Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into its Laws and Consequences
Galton, Francis
appear alphabetically arranged. All I am concerned with 
here are the results ; and these are most appropriate to 
my argument. The youths start on their three years’ 
race as fairly as possible. They are then stimulated to 
run by the most powerful inducements, namely, those of 
competition, of honour, and of future wealth (for a good 
fellowship is wealth) ; and at the end of the three years 
they are examined most rigorously according to a system 
that they all understand and are equally well prepared 
for. The examination lasts five and a half hours a day 
for eight days. All the answers are carefully marked by 
the examiners, who add up the marks at the end and 
range the candidates in strict order of merit. The fair¬ 
ness and thoroughness of Cambridge examinations have 
never had a breath of suspicion cast upon them. 
Unfortunately for my purposes, the marks are not 
published. They are not even assigned on a uniform 
system, since each examiner is permitted to employ his 
own scale of marks ; but whatever scale he uses, the 
results as to proportional merit are the same. I am 
indebted to a Cambridge examiner for a copy of his marks 
in respect to two examinations, in which the scales of 
marks were so alike as to make it easy, by a slight pro¬ 
portional adjustment, to compare the two together. This 
was, to a certain degree, a confidential communication, so 
that it would be improper for me to publish anything 
that would identify the years to which these marks refer. 
I simply give them as groups of figures, sufficient to show 
the enormous differences of merit. The lowest man in 
the list of honours gains less than 300 marks ; the lowest 
wrangler gains about 1,500 marks; and the senior wrangler, 
in one of the lists now before me, gained more than 7,500 
marks. Consequently, the lowest wrangler has more than 
five times the merit of the lowest junior optime, and less 
than one-fifth the merit of the senior wrangler.


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