No. 17 – The teachers’ revenge, 1870s – a 100 objects miniature

Bristowe’s exam

This miniature presents the most ephemeral of ephemera: a scrapbook of snippets cut out of junior boys exams by an unknown Don at Radley in the 1870s. Exams are the horror at the end of every teacher’s year.  Object no. 9  Thank you letter, 2011, examined the history of formal exams and external qualifications.  But the end of year test existed long before exams were subject to external scrutiny or led to nationally recognised standards.  Back in the 1870s, a boy could remain in the same class for years before he passed an exam that allowed him to move up to another class.  The teacher tasked with forcing an education into such a boy needed his own methods to retain his sanity.  In Radley College Archives is a scrap book of cuttings from exam papers.  Did the teachers who collected these feel they were banging their heads against a brick wall, or did they fall about howling with laughter in the Common Room as they added yet another gem to their collection? Here are some of the most sparkling moments as gathered together in Facetiae Radlienses e responsis per examinations factis extracta St Peter’s College 1869

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