MATHEMATICS EDUCATION The teaching of mathematics: Introduction

In the last 2500 years the history of mathematical education has seen great changes, not only in what is being taught, but also in the manner of that teaching. There has been great variation in the value placed on Mathematics and its position in Education. The opinions of the public and academic societies towards a predominantly mathematical or scientific education have, for the most part, been very different to those held now. There are numerous questions which come immediately to mind. What topics in Mathematics have been taught, and to what extent? What are the reasons for the changes that have taken place? Often these changes hinge on the opinions held by the public and how much respect they have for professions that depend heavily on mathematical knowledge. How has Mathematics been taught? Are the methods of today very different to those used centuries ago? We have divided mathematical education into several different periods and looked at how it developed in several different countries. Some articles are of a general nature, some deal with more specific issues or events. Although the articles concentrate mainly on Britain, we have discussed other education systems which directly influenced British education. We intend to add further

The teaching of mathematics in Ancient Greece.
Education varied greatly from state to state in Ancient Greece. Spartan youths were sent to militaristic institutions and were trained and taught to become highly moral soldiers. The Athenians had a much more private education at home. They were taught music and gymnastics from an early age so that they might attain the goal of graceful perfection both physically and mentally. Within the various forms of education endemic to Greece the study of Mathematics also differed, but what was taught had a very different structure to the present. Possibly the main difference is that Arithmetics and Geometry were considered to be separate subjects. Even within Arithmetic itself there were two forms, the first of which was taught to the middle and artisan classes and was very much a calculation based subject. This learning was

specific to their occupation and was to be mirrored in the Middle Ages by the Trade Guilds. The second form, the science of numbers, was the preserve of a few of the upper classes who had the time and money for a more lengthy education. Instruction for the upper class individuals started at home under the guidance of their parents or an educated slave. Most, if not all, of the upper classes learned the minimum which seems to have included Letters, Music, Gymnastics and only a modicum of Arithmetics or Geometry. At the age of 12 the boys were moved to a school where they then learnt Grammar and the basics of Logic and Rhetoric. By the end of this stage many did not go further, but those that chose to continue breached the preserve of the science of numbers. There were two routes to further learning for these initiates. One route was to employ a sophist, as was done in Rome at this time, but the second route was to attend one of the colleges or academies set up by people like Plato, Aristotle or Pythagoras. Pythagoras's school was set up in 518 BC in Croton and it was here that much of the science of numbers and many advances in geometry were made and discussed. The science of numbers, which was essentially the consideration of such things as perfect, abundant and square numbers and their properties, became the belief that everything in the world and universe can in some manner be mathematically expressed. It is partly through this and Pythagoras's observations of a vibrating string that Music came to be considered as one of the Mathematical Sciences. Pythagorean's also believed that the human soul could rise towards the divine through philosophical thought as a manner of purification and so they practised a strict code of living. It is possibly due to this extreme view of the role of Mathematics in life, and the violent end to the society, that so many Educationalists have advised against prolonged consideration of mathematical ideas since they believed that it led to too great a level of abstraction and drew the mind away from the realities of the world they lived in. Plato's Academy (an institution which lasted over 900 years until it was closed down by Emperor Justinian in 529AD as a 'pagan' establishment) was set up to educate the future politicians and statesmen of Athens. Plato's ideas of Mathematics in life and in education seem far less extreme than those touted by Pythagoras, as can be seen in Plato's Laws. Mathematics was then considered the basis from which to move into philosophical thought and as such Plato proposed that studying mathematics should occupy the student for the first ten years of his education. This he believed provided the finest training for the mind since they were then able to understand relations that cannot be demonstrated physically. Since clear logical thinking was prized not only in philosophical discussions but also in the political arena, Plato encouraged his students to train in mathematics because he thought that it encouraged the most precise and definite kind of thinking of which humans are capable. Plato's Republic gives a different level of mathematical learning to the one just described. A learning reduced

to the elementary which was possibly inspired by the public pressure from the Romans who had a very different opinion of the worth of Mathematics in Education. Aristotle's Lyceum had a much broader curriculum to the Academy and dealt more with the natural sciences. It is worth pointing out that this was much more extensive, although not as advanced, as what was taught centuries later in the British Universities. The manner of instruction in the Lyceum was the same as that in the Academy and also the Pythagorean School years before. Groups of students would gather around and ask questions of a more learned master who would, in turn, attempt to answer them and then a discussion would commence on the subject. This casual conversational style of instruction has not really been developed and the contrast with teaching methods of Europe in later centuries is marked.

The teaching of mathematics in Ancient Rome.
The Roman educational system was very similar to the Greek's, but the emphasis on what should be learnt and why was very different. Roman children were taught at home until about the age of twelve, and probably learnt similar things to the Greeks, letters, music and, at this stage, a greater proportion of elementary Arithmetic and counting, using both the abacus and their fingers. At the age of twelve the boys would then progress to a school of Literature where they would learn Grammar and elements of Logic, Rhetoric and Dialectics. As with the Greeks, many Romans would learn little more of Mathematics than what they acquired from their lessons at home unless required by their occupation. This was not always the case, however, and boys would often also attend lessons given by a special Mathematics master. This, for purely practical reasons, would be taught through several examples and was heavily calculation based. The Roman who sought to learn more than this small measure was indeed the exception rather than the rule. The Roman attitude of utility and practicality is seen in Quintilian's work where he recommends that Geometry is to be studied for two reasons. The first is that the mental training developed by the subject through the logical progression of axioms and proofs is vital, and the second is that its usage in political discussions, questions on land-measurement and similar problems is very important. Sophists employed here would be more likely to teach their students the art of speaking, Oratorio, and of current affairs than advances in science and Geometry. During this time many other texts were written recommending various educational courses for those in the middle and artisan classes, as well as the ruling class. For example Vitruvius, writing for

This educational course was introduced into the monasteries and its four . Arithmetic. Literature and Law. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on a University of St Andrews honours project by Elizabeth Watson submitted May 2000. Geometry. Most of this was due to the relative lack of peaceful times during which books and texts could be salvaged and copied. De Artibus et Discioplinis Liberalium Literarum that the seven Artes Liberales were known and used in education. Rhetoric.architects. It is partly due to its geography that England seems to have lost less than the rest of Europe. These professions were generally considered 'illiberal' and were looked down on. The teaching of mathematics in The Dark Ages. Varro and Seneca are just two who also recommend Geometry and Arithmetic as being necessary. Galen recommends to prospective doctors in the 2nd century that they should have studied such varied subjects as Medicine. however. fractions. Optics. It can also be seen in the 6th century work by Cassidorus. Geometry. Music and Astronomy). Despite this his mathematics texts were among the best available to the Romans and widely used. Astronomy. although Mathematics in education was often frowned upon. Those requiring an advanced level of Logic. This attitude is reflected in those found in Britain throughout the Mediaeval and Renaissance years. The low opinion of Mathematics is probably due in part to the professions which required mathematical or scientific learning. Several of the Greek and Roman ideas of Education seem to be present. Europe went through a great decline in terms of knowledge and education. suggests that his students should include in their general education knowledge of Geometry. Music. Philosophy and History). and it is only recently that this has been changed. Astronomy and Astrology. for example we know that Aldhiem who was born circa 639 had knowledge of Arithmetic. Astronomy. Boethius used his literary talents in writing and translating Greek texts into Latin. Music. Rhetoric and Oratorio were far preferred. Medicine. and others (Law. Rhetoric and Dialectic) and the more science based Quadrivium (Arithmetic. and the text he wrote on arithmetic was of poor quality. now split up into the Trivium (Grammar. Arithmetic and Dialectics. And there are others. His understanding of mathematics was rather limited. After the fall of the Roman Empire. From the above comments it can be seen that. it must have been taught where it was necessary. His geometry text has not survived but there is little reason to believe that is was any better.

and much work was done to improve the level of education available. Rabanus Maurus. and Mathematics and the other subjects in the Quadrivium fell out of favour. Boethius was one of the few Romans of the 5th century sufficiently interested in Geometry to leave texts behind him. music and singing. The introduction of column calculation in the 10th century also helped. but only at the highest centres of learning. By the 9th century nearly all monastic houses had schools attached where the monks and friars trained the new members of the priesthood. After this Boethius became one of the main sources of material for the Quadrivium. Indeed. who later became Pope Sylvester II (999 AD) found mathematical texts including the work of Boethius. this discovery heralded a brief resurgence in interest in Mathematics within the Church. who was later asked by Charlemagne of France to move there and help set up a school of similar standards there. the position of the Church meant an increasing desire to rid the country of 'pagan' ways and ideals. and others detailing work done by Roman Surveyors. and extending the monasteries' libraries. . including parts of Mathematics were restricted to the great Cathedral schools such as that in York. as well as the Easter Calculations. One of the pupils at York was Alcuin. When Gerbert was raised to Pope. This included the broad education that had been encouraged up until this point. and remained there until Gerbert. Since this. Unfortunately. By this time the Church was established in Britain and schools were being set up to further spread knowledge of the Christian faith. The curriculum under him included such diverse and advanced subjects as Rhetoric. Arithmetic. with Alcuin as its master. Further studies. The state of education in France had degraded to such an extent that Charlemagne. With the return of war and strife the level of education dropped again. later set up his own school with an even broader curriculum than that favoured by Alcuin. Physics. writing and Bible studies. one of the pupils there. which were the mathematical limit at most smaller church schools. in Britain at least. principally amongst the merchant classes. Law. Geometry.subjects were certainly not taught everywhere. wrote of his concerns of whether even the clergy knew enough Latin to be able to interpret the Bible and Scriptures correctly! In response to this need the Palace School was set up. educated at court by the best the country could provide. were more important than a general education for the populace the instruction received at most places was limited to reading. especially after he had written his own version. The Bishop and head teacher of the York school in 732 was Egbert.

indicating that some of the Quadrivium still survived in Europe. rather than the scholar. The country was divided into 11 dioceses by the end of this century (although this number increased later) and schools attached to the new churches and cathedrals were set up much in the same manner as those south of the border. The teaching of mathematics in Britain in the Mediaeval Ages. rather than just the rich and those wanting to take up Orders. especially during the 11th century and the Norman conquest of England. Many of these schools also started taking in the poor. it is doubtful whether few knew more than basic counting and finger reckoning. By this time schools were reduced to little or no arithmetic. In Europe the situation was little better than England. and this is where British students of ability went to study. Cambridge and Oxford were then the only possible alternatives and these two rapidly grew into universities worthy of admiration. although major centres of learning still existed in places like Paris where the University was founded during the 12th century. Since there were few others with the time and the money to study. known better as Johannes deSacrobosco. King Harold's concerns about the English nobles' views of education and even the clergy's diminishing ability in Latin prose made little impact on the situation. . This practise continued for many years in Scotland especially after the War of Independence with England. Despite this John of Holywood. although the sciences were still neglected for the most part. not only studied at the University in Paris but also lectured there helping to promote Fibonacci's work and in 1220 wrote on Astronomy and Geometry.Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on a University of St Andrews honours project by Elizabeth Watson submitted May 2000. but English students were restricted by Henry II in 1167 when he banned them from attending the University of Paris. Ability in warfare and defending ones land was more important at that time and the noblemen spent their time learning the skills of the fighter. the level of education and mathematical knowledge of the populace dropped still further. During the 12th century the education in Scotland was beginning to improve thanks to efforts made by the Church. These schools aimed to teach people to read and write in order to aid their ability to understand the Scriptures. The decline in education in Europe and Britain especially continued through into the Mediaeval years.

who then answered them also by memory. A form of dialogue between the pupil and the master had developed. their teaching style left much to be desired. while the Dominicans started actively opening schools and taking in the poor children of the area. much in the same way as the Scottish had before them. A similar system was supposed to be in place in Oxford and Cambridge in the 13th century.Fibonacci's texts. the levels of education also rose during the 13th and 14th centuries. Proportion. Optics. Ptolemaic Astronomy. which Fibonacci had learnt while travelling in his youth. and prompted the spread of Algebra and the knowledge of Greek texts saved in Arabia but lost to Europe for centuries. However. were written between 1202 and 1228. Hydrostatics. a private tutor of mathematics (mostly concerned to give tuition on keeping . For the Masters Degree they were to be 'acquainted' with the first six books of Euclid. although Roger Bacon's account of his time there questions this. Any further knowledge that was required by an individual could be obtained from a scrivener. and many other texts were soon being studied. as well as the ubiquitous finger reckoning that was still required by many when they first entered University. One of the first of these to make a great impact was the translation of Euclid's Elements into Latin from Arabic. and the antipathy towards book learning had set in. Measurement of Surfaces. For the Bachelor's Degree they were advised to read Sacrobosco's Tractatus de Sphaera. With the increased amount of Mathematics being taught in universities. The list of courses in the 14th century seems more extensive and includes Algorism. Practica geometria and others. By the 14th century the level of Mathematics required to graduate from such universities as Paris and Prague was considerable. Despite the fact that the three years of further study required for the Masters degree were solely dedicated to the Quadrivium. Bacon doubted that few if any had read more Geometry than Euclid's definitions and the first five propositions of Book 1. Perspective. The Dominicans had more of a presence. Liber abbaci. All of these advances were in spite of the fact that the English nobles were now feeling the pressures of the Hundred Years War against France. whereas before this the majority of the monasteries had been Benedictine or Cistercian run. more and more of the clergy were becoming mathematically literate and were then passing this knowledge on to their students. The pupil was required to learn the questions to ask of the master. This method led to rote learning rather than true understanding. so further study by an individual would have been hampered. While there were still no Universities in Scotland. These latter two Orders had little interest in educating the population beyond obtaining further members of the clergy. These helped the spread of the Hindu-Arabic number system. the Theory of the Lever and Astronomy (although exactly what level of knowledge 'acquainted' infers is unknown).

Guarino. During this period. . Such subjects as Mathematics and Music were still taught but at a much more elementary level. concentrating heavily on Grammar and Literature. and the early forms of money lenders in the larger cities and towns. a new way of thinking came to the fore proposing a different form of training. like Palmein. whose school was established shortly after Vittorino's. a practise which was not promoted by many other educators. who would also do the accounts of others to supplement their own wages. The trades which specifically dealt with parts of Geometry and Arithmetic included builders and architects. The lifestyle that these artisan and merchant classes led was not conducive to further study had they wanted to. By far the most advanced mathematics teaching during the Middle Ages was that done by the trade guilds. Vittorino da Feltre was one of the founders of Renaissance education and his school was arguably the most liberal. selected students were encouraged to concentrate their efforts in the mathematical field. Other Educationalists. merchants and traders. Most held similar opinions to mainstream Humanists.accounts and book-keeping). The teaching of mathematics in The Renaissance. subjects which could not be directly applied to life were of secondary importance and an education which improved knowledge of Latin (allowing for further perusal of the ancient texts) and the art of Oratorio was considered sufficient. were criticised. and they should also have received the time and support to study those subjects at which they excelled in greater depth. preferred the more classical stance to learning. who advised that a greater understanding of Arithmetic and Geometry was necessary. These views were championed by Humanists who established schools and institutions which implemented these ideas. not the least of which involved a major shift in European educational ideas. one which would provide the student with skills for life and not just those which were required by their occupation. In particular. as practical arts and rational disciplines. This form of private tuition grew during the Renaissance until it reached its peak in the 17th century before waning in the 18th century with the increase in the number of schools and night classes. This was an apprenticeship of seven years to a master of a trade who then taught you all that he thought you should know. The range of subjects available was extensive and Vittorino's aim was that each student should leave with a basic understanding of each. The Renaissance was a period of immense transformations within Europe. utilising the work of prominent Roman authors as examples.

but also the works of more modern mathematicians such as Cardan. because of its strong association with trade and commerce. book-keeping. The Castle of Knowledge and The Whetstone of Wittewere not so popular. however. Bombelli and others began being printed. another type of school was founded in Florence and its surrounding areas. This is most likely due to their less practical and more advanced contents. but which was reprinted over fifty times in nearly a hundred and sixty years. the invention of the printing press having the most profound effect on education. and the more practical elements of Geometry. Robert Recorde wrote what is thought to be the first series of textbooks in English. He did not. Characteristic of most of Recorde's texts is his question and response style of writing.The study of Mathematics in particular was disputed by many. The Pathwaie is the only one of Recorde's four books not written in this dialogue style. since he counselled against using a similar style in the classroom because of its limitations. It is considered almost as an . and hence provided courses in Arithmetic. What little mathematics was taught in the merchant schools therefore became highly theoretical and divorced from possible applications in the real world. These were not intended for the highly educated mathematician but for the common man seeking to improve his understanding of such subjects as the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. Merchants and master craftsmen in many areas in Europe were not given an identical level of respect or deference as they commanded in Germany. This is very close to the teaching style used during the Mediaeval Ages. Not solely the ancient texts. Algebra. This allowed for a rapid dissemination of knowledge with many more people able to afford to purchase books. This meant that sons of the merchant class were taught only in those subjects which would aid them in their efforts to become statesmen and politicians. computation with counters which would aid their work in trade and commerce. and after the translation of important texts such as Euclid's Elements into German. especially when the practice of printing texts in monthly instalments reduced the price even further. Recorde's three other major works The Pathwaie to Knowledge. In the beginning. To cope with this gap in the educational system. which were fast becoming important due to recent advances in Navigation. These subjects were covered in Recorde's first and most successful book The Grounde of Artes which was first printed in 1540. The Scoula d'abaco taught those who wanted to improve their ability in commercial areas. Astronomy. French and Italian the demand increased. conversions between weights and coins. but it was obviously beginning to be recognised as inadequate byRecorde. Advances were being made in other sciences and technologies. explicitly propose any other method. In England. there were insufficient printing presses dealing with mathematical documents but the demand for astronomical charts and commercial tables among society grew.

Using this approach Ramus worked on many topics and wrote a whole series of textbooks on logic and rhetoric. and the reduced cost of purchasing books (thanks to the printing press) caused an increasing interest in the sciences. in order to aid the spread of knowledge to those who had not spent years learning Latin at school and University and who found studying the texts in the original language difficult. remains a mystery. or as a Mathematics practitioner similar in style to the scriveners of previous centuries. Ramus proposed that in France the Arts courses taught at universities should return to the seven classical liberal arts. He developed "method" as a pedagogical concept taking theory towards that required for practical problems. particular things in a particular way. astronomy. He argued that Mathematics should be studied. mathematics. John Dee. Knowledge of certain mathematical skills and techniques beyond what was available in most schools was becoming more important. He proposed to reorganise the seven liberal arts using the following three "laws of method":(i) only things which are true and necessary may be included.abridged version of Euclid's Elements with many of the Latin terms replaced with English equivalents of Recorde's own devising. The existence of textbooks like those of Ramus and Recordeand others. This caused much criticism and later versions of Pathwaie returned to the originals. grammar. but also for its ability to 'lift the heart to the heavens' which is reminiscent of Pythagorean beliefs. Those with more money either became academics or amateur mathematicians. (ii) all and only things which belong to the art in question must be included. not only amongst the wealthy but also amongst the middle class. but with the syllabus more based on applied topics. A German attempt to replace the Latin terminology was successful although why one was accepted but the other was not. Around the middle of the sixteenth century. one of the editors for The Grounde after graduating from Cambridge with both a BA and an MA and later lecturing at the University of Paris on sections from Euclid's books. wrote of the need for improving the place of Mathematics in Education. Dee himself . especially in the towns and cities. (iii) general things must be dealt with in a general way. not only for its practical use (of which there was still too little). It was soon possible for people to earn a living as a private Mathematics tutor for those with enough money. and optics. many of whom often made considerable advances in both the subject and its place in education. He proposed translating currently available mathematical texts into English.

These three were very much in the same style as the Parisian University and followed the mediaeval syllabus. This remained in place until the middle of the 18th century. The University structure was changed and the practice of teaching first year students all of their courses by the Regent was removed. and the structure of the Universities. also made attempts to study more advanced Mathematics including much of Euclid's work and then to pass on his knowledge to others at the University. Few other professors made any significant efforts in this direction. They introduced the study of Greek for the first time in Scottish universities and the extended curriculum included lectures on Arithmetic. These reforms did not remain in place and by the middle of the 17th century the Universities had reverted to the old Mediaeval system. It recommended textbooks including Cardan and Tunstall (whose De Arte Suppletandi of 1522 was very much based on the academic style found in Italy and hence of little use to the merchant classes) along with Euclid's Geometry and Astronomy. This Mediaeval curriculum. Andrew Melville. including three in Scotland alone. These Statues were removed only twenty-one years later during the reign of Elizabeth I. The two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were no longer alone in Britain.helped to translate Euclid's Elements into English and this was then published in 1570. because the commissioners believed that Mathematics was applied to the practical life and was therefore more part of a technical education than that which should be provided at the University. and Mathematics which were given predominantly by James. the first Professor Regius of Greek at Cambridge. the majority of whom became tutors at court. . At this time Glasgow was in greater need. where subjects in the Quadrivium were considered to be useful only as training for what was soon to be considered the more important subjects at university: Natural. Sir John Cheke. Universities in Glasgow and Aberdeen soon followed. were revised shortly after the Reformation. The improvements that both Andrew and his nephew James made were considerable. eighty-eight years after it was published in Latin. A University at St Andrews was founded in the early 15th century because of problems posed by sending the most advanced students of the Grammar and Cathedral schools to the University of Paris and France's transferral of allegiance to the Roman Pope. one of the supporters of the ideals presented in the Book of Discipline. was offered the principalships of both St Andrews and Glasgow following his return from Paris and Geneva. Geometry. Metaphysical and Moral Philosophy. having few students and little money. The Edwardian Statues of 1549 at Cambridge did try to improve the situation by laying down that all freshmen were to be taught Mathematics at foundation level as part of a liberal education. In 1597 Andrew Melville was forcibly removed to St Andrews which too enjoyed a New Foundation and a short golden era of advancement. The 14th and 15th centuries saw the foundation of over 50 new universities across Europe.

The larger towns and cities fared better with almost all the burghs of any size containing a Grammar school (many of which were already over a century old) by 1560. jeopardising their very existence. which required landowners to provide a suitable building for a schoolhouse and wages for the schoolmaster. Efforts did not end with the opening of a school in the parish or burgh. In what was later called the First Book of Discipline. and a marked increase in the number and placement of schools. The real and permanent advances in Scottish Education occurred in the 17th century with the Education Acts of 1616. Here they laid out detailed plans for the Universities. that attempts were made to obey. However. but in 1549 the Provincial Council accused cloistered schools of their 'crass ignorance or literature and all liberal arts'. As a consequence. the first of which required every parish to establish a school and to find a suitable schoolmaster to teach the children of that area. with the buildings close to these structures. The teaching of mathematics in Britain in the Seventeenth Century. However. These specific buildings had previously housed the schools and now there existed no other suitable buildings in the area which could offer the same. excepting small and poorly run schools where letters and reading might be taught.The Reformation and the First Book of Discipline highlighted the failings of education in Scotland. the 'six Johns' chosen by the Privy Council included two chapters. and guidelines proposing advances for school level education. Where some form of teaching was available it was usually provided by the Church. and that the poor should also be educated. Much of this did not happen until the 17th century. Schooling was also disrupted when rioting destroyed cathedrals and churches. specifically dedicated to education. Further Acts were soon required due to the lack of action being taken in response to these Acts but it wasn't until that of 1646. and Andrew Melville's work did much to restore the ailing Universities. meant that many who would have progressed into further education and who would then have been sponsored at University chose not to do so. regardless of whether or not they intended to follow a career in the Church. these problems were only temporary. however. The disruption caused by the Reformation to the Church. the enrolment at Glasgow and St Andrews dropped to almost nil in 1560. The overall effect of the Reformation in Scotland was a general improvement in the standards of education available. . Some of the most fundamental points included the requirement that every church should appoint a schoolmaster of some ability. and it did cause great disruption to the educational system in the late 16th century. the more rural areas of Scotland were often left with no form of education available at all.

the continued separation of University Mathematics and the commercial and industrial needs of the general populace continued and so a new educational establishment was formed. Not everything ran smoothly. Although this increase in education in Mathematics was noticeable. Oxford and Cambridge had both managed to produce several Mathematicians of excellent quality. By the mid 17th century in the larger towns. In Peebles. and the Lucasian Chair in Mathematics was not established until 1662. after which almost a century went by before the Westminster Parliament produced its first measure dealing with Scottish Schools. before moving to the Grammar School to begin their lessons in Latin. It was now often the case that children would first go to a small private school to learn the basics of reading. writing and counting. It was also at Gresham College that what was later called the Royal Society of London started holding their discussions and lectures on Experimental science. Additional Acts in 1690. however. where the Burgh Schools were beginning to specialise in the higher studies. Those being prepared for University would also occasionally get some grounding in further Arithmetic and Euclidean Geometry. founded in the late 1650's. the proceeds of which would then go to the schoolmaster to eke out his salary. Astronomy and Mathematics which attracted large numbers of people. By the beginning of the 17th century the English Universities had partially revised their opinion of Mathematics and had started to increase the quality of Mathematics instruction available. This changed when the first Chair in Geometry was set up in Oxford in 1619. It was through Gresham's that Logarithms and Trigonometrical advances relating to Navigation were spread so quickly after their development. six years after the Mathematics Chair in Aberdeen started being held by a regent who taught Arithmetic. The Society was not formally recognised by the . was intended to provide a much more practical and useful knowledge of the sciences. the town officer was often required to move through the town and order the children to appear in school the next day or else their parents would be fined. Cambridge was much slower in recognising Mathematics as anything other than a subdivision of the three Philosophies. Gresham College. It was vastly successful in this aim. for example. and despite the Councils' best efforts there was little money to be spent on opening schools in the more rural areas of Scotland and by 1650 only a fraction of the parishes were supplied with any form of school. despite the lack of support and encouragement those wishing to study the subject received. Councils were beginning to license private teachers in an effort to regain some form of control over these independent agents. 1693 and 1699 followed before the Union of 1707.Councils often had to pass acts requiring the parents in the area to send their children to the school so that they might then benefit from this service. giving public lectures in both Latin and English on topics drawn from Geometry. Geometry and Classical Physics.

moral and religious grounds. It was also made illegal for any of these dissenters to work in any private (or public) school. it did accomplish a lot and the Mathematical education of the prospective officers for the Navy did improve. but many of those involved moved in influential circles and did much to improve the state of Mathematical education yet further. Many of the evicted teachers chose to set up their own schools until the Five Mile Act of 1665 which restrained the dissenting clergy from coming within five miles of towns or cities. One of the biggest turning points in English Education was the Act of Uniformity passed in 1662. liberal. Similar opinions had been held a hundred years . Approximately 1760 of the clergy and over 150 dons and school teachers were evicted because of their conviction in their beliefs. Although this school had a very troubled and chequered start. The courses run were also very similar to those at the two well established Universities and favoured the classics over all until 1662. both Watts and Philip Doddridge argued against allowing students to pursue mathematical truths for too long believing that this led to abstraction from the real world. the early dissenting colleges and institutions varied a great deal in curriculum and standards. he learnt as much of the subject as he could while at College. Like all other schools at this time. Not all followed this path. One such was Samuel Pepys whose endeavours finally led to the Royal Mathemtical School being established in Christ's Hospital School in 1673. Some. like Richard Frankland's Academy. especially after the Toleration Act of 1685 when many Academies followed John Jenning's lead and broadened their syllabuses to include subjects like advanced Algebra and Geometry. In later years he campaigned vigorously for Mathematics to have a place of honour in the curriculum justifying this on utilitarian. Penalties for not swearing to this code of conduct included fining and a possible prison sentence. One of the students to benefit from the knowledge available at Dissenting Colleges and Academies was Isaac Watts. such as the traditionally trained Isaac Newton and fellow educator Philip Dodderidge. were comparable to Oxford and Cambridge and students were allowed to graduate from Edinburgh University after only a single year's extra study. These actions led to the foundation of the Dissenting Colleges. These topics were taught by educators such as Adam Martindale and Humphrey Ditton (who later became a Mathematics Master at Christ's Hospital). Believing that an understanding of Mathematics was a step towards an acceptance of God. This required all of the clergy and all teachers at all levels to swear that they would in no way seek any changes to Church or State and that they would conform to the Book of Common Prayer and the thirty-nine Articles. However. Isaac Watts was joined in these views by other influential Mathematicians. Logarithms and Surveying. Other Colleges and Universities proposed to help spread the knowledge of the Mathematical Sciences and other subjects were quashed by Charles II in 1660.

The effect of the Reformation in England carried on into the 18th century with both schools and Universities being too closely associated with the Church and State. This did not change until Acts of 1812 and 1840 the first of which gave schools the possibility of limited changes to their curriculum but they had to apply to make any permanent changes. The quality and the quantity of teaching still varied hugely. such as that formed between the Newcastle Grammar school and CharlesHutton's school in the same city. and the second which gave schools full power over what they taught. Practical Geometry and the astronomical parts of Navigation at a school in Romsey. and a significant number of students entering Oxford and Cambridge in the 1630's still had no prior knowledge of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. This meant that the Grammar students could take classes at Hutton's school in increasingly popular subjects such as Mathematics and French. private tutors also picked up on the need for a practical mathematical education and rapidly advertised their skills in this area. This could only happen in the larger towns and cities which were well supplied with institutions supported either by philanthropists or groups of merchants wishing to provide a more . When Leeds Grammar School tried to change their curriculum from the traditional subjects of the Trivium to include French and Mathematics it resulted in Lord Eldon's judgement which was very conservative (despite his own broad education). partly due to the Act of Uniformity. and prohibited future changes in Grammar School syllabuses. The teaching of mathematics in Britain in the Eighteenth Century. Schools and Colleges were not the only source of learning. Despite all of this when other religious groups started setting up boarding schools they followed the curriculum found in the most modern Dissenting Colleges.before by Vives. Since neither encouraged progressive thought and innovation this resulted in a period of stagnation and decline. This contrasts greatly with the education available in parts of Hampshire where Sir William Petty was taught all the Rules of common Arithmetic. With this restriction to the traditional syllabus many English Grammar schools forged associations with local private and dissident establishments. and centuries before by the Romans. It took just nine short years fromNapier's Descripto (the English translation was published two years later) for Logarithms to be advertised and taught by men such as Robert Hartwell. At this stage there was no external examination of schools and the curriculum and syllabus of each was decided by the head teacher. tutor to Henry VIII's daughters.

and proposing that Perth was a suitable place for such higher education. Lectures and private tutelage were more popular than they had been because of advances in teaching methods which made the courses more interesting. Banff. founded between 1760 and 1766. was the first Scottish school to teach science on a comprehensive scale. The new academy. Euclid. Many teachers went to night classes themselves in order to increase the number of topics that they could advertise for tutelage. introducing courses on the commercial applications of Mathematics. Many other schools. Physics. Many of these were designed specifically to be mathematically and scientifically strong to compete with Grammar Schools like that in Ayr. Curriculum revision and improvement was soon forced by these new Academies and the Grammar schools (unrestricted by Lord Eldon's ruling) improved their Mathematics teaching abilities and the Academies soon introduced Latin to their already impressive range of courses. Improvements in Mathematical education in Scotland moved along different lines. Other methods of improving your knowledge included attending public lectures given by the newly formed and rapidly increasing Mathematics Society. Optics and many other subjects. James Bonar advocating a two-session programme leading to a 'modern' university course. which was predominantly aimed at the artisan and middle classes. These lectures were often very popular and the attendance could reach over three hundred. Mathematics. Many of the Scottish Councils were impressed with Christ's Hospital. and the Dissenting schools recently set up in England. Trigonometry. This resulted in the Rev. These smaller establishments were often sponsored by groups of philanthropists or similarly like minded individuals.practical education for their children. or hospitals as they were then . Differential Calculus. set up in 1717. Sixteen other academies were set up (and survived) over the next seventy years in Dundee. Perth Academy alone originally offered higher Arithmetic. Inverness and in other areas. Geography. Algebra. Mathematics and book-keeping courses were becoming more and more in demand as people began to realise that their job prospects increased with their knowledge and skills in these areas. The strength of these new academies also pushed smaller schools and enterprises into copying them. Navigation. To provide the adult market with an equal opportunity to improve their computational skills. Perth Council in particular ordered an enquiry into the academies and colleges appearing in England. Navigation and Mechanical art from swearing the oath included in the Act of Uniformity. Teaching such subjects was becoming more common because of an Act passed in 1713 (called the Act to Prevent Growth of Schism) which excluded teachers of Mathematics. some of the better educated teachers and headmasters ran night classes and private lecture courses for groups of paying individuals. Gresham College. Logic.

Pestalozzi's work of 1803 influenced many who then incorporated his reforms into their own schools. The Scottish Act of 1803 placed the examination of schools in the hands of the presbyteries and government inspection. was instituted in 1833. and there were few schools who did not give Mathematics a place in a student's timetable of classes. These were then encouraged to dedicate themselves to methods and activities which would eradicate illiteracy in the towns and cities of Scotland. This century saw the waning of the Church's power over schooling and education in Scotland. He also promoted a knowledge of the names of numbers and the simplest of Arithmetic operations before the introduction of figures and notation. The most fundamental of these were that children should start learning Mathematics and basic Arithmetic as soon as they entered school and that this work should be based on perception and the properties of physical objects. Much of Britain's institutions were still very conservative. Mathematics was also becoming easier. The final blow to the Church's power was the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872 which transferred the work of administering education from the Church to secular bodies. no other subject was deemed more important at this stage of a pupil's education. most especially in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Two others followed in the same century. write and had an elementary knowledge of Arithmetic.called. Such advances took time to filter into the more traditional education establishments. but the rate increased during the 18th century. but rapidly grew through the demands of industry and the need to compete with the Academies. founded in the mid 17th century. It was now generally accepted that some level of understanding of Mathematics was absolutely necessary for modern life. which had been gaining support since the 1770's. There was also a lot of work done on when and how a pupil should be taught. and was intended to provide an education for the poor youths of Edinburgh. but could leave the educational system once they could read. much of which was due to the industrial revolution and the mass migration of workers from rural areas. Not the least of which were . Children were once again enjoined to go to school. The curriculum originally offered by these hospitals was limited. were set up using the money of successful merchants. What is perhaps most important is the position of prominence that Mathematics was placed in his school. thanks to efforts made abroad to formulate Arithmetic into a series of easily understandable rules and operations. The teaching of mathematics in Britain in the Nineteenth Century. George Heriot's was the first.

The main aim of this club was to persuade the university to adopt the continental practise. with many illustrations of the diagrams and constructions that they would later work with when studying the axioms and theorems. By 1817 they had partial success asPeacock was appointed moderator in the university examinations and introduced the new notation this way. By 1823. Geometry especially was taught following the lines laid out in Euclid's Elements despite De Morgan's calls for different methods whereby the pupil learnt the vocabulary of the subject. The University of London aimed to provide an education in Mathematics and Physical Science. He then expected the students to attempt these problems and to hand in their solutions later so that he might mark them before handing them back with corrections. and thereby improve his course for the following year. Classics and Medicine. Hopefully they would learn from their mistakes. but the reaction against this project was so great that it was rapidly dropped. and they translated Lacroix's Differential and Integral Calculus book into English to aid this. and little effort was made to ensure that pupils understood the underlying principles of what they were learning. Examination and certification of teachers. Some schools were up and running already. and started up in an attempt to improve this state of affairs. it is obvious that even during De Morgan's time the examinations at Cambridge were still very narrow. De Morgan handed out sheets of problems based on that day's lecture. and students who. Despite his young age (less than 22) De Morgan got the chair of Mathematics at the newly opened university and it is through his efforts that methods for lecturing in Mathematics (and other subjects) improved in leaps and bounds. and John Herschel who had formed the Analytical Society at Cambridge during their undergraduate years. while Augustus De Morgan was at Cambridge. Babbage. A short while later in 1826 a new institution advertising itself as being free from religious prejudice was founded. . like De Morgan. Teacher training schools were proposed in 1839. At the end of his lectures. De Morgan also commented on the quality of mathematics teaching in the schools. started by the SSPCK (Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge) Schools before 1795. However. The first half of the 19th century saw a revival of Mathematics education at Cambridge due in part to the efforts of Peacock. Despite the advances made in Europe many teachers had reverted to the old use of rote learning found in the Mediaeval ages. but these were rare. the analytical methods and notation of differential calculus made their way into the course. read more widely than the strict syllabus did not get recognised for their ability. and he would find out where students were having difficulty understanding the ideas that he presented.the two English Universities. but privately as for example David Stow's Glasgow Normal Seminary of 1836. was not put into general practice.

These can be summarised as follows: . later renamed the London College School. This movement only had a limited effect and in 1859 a Public Commission was established to inquire into the state of popular education in England and report what measures. After this stage the changes and improvements to education. The fortunes of Mathematics in Education have varied considerably through the ages. Andrew Bell (who founded Madras College in St Andrews where EFR received his school education) wrote that the utopian scheme for universal diffusion of general knowledge would confound the distinctions between ranks and classes of society on which the general welfare hinges. and in imitation of efforts in Scotland. its almost disappearance in the Mediaeval ages. Because of its importance in the world of trade. and Kings College School in 1829. the Committee of the Privy Council on Education proposed in 1839 that an Inspectorate of schools should be set up. from the highest respect and devotion in Greece. and the place that Mathematics held in the common curriculum. As a by-product of this. became much more rapid with several Government backed experiments. In 1837 a select Committee of Parliament was appointed to consider how 'useful education' might best be provided for the children of the poorer classes in England. These included Liverpool Institute (1825). although attempts were made to broaden state-assisted education and to improve its quality. The teaching of mathematics: Some conclusions. commerce and industry. there were no further movements towards compulsory education. The key changes in this development have been in response to a small number of events in history and the actions of a few people and organisations.In the 1820's a new type of school started appearing. if any. they sought more utilitarian ends. leading the way to better methods and syllabuses. such as the Fife Mathematics Project of the 1960's and others. the London University. to its subsequent re-emergence in the modern times. In fact there started a counter movement to that which advocated education for all. Mathematics (and other sciences) was given a pride of place in the syllabus. These schools were less expensive due to being funded by a committee and. are required for the extension of sound and cheap elementary instruction to all classes of people. because they had been aimed at providing education for the middle classes. Despite the work of the earlier Committee.

1. All of these factors and events influenced the position of Mathematics in society and education. The struggle to highlight the importance of a sound mathematical understanding needed in today's world continues with efforts aimed at improving the image of the subject being sponsored and run by both governments and public organisations. and England saw the added effect of the Act of Uniformity in the establishment of the Dissident Academies. Charlemagne and Alcuin being probably the foremost among them. Scotland experienced a rise in both the number of schools. 8. The foundation of further universities as centres of knowledge and learning. The effect of the Reformation of the Church in both Scotland and England had far reaching consequences for educational standards. Brought to Europe by knights on crusades. The increase in knowledge thanks to texts saved and recovered by the Arabs. The rise in commerce and navigation during the Renaissance which meant that people with a good level of mathematical knowledge were sought after as tutors for individuals. 5. and the opinions of the public to the subject. The invention of the printing press which led to a much wider dissemination of knowledge and mathematical advances thanks to the reduced cost of buying or acquiring books and texts. Dundee and other cities. Pope Sylvester II also played his part in improving the Church's opinion of Mathematics in the later period of the Dark Ages. The fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent loss of knowledge and educational practises due to the succession of wars that followed this event. 6. 7. 4. or teachers for schools of trade and navigation that were beginning to appear. and the quality of education supplied by them. The efforts of a few key people. and the work of Fibonacci in introducing and promoting the new and improved numerical systems. 2. Finally the effect of the industrial revolution with the increased numbers of immigrant workers from the rural areas which because of the rise in illiteracy and lack of numerate skills highlighted the lack of education available there and the insufficient services in the cities. Scottish Councils copied this with the foundation of several mathematically strong Academies in Perth. to improve educational standards and the knowledge of the general populace and the clergy. . 3. many of whom were more open to the mathematical sciences then the traditional Grammar Schools and Universities.

The report of the Royal Commission on Education in Scotland of 1867 presents a vivid and detailed picture of the educational conditions of the whole country at that time. . Scotland possessed for more than two hundred years the most democratic education system in the world. but greatly to raise the level for the whole country. As an example. Through it.Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on a University of St Andrews honours project by Elizabeth Watson submitted May 2000. The Scottish Education Department was set up in 1839. The burgh or grammar schools. but state inspection was not carried out because of financial difficulties until after the reorganisation of the Scottish Education Department in 1885. some of them successful. owing to the competition of the parish schools. that the Argyle Commission in its report of 1868 reported that over fifty per cent of the students attending the four Scottish universities came direct from parish schools. Its object was to provide education for "the whole people of Scotland" and not merely for the labouring classes as was implied in the English measure. Since 1872 repeated efforts were made to remedy the more glaring defects in the original Act. The parish schools. which were the true secondary schools. In Scotland there were basically two kinds of schools. and to a considerable extent in consequence of this it has enjoyed an influence and importance in the world altogether out of proportion to its size and population. The Education Act of 1878 empowered the Education Department to conduct inspection of all higher class schools. The Education Act of 1872 gave effect to the recommendations of the Commission. and gave to Scotland an education system far removed from the highly specialised character of continental schools. which originally were purely elementary. The general effect of this policy was to depress secondary education in the higher class reaches. were encouraged to provide at least the elements of secondary education. indeed. It is in this way that both types of schools became universal education providers. and the Act improved primary education. Scottish School Reforms of 1870s. One can see from this that Scotland had been in possession of a National system of Education for nearly two hundred years. were compelled to open their doors to primary pupils who were prepared to pay increased fees for the privilege. These schools played this role so well. but it only became effective from 1872 when a separate committee of the privy council was set up to administer the Scottish Education Department.

with Lord Balfour of Burleigh being chairman. sometime their friend Professor Robertson Smith. The setting up of the Scottish Leaving Certificate. The outstanding feature in the history of secondary education during the twenty years immediately succeeding the passing of the Education Act of 1872 was the institution of the Leaving Certificate Examination. being part of the discussions. and the methods antiquated and ineffective. Many questions the commission considered were frequently discussed by Gibson and Chrystal. Scottish Education once more resumed its onward course. His thoughts soon led him to become more and more an advocate of extending the policy of state aid to secondary schools. He said that secondary schools were dying while even those with money were far from efficient. The commissioners were provided full powers necessary for their job. took part in the inspection of secondary schools over a period of several years. Alexander Gibson. were "wholesomely prosperous".. below the level of the cultured nations of Europe. the curricula far behind the times. Chrystal was not a commissioner. but was a friend of the secretary of the commission Alexander Gibson. along with some other Scottish professors. Chrystal said. on the whole taken a step backwards.In 1882 The Educational Endowments (Scotland) Act was passed. by which secondary education in the higher . The inspectors appointed by the Education Department in 1886 to investigate the conditions in the higher class schools presented a somewhat depressing report: the staff were found to be inadequate and underpaid. under which such inspection was extended to all endowed schools and a commission consisting of seven commissioners was established. Gibson always found their opinions helpful and worthy of the consideration of his commission. was appointed to be the secretary to the commissioners. As a result of this administrative change Chrystal. In 1877 Chrystal had remarked with concern that secondary education had not kept pace with primary education. the famous theologist who often in Edinburgh. With the advent of an independent Education Department.. but had. These discussions gaveChrystal a renewed interest in educational reform. The universities. like that of secondary schools was:. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on part of Chapter 3 of a University of St Andrews doctoral dissertation by Mohammad Yousuf submitted January 1990. their standard.

In this way pupils could boast of being in possession of four. aimed at a common examination. to keep in touch with school programmes by means of visits of inspection. who became permanent secretary of the Scottish Education Department in 1885. without unduly limiting the independence of local management. based on the results of the highest classes in these schools. nor for the satisfactory completion of an approved school course. with a view to determining whether a national examination of the type was possible. To obtain an overview of Scottish education. the suggestion was made that their Lordships should issue a certificate. We have invited the opinions on this subject of those who have taken part in the inspection. raise the standards of secondary education throughout the country. we have given special consideration to the means by which this inspection might give satisfactory evidence as top the state of the schools. but not very successfully. . and six Leaving Certificates. Craik in his 1886-87 report remarks [2]:. but for passes in the separate subjects of instruction. although an attempt was made. the higher class schools. Before such a certificate was instituted.. and a single certificate marked the successful close of the Intermediate and PostIntermediate stage respectively. which would serve as a measure of the attainment fairly to be expected in the case of pupils completing a course of secondary education. In 1886 he announced in a circular his Department's decision to conduct an inspection of all higher class schools. This circular made the first official reference to a Leaving Certificate. and might as the same time. and was one of the most important factors in the advance of the methods and results in secondary schools. and how it might best be arranged. not for success in specified groups of subjects.. as well as others. saying [1]:In connection with the inspection of schools. Henry Craik. Certificates were awarded on the result of a purely external examination. With this end we have carefully considered the extent to which a leaving examination might be established in connection with the inspection. This also provided a link to the work in the universities. it was decided to consult with those who had experience in examining higher class schools. At the beginning the system differed fundamentally from the German conception of leaving certificates.class public schools. One man with such experience was Chrystal. was determined to improve the standard of education in Scotland. he appointed a committee of inquiry in 1886 to examine the state of education in Scotland. five. All this was latter changed. These certificates were granted. Its report showed a serious lack of uniformity between schools in various parts of the country. and the state aided schools.

is to set a minimum standard for the work of the secondary schools. with the help of his assistant.. The most important result of a leaving examination. In all Chrystal. Encouraged by the report. . He examined pupils in the higher classes of twelve secondary schools. after being asked by the Scottish Education Department. so far as mathematics is concerned.. The experiment was a difficult one.. which was the burdon of preparing different groups of students in a single class for various professional entrance examinations. conducted an experiment to test the possibility of setting up a General Leaving Examination for secondary schools in Scotland. reached a standard of proficiency equivalent to that demanded by the General Medical Council and other professional bodies in their entrance examinations. according to Chrystal. The chief advantage of a leaving examination would be that:. and to mark. it would lighten considerably an unnecessary burden which at present oppresses the secondary schools .. From his assessment of the written papers. marked 1650 examination papers. two grades of certificate should be issued. Chrystal wrote in his report:. to a common standard. and a lower grade equivalent to the entrance examination of the Medical Council and other professional bodies. Thus he recommended that if a national leaving examination were instituted. and yet not so high as to damage education in the many schools in Scotland that were inadequately equipped to meet the requirements. involving the setting and marking of a mathematics paper.. though a high percentage of the 'failures' had. and probably with much advantage to our secondary schools. however. In order to make clear the reasons for the course which Chrystal ultimately followed.Chrystal. the institution of a leaving examination will be attended with no great difficulty. This immediately determined that the minimum standard of proficiency should be equivalent to that of the university entrance examination for the three years' Arts course. in fact. the boundary between their level and that of the universities. each of which has a standard of its own. a higher grade equivalent to the University Entrance Examination.. Chrystalconcluded that only a small percentage were capable of attaining that standard. This standard must be so high enough to encourage progress in the best equipped schools. it is necessary to understand his ideas about the advantages of a leaving certificate examination. to some extent. the Scottish Education Department decided to investigate the feasibility of such a national examination in subjects other than mathematics. To determine this standard. Chrystal took into account the general agreement in Scotland that pupils from the final class of a good secondary school should be academically equipped to enter university.

It was a bold decision on part of Henry Craik but it proved to be a most successful one. The main reason of its success was that Craik never tried to impose the decisions of the Department. Further impetus to the creation of a Leaving Certificate came from the committee of inquiry. and there was enthusiasm for a science certificate with special emphasis on mathematics. were requested to submit a report on the proposed examination. Chrystal's feasibility report of instituting a general leaving examination in mathematics. The views which are laid before them will be carefully compared and weighed. English and Languages. a difference of opinion as to . 4. The standard which should be aimed at in each subject. however. In the third report. and to any such remarks my Lords will give most careful consideration. The circular ended with these sentences:Other points may occur on which those whom you represent may desire to offer remarks. 3. 2. in addition to their normal duties.Inspectors. reference was made to the creation of a national certificate examination as a means of improving the standard of secondary education in Scotland. There was. the report of higher class schools' examiner's as to its extension to other subjects. For example the Department asked for the opinion of school authorities on the following matters: 1. The subjects which should be included in such an examination. and the evidence laid before Parker's inquiry committee. The classes in the school to which such an examination should be open and the probable number of candidates. The report indicated that there was no real obstacle preventing the institution of a common examination in the other main academic subjects. rather he sought the opinions of the schools at each step. The most convenient time for the examination. set up by the Department in 1886 under the chairmanship of C S Parker. The replies from schools indicated a demand for certificates covering more than the purely classical courses. which issued three reports during the period 1887-88. 5. all convinced Craik that the institution of a Leaving Certificate Examination was both desirable and practicable. Attendance requirement to be fulfilled by the candidates. concerned with a comprehensive study of secondary education. Consequently the Scottish Education Department announced its decision to introduce such a Leaving Certificate Examination in 1888.

and Craik was convinced by the argument. however. was not so easily won. decided that the best way not be be committed to the decisions of this conference was not to send their official representatives. Chrystal attended the conference. and at last in 1889 Craik was successful in achieving this. but as a private individual and not a representative of Edinburgh University. however. It was generally agreed in principle. it was clear that its acceptance was conditional on its being recognised as equivalent to the university entrance examination and those of other professional bodies. The four Scottish universities and other professional bodies were contacted by the Education Department and asked that they recognise the Leaving Certificate Examination. As a first move in this direction. another for pupils going forward to a career in banking. This was felt to be necessary before the arrangements for the first examination were finalised. There is no official record of the conference. as a matter of practical expediency. but that.some school authorities suggested that the certificates be issued for passes in individual subjects. Although the schools welcomed the new examination. but Craik kept brief minutes which show that the main question discussed was whether the certificate be issued should be on a group or subject basis. Craik invited the universities to send representatives to a conference. Chrystal advised that a subject based certificate would best suit the needs of Scottish education at that time. The evolution of the Leaving Certificate Examination itself was discussed by Chrystal in his promoter's address of 1908 in these words:- . at which representatives of the Scottish Education Department were to discuss with the rectors of the secondary schools the differences of opinion which had been revealed by the replies to the circular. Professional bodies indicated a ready acceptance of the examination as an equivalent to their own entrance examinations. held on 25th February 1888 in Edinburgh. The acceptance of the universities. two grades of certificates were necessary . This confirmed the opinion expressed by Chrystal two years before in his own for pupils going forward to universities. it would be necessary to begin with certificates in single subjects and let the group certificate develop over time.the type of certificate . Greek and Mathematics. if the examination was to incorporate all the higher class schools in Scotland. The universities. that Leaving Certificates should be issued for groups of subjects. Latin. The final preparations for the examination went smoothly and the first Leaving Certificate Examination was sat on Monday 18 June 1888. The struggle to gain university recognition of the examination continued. There was general agreement that. however. covering the three university subjects. while others wanted a group certificate. insurance and commerce.

could be carried out. Two subject certificates of lower grade were accepted in place of the fourth certificate at higher grade. and it occurred to me that it might be utilised to institute a leaving certificate examination. and he certainly deserves the highest credit for the tact and energy with which he carried out what proved under his guidance to be a great educational reform. one an ancient or modern foreign language. These would be issued to those candidates who had received higher level instruction for not less than four years in a recognised school. in most of its essentials the same as now exists. deciding that a group certificate would be advantageous to the development of secondary education. One. the experiment proved to be only moderately successful. to retain their pupils long enough to complete a full course of secondary education. Strong representations were made in favour of the issue of leaving certificates. and it was proposed that I should demonstrate how such an examination. and I sketched a complete scheme. Implemented in 1900. subject certificates at higher grade in at least four subjects. an Intermediate Certificate. To my great surprise. was intended to mark the completion of a full course of secondary education.A small sum available for the purposes of secondary school inspection in Scotland had been wrung from the Treasury. The labour of carrying out the scheme in detail was taken up by Sir Henry Craik. the demand for it increased. proposed that from 1902 the Leaving Certificate would be issued on a group basis only. When I came to write my report the idea of a general leaving certificate examination had developed in my mind. intended to meet the needs of those schools which were unable. and no small gratification. and eventually the Department indicated that as a preliminary experiment it intended to issue group certificates in addition to those issued in single subjects. I was examining twelve schools for the Department in the year 1886. Despite some apparent practical difficulties in instituting the group certificate. and who had obtained. at least in a single subject. This new decision established two classes of certificate. and one mathematics or. There . The other. not in single subjects. and that for the latter fifteen. In an account of the subject that recently appeared in Scotsman. the Leaving Certificate Examination underwent many changes in details over the next few years. for one cause or another. it has been very justly said that the introduction of the leaving certificate examination was perhaps the most important event of Sir Henry Craik's tenure of office. then beginning his successful administration of the new Department. As was to be expected. during that period. the Leaving Certificate proper. The minimum age for the former certificate was seventeen. in the case of girls. higher arithmetic. and a leaving certificate in science could replace the certificate at higher grade in the ancient or modern foreign language. Both were to be awarded for proficiency over a group of subjects. The Department. but in groups of subjects. of which one had to be English. the proposal was immediately taken up by the Scottish Education Department.

George Chrystal and Scottish University Reforms. commercial or technical study. for it helped to destroy the concept that subjects were independent of each other. It was not until the last mentioned year that it became law as the Universities (Scotland) Act. The Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858 had proposed a fairly rigid structure for the M. Then. the Department introduced the Curricular Intermediate Certificate which played an important role in the evolution of the leaving certificate examination. an idea which had pervaded secondary education throughout the nineteenth century. and 1889. degree in Scotland with a set course consisting of seven compulsory subjects. In 1876 a Royal Commission. It also did much to raise the standard of education in secondary schools . whereas the Intermediate Certificate implied fitness to start literary. The holder of a Leaving Certificate was prepared for university study. The Leaving Certificate instituted in 1888 was the supreme award in Scottish secondary education until its replacement by the Scottish Certificate of Education in 1962. The commission issued its report in 1878. 1884. In 1906 the Scottish Education Department announced that the Intermediate Certificate was to be a necessary prerequisite for entry to a course leading to the full Leaving Certificate. the Leaving Certificate Examination played a vital role in the development of secondary education in Scotland during the period 1888 to 1908. was appointed to make recommendations for the universities of Scotland. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on part of Chapter 3 of a University of St Andrews doctoral dissertation by Mohammad Yousuf submitted January 1990. 1889. It put into practice the view that a Leaving Certificate should reflect proficiency over a wide curriculum designed to promote educational growth. The 1878 Royal Commission report proposed that there be a set first year course for .A. every candidate being required to have specific training in either a language or science. which was introduced into parliament in 1883.was considerable freedom of choice. with Lord President Inglis as chairman. 1885. 1887. In fact by 1908 Scottish secondary schools were covering work which a quarter of a century previously had been studied in the Arts classes of the universities. 1888. in 1908.

subject to ordinary laws of supply and demand. namely the Scottish universities committee of the privy council. the manner of examination. Law and history. I read every publication. good and bad. or of both such examinations. The higher education in the strictest sense of the word must always be the possession of a very few. He spoke on the topic in detail in his first promoter's address of 1885. to which all new ordinances and all petitions from or concerning the universities were to be referred. the furnishing of which involves most important practical questions regarding men and money. or as a preliminary condition of entering on the course of study for a degree in any faculty. . however poor. the last of these being the Italian university bill. 1889 largely remodelled the constitution of the universities.. Chrystal then posed what he considered were the main questions facing higher education. I have by no means been an indifferent spectator. however. Who are the men that are to receive it ? Where are the men to come from who are to give it ? How is the money to be provided to maintain the givers of it. The report was eagerly and anxiously discussed in academic circles and had a prominent place in the thoughts of Chrystal. and yet the proposition that the avenues to it should be open to every one. that it would be idle to discuss it here. and is moreover so universally accepted in Scotland. is to my mind so obvious. bearing on the subject which has come within my notice during the last ten years.A. . and gave the commissioners powers to regulate the course of study for any degree. the institution of an examination either on entering the university. Chrystal. and to equip them with the necessary but costly apparatus ? .. or Natural science. It appointed an executive commission under Lord Kinnear as chairman. the granting of degrees. and the admission of women to instruction and graduation in one or more faculties. the manner of teaching. and gave his opinions on these [1]:Higher education is an expensive commodity.the M. and instituted a new administrative body. Philosophy.. was not satisfied with the appointment of the commission [1]:No one in his senses expects that an executive commission will be able to sit down and draw up a scheme that will at once meet all our difficulties for all time coming.. Mathematical science. and then a student be allowed to either follow the traditional seven subjects course or to study one of five areas: Literature and philology. the length of session. where he says [1]:Although I have never hitherto taken any part in the public discussion of this matter. and can never be treated as a merely commercial article. The Universities (Scotland) Act. This proposition carries with it of course the admission that higher education must be supported to a large extent by the community at large. who has shown special fitness to receive it.

A. and I hope a remedy will be provided which. Chrystal expresses his views about mathematics and new Arts ordinance in detail in his promoter's address of 1892 [2]:Regarding the general principle of the ordinance it would hardly be profitable to speak at length. the new Italian Minister of Public Education. . which will enable us gradually. had presented an education bill to the Italian Senate and Signor Coppino. The Ordinary M. but are founded on scientific and technical criteria. The commissioners are treating the representations made to them in a conciliatory spirit. degree would be based on four departments: Language and literature. refrain from saying that after mature consideration I have come to think that it is of doubtful educational soundness. however. and which may without detriment remain unchanged for such a longer period of time as the life of an organic law regarding public instruction is wont to be. if it does not effect all that some of us would desire. and Law. joints into the cast-iron framework of our university constitution. As a result of the commission of 1889 there were fundamental changes in the Scottish university system. For an hounours degree in Arts. The failure of a previous report had shown the commissioners the advisability of preserving some moderation in dealing with the Scots and so their recommendations proposed an original and ingenious compromise. who was a friend of Chrystal's. The report presented an approach which was not so radical that it might prove unacceptable to the Scottish people. Cremona. to adapt ourselves to the existing want of our time. Science. meaning thereby the totality of university professors. while those parts should be determined by law which do not depend on scientific opinion. as men and money can be found. as it has been tacitly agreed to give it a trial..A. I to put elasticity and. eight departments were specified. What the commission will in all probability do . and gives us time to devise a better plan after some years' . Thus that part of the matter which by its nature ought to follow the progress of science and the movement of ideas would be determined by statutes made by experts and subjected to periodical revision at shorter intervals. The number of subjects for an M.what they certainly ought to do . Mental philosophy.Such an idea belongs to the childhood of an educational reformer. who could be called to propose in new regulations or statutes of the faculties compiled by a commission elected by and common to all universities those parts of the scholastic regime which are not purely administrative. will yet prevent immediate disaster.. had expressed these views on it (quoted from [1] whereChrystal says they follow his own thinking):-: The state should concede the most ample scientific-didactic freedom to the universities. but options were introduced in choosing the seven subjects. if need be. in Arts was kept at seven. In June 1892 a University Preliminary Examination was specified.

Departments of mathematics were unfortunate in the way the ordinances were set up: firstly mathematics was practically dropped from the science degree.. that those who do take these subjects should be well prepared to receive them. It is obvious that in any subject which is generally compulsory the standards cannot be high. this was not the case for mathematics..experience of the new conditions. . and it was in his lecture room in the University of Edinburgh that the doctrines of the "Principia" were first publicly taught in Great Britain. distinguished by Newton himself. Chrystal. Chrystal explains his own position in these words [2]:Ever since I became convinced that a majority of educated Scotsmen desired to break down the old curriculum of seven subjects. secondly honours mathematicians did not get full justice as compared with those studying classics. although they had fully carried out the principle in the science ordinance. I was never very anxious that all Arts students. should take either mathematics or natural philosophy. but I have all along striven to secure. This omission was thought to be a mere accident but everyone was surprised when it was found in the final ordinance that mathematics and natural philosophy were placed as compulsory alternatives. Ever since then the position of natural philosophy as an advanced subject. to which pure mathematics is in part ancillary. brought into its teaching the spirit and methods of Newton. but made their action nugatory by ignoring the rest of it. welcomed women into Arts classes and said [2]:- . that mathematics should be entered on the higher standard. was indeed a favourite follower. afterwards Savilian Professor in Oxford. Chrystal suggested that all this had come about because of a lack of proper consultation and representation on the part of commissioners. however. The Commissioners adopted the part of my proposal relating to entrance on mathematics. and that natural philosophy should remain as Newton made it and Gregory expounded it. while higher standards had been imposed on Latin and Greek as graduation subjects. so far as possible. It was clear that natural philosophy was intended to provide an escape route for those who could not reach the higher standard in mathematics on entering the university. Chrystal then remarks that in the draft ordinance for Arts degrees. with the higher standard of entrance for mathematics and the lower for natural philosophy. David Gregory. in the latter part of seventeenth century. my watchword has been "Greater freedom and higher standards". has been fixed in the Scottish universities. I proposed that an alternative should be given of a physical or natural science with practical or laboratory work. To meet the difficulty of those who desired to have no mathematics. Mathematicians were obliged to take classics yet no classical honours student was required to take a mathematical subject. The University of Edinburgh has been famous as a school of mathematics and natural philosophy ever since the Gregorys.

The work of carrying out all these reforms in Edinburgh fell very largely on the new Dean. if it be decreed that it is to continue any longer. several women were distinguished for humanistic culture during the early days of the revival of classical learning and from Hypatia down to Madame Sophie Kovalevskaya.11..A. and formulated a very important new ordinance. beginning in Cambridge. and will ultimately make heavy demands on university resources. and using his experience and with hard work he accomplished the job successfully. Chrystal. In view of the rapid developments that were taking place and many other reasons already pointed out by Chrystal. women have from time to time distinguished themselves as mathematicians. I am keenly interested in the developments that lie before us. who died recently. giving power to establish a three term session and to overhaul completely the scheme for graduation in Arts... the details having had to be worked out in the interval through the Senatus. but I must confess that I shrink from the labour that they will involve. had a formidable task ahead. The administrative work involved in bringing all the changes suggested by the ordinances into effect required much time. In 1907. The ordinance was passed on 5th of May 1908. the Edinburgh University court decided to exercise the powers conferred upon it by the 1889 Act of framing its own regulations for the degree of M. it did not take long before some of the fundamental innovations made by the commissioners required revision. Chrystal refers to these changes in the following words [3]:The realisation of their consequences will be a matter of time and no little labour for the university staff. as Dean Faculty of Arts. again shouldered the main burden of framing the new regulations and of steering them through various committes after the main principles had been agreed on. and it may as well end as it began. . having been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts in Edinburgh on the resignation of Campbell Fraser in 1891. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson based on part of Chapter 3 of a University of St Andrews doctoral dissertation by Mohammad Yousuf submitted January 1990. labour. but did not become effective until the beginning of session 1909-10. called Edinburgh Ordinance No. and Chrystal. Yet the whole of my career has been a turmoil of university reform. In his promoter's address of 10th of April 1908. and executive capacity.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful