Classical Assessment, Yesterday and Today

In a series of imagined dialogues, Blessed John Henry Newman, one the greatest authors of nineteenth century England, gave an account of his University’s entrance tests. These oral examinations sought to determine how well potential university students could read the works of the greatest authors in their original Latin and Greek. Newman had definite expectations. Like Dorothy Sayers, Newman believed that a proper education forms deep habits of mind that make a student ready to learn in many subject areas. He should be able to look carefully at the details of anything put before him, judge their intrinsic importance, and express his own thoughts carefully and precisely.

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