Testing and exams

While Newman strongly disliked cramming and superficial learning, he maintained that regular tests had a specific use in training the intellect:

‘It is plain that, if a University Education is what I have described it to be, Examinations hold but a subordinate part in it. I have broadly stated in the [Idea of a university] that a residence without Examinations comes nearer to the idea of a University Education than examinations without residence. Examinations are in this day matters of necessity, and they have their specific use in the training of the intellect. Their prospect keeps youths occupied, and, when frequent, they impart self-confidence, they serve to bring home to a youth what he knows and what he does not, they teach him to bring out his knowledge and to express his meaning clearly – but mere examinations, if they are the first and whole instrument of education, have a special tendency (if I may use very familiar language) [to] promote cramming and create prigs.’ (Newman to Northcote, 23 February 1872)

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