bulletin on Promotion and Students’ Programs, 1917, from Assoc.  Supt. in Charge of Secondary Schools, for N.Y.  City.

45.  Lewis, W.D. Democracy’s High School, p. 45.

46.  Ruling of Board of Supt’s., New York City, June, 1917.



In view of the fact that some of the pupils do not fail in any part of their school work, there is a certain popular presumption that failure must be significant of pupil inferiority when it occurs.  That connotation will necessarily be correct if we are to judge the individual entirely by that part of his work in which he fails, and to assume that the failing mark is a fair indication of both achievement and ability.  Although the pupil is only one of the contributing factors in the failure, nevertheless it happens that cherished opportunity, prizes, praise, honors, employment, and even social recognition are frequently proffered or withheld according to his marks in school.  Still further, the pupil who accumulates failures may soon cease to be aggressively alive and active; he is in danger of acquiring a conforming attitude of tolerance toward the experience of being unsuccessful.  Therefore it is particularly momentous to the pupil, should the school record ascribed to him prove frequently to be incongruous with his potential powers.  It has already been pointed out in these pages that the failures frequently tend to designate specific difficulties rather than what is actually the negative of ’ability plus application.’  This does not at all deny that in some instances there appears to be the ability minus the application, and that in other cases the pupils are simple unfitted for the work required of them.

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The High School Failures from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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