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Educational policy analysis archives
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1 of 21 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 2 Number 1January 5, 1994ISSN 1068-2341A peer-reviewed scholarly electronic journal. Editor: Gene V Glass, Glass@ASU.EDU. College of Edu cation, Arizona State University,Tempe AZ 85287-2411 Copyright 1994, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES.Permission is hereby granted to copy any a rticle provided that EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES is credited and copies are not sold.Payment by Results: An Example of Assessment in Elementary Education fr om Nineteenth Century BritainBrendan A. Rapple Boston College Abstract: Today the public is demanding that it exercise mor e control over how tax dollars are spent in the educational sphere, with multitudes al so canvassing that education become closely aligned to the marketplace's economic forces. In th is paper I examine an historical precedent for such demands, i.e. the comprehensive 19th century s ystem of accountability, "Payment by Results," which endured in English and Welsh elemen tary schools from 1862 until 1897. Particular emphasis is focused on the economic mark et-driven aspect of the system whereby every pupil was examined annually by an Inspector, the amount of the governmental grant being largely dependent on the answering. I argue that th is was a narrow, restrictive system of educational accountability though one totally in ke eping with the age's pervasive utilitarian belief in laissez-faire. I conclude by observing that this Victorian system might be suggestive to us today when calls for analogous schemes of education al accountability are shrill. "Payment by results," a rigid method of accountabil ity associated with English and Welsh elementary education during the second half of the nineteenth century, was a system whereby a school's governmental grant depended for the most p art on how well pupils answered in the annual examination conducted by Her Majesty's Inspe ctors. In turn reviled and lauded by commentators from its inception in 1862, the scheme endured for three and a half decades. This, of course, is a subject well known to British stude nts of educational history. However, on this side of the Atlantic comparatively little attention has been paid to what was one of the most notorious policies affecting elementary schools in England and Wales during the last century. This North American neglect is without doubt a pity and particularly so when one considers, as Linda Darling-Hammond has aptly observed of the U.S context in an 1989 issue of Teachers


2 of 21College Record, that "the issue of educational acco untability is probably the most pressing and most problematic of any facing the public schools t oday" (1989, p. 59). While it is unlikely that many contemporary critic s would advocate the implementation of any system of gauging the outcome of educational pr actices and of paying by results which was in any respect closely modelled on a nineteenth cen tury Victorian system, it may be argued that a perusal of a very important precedent of educationa l accountability still has distinct relevance today, and, at the least, provides a different and valuable perspective on this urgent debate. In the following paper, based primarily on an examination of the annual reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Elementary Schools for the years 1862 -1897, I review the British system of payment by results, treating its origin, its princi ples, its practice, and its effects in an attempt t o establish whether vilification or praise is its rig htful due. EARLY STATE INTERVENTION IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION The first money granted by the government to eleme ntary education was in 1833, all schools and teachers' salaries having hitherto been provided by voluntary, generally religious, organizations. However, this governmental benefice was not meant to supercede voluntary activity. For the new grant, intended to assist in the erection of school buildings, amounted to only 20,000 pounds and was given to two religious s ocieties for disposal, the Anglican National Society and the Nonconformist Royal Lancastrian Ins titution, later known as the British and Foreign School Society. It was also stipulated that local subscriptions for a school should amount to at least 50% of the grant money. Six years later the Queen set up a Committee of the Privy Council for Education under the Secretaryship of Dr James Kay (afterwards Sir James Kay Shuttleworth) to supervise the limited governmental control over the education of the people, especially the application of Parliamentary money v oted for educational purposes. The following year saw the establishment of the position of Her M ajesty's Inspector of Schools (H.M.I.), holders of which were charged with the inspection o f those schools eligible to receive grants. It may be of interest to mention that it was as late a s 1896 before the first posts for women inspectors were established. The encroachment of the government in the educatio nal sphere, though still painfully slow, continued. For example, in 1846 the state ent ered the area of teacher training when Kay Shuttleworth, who had earlier in 1840 established h is own teacher training college at Battersea, drew up his Minutes on teacher training which provi ded for grants to be awarded to apprentice and certificated teachers. Under this scheme pupilteachers at the age of 13 were apprenticed to a teacher for five years, and on completion were to c ompete for the open "Queen's Scholarships" to a normal school. After this latter course the pupil -teacher, now a trained-teacher, received a government certificate and on taking up work in a s tate inspected school was entitled to an augmentation grant and was promised a pension. Then in 1853 the State introduced a system whereby rural schools could receive capitation gran ts for the encouragement of regular attendance. As it was soon found impossible to conf ine this capitation grant to poorer country localities, it was quickly extended to schools thro ughout the nation, even those in towns. The Committee of Council was accordingly responsible fo r paying out three major grants: one for the erection of school buildings, a second for the trai ning of teachers, and a third, the capitation grant. In addition, it was the responsibility of th is Committee to make grants for the purchase of books and apparatus and afford a certain degree of aid to the education of the children of vagrants an d to that of other children who cannot properly be allowed to associate with the fa milies of respectable parents. (Newcastle Commission,1861, p. 24)


3 of 21With all these expenses the amount of the grant vot ed each year necessarily grew until by 1859 it had risen to 723,115 pounds, not perhaps an inconse quential amount, but one which pales into some insignificance when set beside the nearly 78,0 00,000 pounds spent on the recent Crimean War (Curtis, 1963, p. 249). Still, Barnard is corre ct in observing that the tentative period of state involvement was over and that "henceforward the Gov ernment was committed to a definite policy in educational administration" (Barnard, 196 4, pp. 105-106). As a reaction to mounting criticism that the condi tion of education, especially that of the lower classes, still left much to be desired there was appointed in 1858 a Royal Commission chaired by the Duke of Newcastle. This Commission w as charged with investigating the state of popular education and with recommending how to exte nd "sound and cheap elementary Instruction to all Classes of the People" (Newcastl e Commission, 1861, p. 4). Though the government was intent on extending education it was a sine qua non that it be "cheap" and especially so since the run on the coffers due to t he Crimean War. The Commission's findings were a mixture of praise and criticism for England' s elementary schools. It was acknowledged that progress had been made since the early decades of the century when the rigid monitorial system held sway. More children were now attending school, the figure adduced being 1 in 7.7 of the population. The figure in 1851 was 1 in 8.36 (N ewcastle Commission, 1861, p. 87). However, the frequent irregularity and uncertainty of this attendance was not conducive to good education. Moreover, very few stayed on after the a ge of thirteen. Above all, it was found that basic education, the three Rs, was still inadequate despite the recent progress. Though the Commissioners differed over the continua nce of the governmental grant, the majority considered it proper that the state should assist in the maintenance of education. It was proposed, however, to change the manner of paying t he grant. Henceforward, payment would be based on three features: attendance, the condition of the school buildings, and the H.M.I.'s report. Furthermore, a system of "payment by results" was t o be introduced. Each year, as a method of accountability, a searching examination by competen t authority of every child in every school to which grants were to be paid would take place. This would ascertain whether children were learning what they were supposed to, and, as a coro llory, would make the prospects and position of the teacher dependent, to a considerable extent, on the results of this examination (Newcastle Commission, 1861, pp. 168, 273, 157). The Newcastle Commissioners were by no means the first to suggest a principle of accountability as t here had been a number of precedents during the previous couple of decades. Payment by results had been associated with the pupil-teacher system of 1846 under which the salaries of the trai nee teachers and their teachers depended on success in the yearly examination. A scheme initiat ed in 1853 had the Committee of Council paying a capitation grant to schools provided that a certain proportion of pupils passed an examination conducted by an H.M.I. However, this pa rticular sytem of accountability did not last very long due to inspectors' lack of time, their ne glect, and their absence of consistency. The Department of Science and Art also employed a simil ar scheme of paying by results in the late 1850s when science and drawing teachers could recei ve a bonus for meritorious answering by their pupils in annual examinations (Sylvester, 197 4, pp. 46-57). PAYMENT BY RESULTS PASSED AND SET IN MOTION The various proposals adduced by the officials at t he Education Department in response to the Newcastle Commission's findings and recommendat ions engendered exceedingly vociferous debate among interested parties throughout the coun try. The most heated arguments focused on the proposals of Robert Lowe, Vice-President of the Education Department, to introduce an annual examination of every pupil, somewhat on the model of that recommended by the Commissioners. The results of this examination in r eading, writing, and arithmetic would dictate the amount of grant payable to the individual schoo ls. Lowe was insistent that education must be


4 of 21accountable: ". .we are about to substitute for t he vague and indefinite test which now exists, a definite, clear, and precise test, so that the publ ic may know exactly what consideration they get for their money" (Hansard, clxv, 1862, col. 242). I can not here provide a thorough account of the d iverse arguments for and against Lowe's proposals. That would require a lengthy treatment i n itself. Still, it might be informative to provide a soupcon of selected criticism. The House of Lords was the scene of a number of speeches on the subject. On 4 March 1862 the Bishop of Oxford contended that the new method of examination was far inferior in an overall educa tional sense than the old. For the latter checked a school's moral, intellectual, and religio us climate and tested that the pupils were educated in far more than the mere mechanical knowl edge of the three Rs. But, if the new proposals were accepted the only results rewarded w ould be "the poorest results" constituting "the very worst criterion of the progress of educat ion" (Hansard, clxv, 1862, col. 997). However, three days later in a letter to The Times "A Hertfo rdshire Incumbent" took the Bishop to task maintaining that the duty of the H.M.I. was "precis ely the same" under both the old and new Codes, "with the addition of the special instructio n" under the new one to conduct an individual examination of the pupils in the three Rs. The late st proposals still obliged the inspector to check the moral, intellectual, and religious progress of the children, the general climate of the school and capability of the teacher, and he was empowered to make deductions in the grant if any defects were recorded. Everything did not depend on passing the tests in reading, writing, and arithmetic (The Times, 7 March, 1862, p. 9f). The D uke of Marlborough for his part was worried about the effect of payment by results on teachers, speaking against what he feared might be the imbuing in them of "a mercantile spirit." There was a danger, he considered, that they might tend "to look upon their pupils as having a certain mone y value, and to neglect those whose instruction was not likely to be remunerative. The schoolmaster's pecuniary interests rather than the moral training of the child would be rather att ended to." Teachers, the Duke continued, would also be exposed to the temptation of falsifying ret urns in order to gain greater remuneration, though he was little convinced that any would succu mb (Hansard, clxv, 1862, cols.1012-1013). Lords Overstone and Wodehouse, also speaking in the Lords, were both in favor of Lowe's proposals, stressing the great necessity of a gover nment to ensure proper efficiency and value for money. Overstone asserted it to be a farce to spend so much money and to maintain a complex machinery if most pupils were so inadequately taugh t. The State, accordingly, had a right to test what went on in schools and to check "that they wer e worthy of the support which they received, and that adequate results are obtained for the larg e expenditure incurred by the State." Wodehouse likened the school to a farm where the on ly true test that it was being run properly lay in the balance-sheet. The Government after a gr eat outlay of money "was bound to see that some results were obtained for its expenditure and some test was absolutely necessary to ascertain this" (Hansard, clxv, 1862, cols. 1869-18 70). Frederick Temple, Headmaster of Rugby and later Archbishop of Canterbury, was another who welcomed Lowe's plans. In a long letter in The Times on 25 March, 1862, together with many arg uments on behalf of numerous specific details of the proposals he vehemently denied the c harge that the inspector's examination would necessarily be detrimental to the essential princip les of education. On the contrary, payment by results of the three Rs, he believed, could be expe cted to be a perfect instrument for improving the educational process. The chief fault of our elementary teaching is negle ct of the beginnings. Almost invariably have I found the knowledge of all the hi gher subjects in the National Schools thin and useless for want of grounding in t he lower. To drive the teaching to the elementary subjects will certainly improve the knowledge of all subjects. (The Times, 25 March, 1862, p. 5c) Perhaps the most influential criticism of the propo sed payment by results, and certainly the most


5 of 21caustic, was an article by the H.M.I. Matthew Arnol d which he published in Fraser's Magazine in March 1862. With regard to the proposed payment by results Arnold, though accepting that certain examining by inspectors was inevitable no m atter what system was employed, criticized the annual examination of individual children in th e three Rs for being the sole arbiter of whether or not the school received any money from the State The inspector's work would be purely mechanical: It turns the inspectors into a set of registering c lerks, with a mass of minute details to tabulate, such a mass as must, in Sir James Shuttle worth's words, 'necessarily withdraw their attention from the religious and gen eral instruction, and from the moral features of the school.' In fact the inspecto r will just hastily glance round the school, and then he must fall to work at the 'log-b ooks.' And this to ascertain the precise state of each individual scholar's reading, writing, and arithmetic. As if there might not be in a school most grave matters needing inspection and correction; as if the whole school might not be going wrong, at the s ame time that a number of individual scholars might carry off prizes for read ing, writing, and arithmetic! It is as if the generals of an army,--for the inspectors hav e been the veritable generals of the educational army,--were to have their duties limite d to inspecting the men's cartouch-boxes. The organization of the army is fau lty:--inspect the cartouch-boxes! The camp is ill-drained, the men are ill-hutted, th ere is danger of fever and sickness. Never mind; inspect the cartouchboxes! But the wh olediscipline is out of order, and needs instant reformation:--no matter; inspect the cartouch-boxes! But the army is beginning a general movement, and that movement is a false one; it is moving to the left when it should be moving to the right: it is going to a disaster! That is not your business; inspect, inspect the cartouch-boxes! (Arnold, 1960-1977, vol. 2, p. 235) And the sole result of the new system, Arnold was c onvinced, would be the inevitable decline in the education of the people. At any rate, the eventual outcome was the introduc tion on May 9, 1862, of the Revised Code. The new grant, "to promote the education of c hildren belonging to the classes who support themselves by manual labour" (Revised Code, 1862, p xvi), was still intended to supplement voluntary efforts, and was to aid only those school s which were associated with some religious denomination or where a daily reading from the auth orized version of the Scriptures was given. In addition, schools seeking a grant had to accept inspection by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors. The state's augmentation grants to teachers and pup il-teachers instituted by the 1846 scheme were now abolished and a system of capitation grant s substituted. Pupils were obliged to satisfy the inspector that they had attended for a minimum number of times in the year. It was possible for a school to meet three times a day, namely in t he morning, afternoon, and evening, and in order to receive a grant a school had to meet more than once a day. Under Article 40 managers could claim each year: a.) The sum of 4s. per scholar according to the ave rage number in attendance throughout the year at the morning and afternoon me etings of their school, and 2s. 6d. per scholar according to the average number in attendance throughout the year at the evening meetings of their school.b.) For every scholar who has attended more than 20 0 morning or afternoon meetings of their school: If more than six years of age 8s., subject to exami nation. 1.


6 of 21If under six years of age 6s. 6d., subject to a rep ort by the inspector that such children are instructed suitably to their age, and in a manner not to interfere with the instruction of the older children. 2. c.) For every scholar who has attended more than 24 evening meetings of their school 5s., subject to examination. (Revised Code, 1862, pp. xxi-xxii) For a single attendance to be counted it was direct ed that a pupil be present for at least two hours in either a morning or afternoon session or at leas t one and a half hours in the evening. A pupil was not allowed to combine evening with morning or afternoon sessions to make up the requisite 200 or 24 attendances. In addition, a pupil had to be over 12 years of age to count evening sessions. Articles 44 and 45 stipulated the amounts forfeited for failing to pass the Inspector's test: 44. Every scholar attending more than 200 times in the morning or afternoon, for whom 8s. is claimed, forfeits 2s. 8d. for failure t o satisfy the inspector in reading, 2s. 8d. in writing, and 2s. 8d. in arithmetic.45. Every scholar attending more than 24 times in t he evening for whom 5s. is claimed forfeits 1s. 8d. for failure to satisfy the inspector in reading, 1s. 8d. in writing, and 1s. 8d. in arithmetic. (Revised Code, 1862, p.xxii) There were six standards in which pupils could be e xamined, an important proviso being that children, whether they passed or failed the first t ime, could not be examined a second time in the same or a lower standard. In September 1862 the Committee of Council on Educa tion set out very specific instructions to the inspectors concerning the admin istration of the annual examination. Inspectors were advised that the test in the three Rs "of indi vidual children according to a certain standard must always be, to a considerable extent, mechanica l" (Annual Reports, 1862-63, p. xviii). Indeed, the Committee of Council went out of its wa y to prescribe in very precise, mechanical terms how H.M.I.s might proceed with these tests, t hough it was stated that the instructions were not obligatory, that other methods could be employe d, and that allowance had to be made for the particular school being examined. Among the instruc tions were the following: 14. All the children will remain in their places th roughout the examination. 15. You will begin with writing and arithmetic, and you will direct the teachers to see that all who are to be examined under standard I. have before them a slate and pencil, under standards II. and III. a slate, a pen cil, and a reading book; all under standards IV.-VI., a half sheet of folio paper, a p en, ink, and the appropriate reading book.16. You will then call "Standard I., stand up throu ghout the school." The children answering to this description will stand up in thei r usual places without quitting them. The object of the movement is to ascertain th ose who are to act on your next order without destroying the daily arrangement of t he school. When this has been correctly effected by the assistance of the teacher s, you will call "Standard I., sit down, and write on your slates as I dictate."17. You will then dictate the letters and figures w hich they are to write down. You will pursue the same course with standard II., dire cting them to write their names and standard on their slates, and announcing to the m out of their book the line they


7 of 21are to copy, and their sums. You will pursue the sa me course, mutatis mutandis, with standards III. (slates), and IV.-VI. (paper).18. The whole school having thus had their dictatio n given to them, and being at work on their arithmetic (except oral arithmetic re maining to be given under standard I.), you will allow time enough to elapse for the completion of their exercises, say three quarters of an hour.19. You will then call them name by name from the e xamination schedule to read, which you will hear each do, and immediately afterw ards, mark each in column ix. of the schedule for writing and arithmetic also, as far as time will permit. If this fails before you can go through the whole of them, you wi ll mark the reading only of all, and the slate work of those who do not write on pap er, and you will bring the rest of the papers away and mark them at home. You must be careful to collect and keep them in the order of the names upon the schedule, o therwise you will not easily be able to put the right marks against the right names When you pass a paper, you should write P against the writing and arithmetic i n it respectively, besides marking column ix. in the schedule.20. Whether you mark the papers in the school, or r eserve them, you should bring the whole away with you, and forward them to this o ffice with your report. My Lords will probably appoint, from time to time, committee s of inspectors and examiners to look over specimens and determine the means of fixi ng the minimum of each standard. As a tentative standard, my Lords are of opinion that an exercise which in the ordinary scale of excellent, good, fair, modera te, imperfect, failure, would be marked fair, may pass. The word fair means that rea ding is intelligible, though not quite good; dictation, legible, and rightly spelt i n all common words, though the writing may need improvement, and less common words may be misspelt; arithmetic, right in method, and at least one sum f ree from error. (Annual Reports, 1862-63, pp.xxi-xxii) Payment by results, though the most significant, w as not the only provision of the Revised Code. Lowe introduced a fourth class certificate sp ecifically for "younger and humbler classes of candidates" who would be employed in poorer rural s chools. "Any acting teacher over twenty-two years of age, having obtained two favour able reports from the inspector, could be presented by his managers for an examination confin ed to elementary subjects, and might obtain a certificate" (Tropp, 1957, p. 95). In proposing t his "lower kind of teacher" Lowe underscored the important issue of accountability, declaring th at If the teacher be a good one, the end for which the grants are given is attained. If the teacher be a bad one, it fails. We have no real che ck on the teaching to any great extent. It seems to me that the only possible condi tion under which, without a reckless expenditure of public money, we can possib ly recommend that teachers of an inferior class should be employed in these schoo ls would be on the understanding that there shall be some collateral and independent proof that such teachers do their duty. And that I think it will appear is only to be found in a system of individual examination.(Hansard, clxv, 1862, col. 199) Thus Lowe accepted that there should be "teachers o f an inferior class," the main check being that they should endeavor to get the children throu gh the annual examination. Though this clearly had the merit of increasing the supply of officiall y certificated teachers, it did little to improve


8 of 21the quality of teacher education or raise the overa ll standards of the teaching profession. It was also decided, in response to the Newcastle C ommission's criticism of the complexity of the prevailing system, to make payment directly to the managers who would then arrange with their teaching staffs concerning their total remune ration (Minute of the Right Honourable The Lords, 1862, p. 117, par. 2). Up to this the Commit tee of Council has paid certificated teachers and pupil-teachers a grant by mail (this generally accounted for about one-third of the teacher's salary -the other two-thirds was paid by the trus tees and manager of the school). In July, 1861 Lowe had complained in the Commons about the cumber someness of this system: "The number of certificated teachers is about 7,500, that of pu pil-teachers about 15,500, so that the two classes together amount to 23,000; and we pay every one of them by Post Office order sent direct to his address. . No doubt, this system is in this adv antageous, that we reach these people directly and they communicate directly with the Government . but it entails enormous expense and labour" (Hansard, clxiv, 1861, col. 724-5). Thus not only w as a state guaranteed grant eliminated for these 23,000, the government in 1863 also stopped t he system of Queen's Scholarships for new recruits. There was also to be a reduction in grant ing to the teacher training colleges (Revised Code, 1862, pp. lix, lvii). Particularly irksome to teachers was the state's decision to do away with the pension scheme which it had been dangling as a carrot since 1846. In short, the emphasis was now to be on efficiency, quantifiable results, and reduction in governmental expenditure on education. As the Liberal and Utilit arian Robert Lowe declared, neatly applying his political philosophy to the educational sphere: "Hitherto we have been living under a system of bounties and protection; now we propose to have a little free trade" (Hansard, clxiv, 1861, col. 736). Of course, the foregoing regulations by no me ans remained unaltered over the 35 year history of payment by results. Changes were frequen tly made in details of the annual Codes and periodically totally new Codes were issued. However the underlying principle of the system persevered, with governmental grants continuing to be viewed essentially as a reward for results attained.PAYMENT BY RESULTS AND TEACHERS Robert Lowe had prophesied when introducing the Re vised Code: "If it is not cheap, it shall be efficient; if it is not efficient, it shal l be cheap" (Hansard, clxv, 1862, col. 229). The system indeed proved cheaper, for governmental savi ng was immediately realized after implementation. The grant for each year from 1861 t o 1865 was, respectively, 813,441 pounds; 774,743 pounds; 721,386 pounds; 655,036 pounds; 636 ,806 pounds. These were dramatic decreases, all the more marked considering that ave rage attendances had risen each year (Sylvester, 1974, p. 82). However, this reduction i n expenditure was not to last; from the mid-1860s onward the parliamentary grant began to i ncrease, and understandably so due to changes in successive Codes, to the great expansion introduced by the 1870 Education Act, and to an ever growing consensus that an enlarged educa tional provision must be overseen by the Government. But the effects of the Revised Code and payment by results must be considered from a broader perspective than the mere absolute size of the annual grant. Teachers, for example, were affected severely. Before payment by results they c ould be considered quasi civil servants since they received part of their salaries directly from the government. But under the new system teachers, no longer in receipt of state aid, had to bargain with school managers for all their salary, thereby experiencing a manifest loss of status. How ever, this break in direct involvement with the state was welcome to some; one H.M.I. believed that teachers formerly had little incentive to work to their keenest: "It has removed them from th at quasi protection of the State which enervated their character and withdrew them from th ose general conditions of employment which assign merit and reward to those who earn it" (Annu al Reports, 1864-65, p. 16). Still, many


9 of 21teachers were extremely ill-pleased with the offici al decree that their competence could be satisfactorily gauged by the number of passes obtai ned. While most out of professional pride attempted to secure the greatest number of passes, there was also a very practical reason for so doing. As the school managers often gave teachers a small set salary and paid them as balance either the whole or a fixed percentage of the grant gained, it was obligatory for them, if they were to survive, to secure as many passes and as large a grant as possible. Under such circumstances, the educational well-bei ng of pupils all too often became secondary to concerns about the teachers' own livel ihood, for there was never any certainty about the numbers of pupils who would pass annually. Perh aps, for some reason or other and not necessarily due to the fault of the teacher, the sc hool may have been discredited, resulting in a low attendance during the year. Even when annual at tendance was good there was no guarantee that on the day of the examination every pupil woul d turn up. Sickness and epidemics, harvests and other seasonal work, and bad weather could wrea k havoc and keep attendance low. When this happened, as Inspector Robinson pointed out in his 1867 Report, the teacher lost money for each pupil absent, thereby resulting in "a sore dis couragement, which he does not fail to feel keenly, both on account of the labour of teaching t hrown away as far as that day's result would show, and because it is so much bread from the mout hs of his family" (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 213). Robinson also painted the scenario of a te acher taking over a disorganized and poorly taught school where most of the pupils had already been examined and failed in standards too high for them. As it was against the rules for the teacher to present them again at the same level, he had the option of declining to present them and thereby losing the grant, or presenting them at a higher and more difficult level "for the chance o f earning something trifling in this as well as in future years" (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 214). St ill, some inspectors argued that the Revised Code had the beneficial effect of compelling poor t eachers to pay greater attention to their duties. Mr. Kennedy, for instance, in 1867 praised the resu lt if not necessarily the means of payment by results: For managers will no longer go on putting up with a master whose scholars cannot earn an average grant, and in very many cases the m aster is stimulated by receiving a fixed share of what is earned by those scholars who pass. I have seen much good result in inferior schools from this double stimulu s of fear and reward applied to teachers by the system of "payment by results," tho ugh whether this same good might not be accomplished in another way, and wheth er the system of "payment by results" has not certain grave objections, are othe r questions. (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 171) Teachers were often very nervous on the day of ins pection. With so much of the salary dependent upon a good result, "each year seem[ed] t o leave the marks of increasing care and anxious toil on the appearance and manner of the te acher" (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 133). To the latter, the inspector was the supreme arbiter o f his/her livelihood and how he conducted the examination was naturally observed with attention t o all minute details. Indeed, a particularly sad effect of payment by results was that many teachers came to regard the inspector as an adversary who was to be outwitted rather than as a helpful gu ide or colleague in the educational process. As we shall see later, some teachers even resorted to cheating. While such a practice may not have been morally justified it was perhaps understandabl e. For it certainly became clear soon after the implementation of payment by results that teachers had reason to worry about the unreliability of their income, since in many cases they received a s maller salary, complementing the general reduction in the grant earned by schools. In 1861 t he average salary of a certificated teacher was 96 pounds. By 1866 it had fallen to 87 pounds. And this was at a time of rising prices. By the end of the decade, however, average salaries had increa sed to the pre-Code level (Tropp, 1957, p. 96). Mr. Robinson's comments in his 1865 report abo ut the schools in Buckingham and Hertford


10 of 21were also applicable to other districts: Nearly all the schools have received less, some muc h less, from the annual grant of the Revised Code than they were accustomed to recei ve under the old, and the whole expenditure in them has been, for the most part, re duced by the amount of loss they have in this way sustained, nor does it appear like ly that this deficiency can be in any material degree made good by increased voluntary ef fort, for the local resources have been, in most cases, already tried to the utte rmost, and little more can be expected from the payments of the children. (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 164) In most schools, in the early years of payment by r esults, teachers frequently received less from the annual grant than they previously earned a s a fixed salary. As a consequence, many became peripatetic, changing their positions from s chool to school in search of greater remuneration. It was even said that, when seeking a position, some teachers calculated the percentage of passes in different school districts and were influenced by the scores in making their decision (Annual Reports, 1871-72, p. 34). A multitude were sacked for securing poor grants; managers, declares Edmonds, "appointed and dismissed their teachers just as they ordered slates in preference to copy-books or vice-versa" ( Edmonds, 1962, p. 77). Many others, leaving teaching entirely, migrated to different occupation s. Though there were undoubtedly numerous reasons for this teacher mobility, just as today te achers leave the profession from many different motives, Inspector Robinson had little doubt of the primary cause during the 1860s: if teachers "were sufficiently paid any excuse for rapid change under ordinary circumstances, would be taken away" (Annual Reports, 1869-70, p. 196). With the removal of a state guaranteed salary fewe r pupil-teachers decided to take up the profession of teacher. This is not surprising consi dering that a pupil-teacher's salary had fallen from 15 pounds under the 1846 scheme to less than 1 3 pounds 10s. in the later 1860's. Nor did the abolition of the Queen's Scholarships help recr uitment. Moreover, teachers were less motivated to take on apprentices as they no longer received any payment from the state for so doing (Tropp, 1957, p. 94). There is also much evid ence that those who did enter teaching were of a lower calibre than formerly; their attainments aims, and work habits frequently left much to be desired (Annual Reports, 1864-65, pp. 145-6; Ann ual Reports, 1866-67, p. 212; Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 169). The training colleges na turally suffered; because of the decline in students they received smaller grants and two were even obliged to close. Generally, admission requirements to the colleges were lowered and there was often a complementary narrowing of the curriculum. Since getting as many children as possi ble to pass a mechanical examination of a mechanical knowledge of the three Rs was the govern ment's main requirement from teachers, there was really very little need to ensure that th ey received a broad liberal education. Again, with fewer coming forward to train as pupil-teacher s but with a corresponding rise in the number of children in the classroom an increase in the stu dent teacher ratio in the elementary schools naturally resulted.PAYMENT BY RESULTS AND CHILDREN Every pupil now counted equally in a financial sen se; that is, every pupil who passed the examination was eligible for the same grant. The ju nior standards, all too often neglected in the past, naturally benefited, for teachers now took pa ins in preparing them for passing. Moreover, the teacher tended to pay more attention to the les s able pupils also, children who had often been ignored as nuisances before payment by results (Ann ual Reports, 1864-65, pp. 154-155; Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 60; Annual Reports, 1866-67, p 31). At the same time, there was a decline in simultaneous class teaching together with an inc reased concentration on preparing children for


11 of 21individual examination, a method of pedagogy and te sting much praised by many inspectors (Annual Reports, 1864-65, p. 34; Annual Reports, 18 72-73, p. 76; Annual Reports, 1881-82, p. 443). However, it was also strenuously argued that brighter students were suffering because of the resultant striving for uniformity of attainment s (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 25; Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 116; Annual Reports, 1867-68, pp. 216-217). For there was little financial incentive to help the clever child realize his full capabilities. The brightest were not alone in being neglected, for the very weak pupils, those pe rceived as unlikely to pass, often received scant attention from teachers, especially in the pe riod immediately preceding the examination. Only those who had a chance of being financially re munerative would be carefully prepared for the tests. Sometimes dull children were refused adm ittance to schools altogether. Furthermore, neglected students were not always those of the wea kest intelligence, as frequently children of the most socio-economically deprived backgrounds, w ho found little reinforcement in their family life and were all too often distinguished by a lack of regularity in school attendance, received the least attention from teachers. And, ne edless to say, these were the very children who required the most looking after. Many were the reasons why children failed to be pr esent on the day of the examination. These ranged from necessity to work to supplement t he family income, especially at seasonal labor, to not having new clothes to wear in honor o f such an auspicious day (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 61; Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 141; An nual Reports, 1876-77, p. 621). Harsh weather was also a frequent cause of low attendance as was sickness, particularly when an epidemic ravaged a school district. The most common epidemics were those of small-pox, whooping-cough, scarlatina, and measles. Where they raged, the grant for that year was inevitably low. Because the need for the government grant was so important to the manager, the teacher, and the welfare of the school, pressure wa s often put on parents to make sure that even very sick children were present on the inspection d ay. A striking account of the pressures wielded by the tyranny of the grant is provided in Mr. Warb urton's Report for 1865: At a time when scarlatina was epidemic in a thickly populated district, I had children brought to be examined with throats bandaged and sk in peeling, who ought certainly to have been in bed, and one of whom had to be take n away during the examination. On another occasion the manager of a school, after the examination was, as I thought, completed, came to me, and said that he wo uld be much obliged if I would examine five children who were waiting in the class room, as it was unsafe to introduce them into the schoolroom; and I subsequen tly found the mother of one of these children crying outside the door from anxiety respecting her little boy, who had been brought out of his sick room in order to be pr esent at the inspection. (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 225. See also Annual Reports, 1864-65, p. 107; Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 117) Sometimes pupils qualified by the requisite number of days in attendance were kept back by their teachers and school managers from examination. It w as even alleged that slower children were occasionally told in person or through their parent s to stay away from school on the inspection day (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 59; Annual Reports 1870-71, p. 244; Annual Reports, 1877-78, p. 463). Furthermore, it was soon realised that many manage rs and teachers were refusing to present students at the standard appropriate for th eir attainments and intellectual abilities. The rationale was to ensure that they were kept the lon gest time in the school and to secure as many grants as possible. Such a situation was understand able, if not excusable, for teachers had little financial incentive to present pupils at the upper levels. The grant was the same as at the lower levels, while the chances of failing were correspon dingly higher. This was especially lamentable as the examinations, particularly at the lower stan dards, were usually not very rigorous and it


12 of 21would not have been beyond the capability of many s tudents to go through the work of two or more standards in one year under the guidance of a good teacher. It is true that quite a different criticism of the system of payment by results was a lso proffered concerning the rule that children who failed in one standard must nevertheless be off ered for examination in a higher standard the next time. For, as Inspector Kennedy objected, if a pupil had for some reason been placed in too high a standard at first and failed in it he would still be "obliged to be examined year by year in an ever rising standard . never [having] a chan ce of being duly grounded and acquitting [himself] with credit" (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 173). PEDAGOGY AND CURRICULUM Kay Shuttleworth, a great opponent of the Revised Code and payment by results, had written in 1861, before the new provisions had been set in motion, that Lowe's plans could be briefly described as an attempt to reduce the co st of the education of the poor, by conducting it by a machinery--half trained and at l ess charge;--to entrust it to a lower class of ill-paid teachers, and generally to young monitors as assistants;--to neglect the force of a higher moral and religious agency in the civilisation of the people--and to define national education as a drill in mechanic al skill in reading, writing and arithmetic. The State would pay less, and be conten t with a worse article. (Kay Shuttleworth, 1862, p. 429) Subsequent results showed that Kay Shuttleworth had indeed proved prescient. Soon eagerness to secure a good numerical result frequently caused de creased attention to whether or not a true education was being imparted. It was not with tongu e in cheek that Quick declared that if Pestalozzi had been teaching in England: no doubt his work would have been pronounced a terr ible failure by the Joint Board or by H. M. Inspectors. He would not have passed 50 per cent., and his Managers would have dismissed him for earning so poor a gran t. But, if left to himself, he would have turned out men and women capable of thin king clearly, of feeling rightly, and of reverencing all that is worthy of r everence. These are extra subjects not at present included in our curriculum. (Storr, 1899, pp. 146-147) Far too many teachers thought their job consisted o f stuffing the children's minds with such facts and answers which it was anticipated would be sough t by the H.M.I.s, with the best method that of mechanical repetition (Annual Reports, 186970, p. 293; Annual Reports, 1870-71, p. 152). As Mr. RiceEiggin reported in 1876, the teachers' one aim was to "cram" a certain amount of informati on into the brains of their scholars, which the latter should reproduce at the inspection. Reading lessons were given without a word of explanation, without a ques tion to test how far the children had understood what they had been reading; spelling was taught mechanically, with as little reference as possible to the meaning of t he words as affected by their form; arithmetic was not made interesting by the applicat ion of its principles to practical cases, but was dinned into the ears of the scholars in the same unvarying abstract form. Of geography, or grammar, or history I am per suaded that in the majority of schools not oneword was spoken from year's end to y ear's end. (Annual Reports, 1876-77, p. 546) Thus, memory, all too often, was stressed at the ex pense of understanding, with many pupils


13 of 21being drilled "into performing certain exercises wi th parrot-like facility" (Annual Reports, 1870-71, p. 221). In reading, while children were o ften possessed of "a mechanical readiness of utterance" which would enable them to secure a pass they frequently had little notion of what their reading actually meant (Annual Reports, 186768, p. 134). For years after the introduction of payment by results the annual examination in rea ding had to be from some book used in that particular school; that is, the inspector could not examine from a book of his own choice. Accordingly, it was common practice for the teacher to choose a short book with easy words and for the twelve months before the inspection day to drill each page into the pupils until most of them had learned the whole work by heart (Annual Re ports, 1867-68, p. 217; Annual Reports, 1870-71, p. 153). In 1869 Inspector Temple reported that it is "very amusing to watch the look of blank dismay which comes over a teacher's face when I tell some fluent urchin to shut his book and go on with his lesson by rote, and the scholar, proud of his accomplishment, obeys me" (Annual Reports, 1869-70, p. 239). To counteract th is memorization some inspectors even asked pupils to read backwards! (Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 76). Of course, the primary reason for this abysmal practice of memorizing the book was th at it facilitated the securing of a good grant: "It pays, even in the hands of an inexperienced tea cher, when the aim is to make the class get up a reading book. This is too often the one aim and o bject" (Annual Reports, 1879-80, p. 451). A book's easiness and short length often constitut ed a teacher's main criteria for choosing it, with small concern paid to intellectual and lit erary content. Long term educational benefits were sacrificed to short term financial rewards. Pl enteous complaints were also lodged regarding the inadequate teaching of arithmetic (Annual Repor ts, 1867-68, p. 134; Annual Reports, 1873-74, p. 193). Again, it was a common criticism that the major concern of the manager and teacher was too often financial, namely having as m any pupils as possible pass the narrowly prescribed syllabus, and that everything which was not conducive to meeting this goal was to be ignored. As Inspector Robinson observed: "a slight deviation from the beaten track causes instant consternation" (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 218) Ce rtainly, where the main aim was merely to get children sufficiently skilled to answer correct ly the mechanical working of a sum, it is understandable that many were left ignorant of how to apply arithmetic in day-to-day life (Annual Reports, 1867-68, p. 125; Annual Reports, 1 873-74, p. 31; Annual Reports, 1878-79, p. 600). Nevertheless, though too many pupils had litt le inkling of how to apply what they learned in the arithmetic class it is likely that the sheer mechanical accuracy of doing basic computation improved (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 136; Annual R eports, 1868-69, p. 111). There were also numerous complaints about the deba sing of the curriculum. What facilitated earning the maximum grant was very freq uently the main criterion for curricular inclusion. The result was that all too often "Her M ajesty's inspector felt himself to be little more than a mechanical index of proficiency in the 3 R's (Annual Reports, 1876-77, p. 529). During the first years of payment by results only the thre e Rs were eligible for grants; accordingly, for the most part only the three Rs, together with reli gious knowledge which was compulsory, were taught. The teacher, wrote Inspector Alderson, "thi nks he has done quite enough when he offers the State its pound of flesh in the shape of so muc h reading, writing, and ciphering. Thus the unpaid subjects will never compete with the paid su bjects" (Annual Reports, 1865-66, p. 246). This was an opinion with which Inspector Morell cle arly agreed: That which was fixed as the minimum for gaining the grant on every child, becomes the maximum of the teacher's aims and efforts, and everything else is, not perhaps intentionally, but certainly practically, discourag ed by the enormous value attached to the required subjects. To make the essential sup port of the schools depend on reading, writing, and arithmetic has, I know, struc k the death knell in many a school to that higher teaching out of which intellectual s timulus is well nigh exclusively drawn. (Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 261)


14 of 21In fact, it was reported in 1864 that, with the rap id demise of grammar, geography, and history, the only subject left for testing pupils' intellige nce was religious knowledge (Annual Reports, 1864-65, p. 119). Evidence is abundant that subjects other than the three Rs received less attention after the implementation of the Revised Code. Even where such subjects as grammar, geography, or history continued to be taught, they were generally set aside for the two or three months prior to the inspector's visit, in order that full time migh t be devoted to the examinable subjects. This decline in the higher subjects frequently heralded a dramatic change from the pre-1862 situation. Inspector Bowstead in 1866 spoke of that large numb er of schools, which besides teaching the three Rs in previous years "also cultivated the int elligence of the children" by teaching the higher subjects. He acknowledged that in the old days when the government paid directly for the pupil-teachers the regular teachers had more time f or a broader curriculum. But now with far fewer assistant teachers, due to the schools being obliged to pay for them out of their own funds, it was frequently found to be impossible to teach a broad range of subjects. He concluded that "It may be that the reading, writing, and ciphering in such schools are better, on the whole, than they used to be, [still he was] persuaded that this gain if gain there be, is more than balanced by the loss in another direction" (Annual Reports, 1866-67 p. 247). It was also argued that teachers frequently ignored the extra subjects, realizing th at there was usually little time on the inspection day for the H.M.I., if he did not have an assistant to examine in these subjects. Under the old Code, however, there was usually muc h more time for testing subjects other than the three Rs and indeed for examining processe s rather than mere results. The inspector then could scrutinize the school premises, equipment, bo oks, methods of teaching, financial arrangements and so on. There was generally a class examination in which the pupils as a group were assessed, as opposed to the testing of individ ual children (Annual Reports, 1864-65, p. 184; Annual Reports, 1864-65, p. 198; Annual Reports, 18 66-67, p. 278). However, some were not particularly upset about the decline in the higher subjects, arguing that when these received excessive attention, the three Rs might be adversel y affected. D. R. Fearon in his 1876 work School Inspector wrote that many schools --those for example in rural districts, or those am id a very poor and fluctuating population--could not really do justice to the elem entary subjects, and at the same time teach such subjects as geography, grammar, and history. And in so far as the Revised Code forced such schools to give up their m ore tempting and showy work, and to apply themselves to the drudgery of the esse ntials, it did good service. (Fearon, 1876, p. 44. See also Annual Reports, 1868 -69, p. 187; Annual Reports, 1876-77, p. 556) It was also pointed out that a pupil who failed the examination in the three Rs in one standard would find it very difficult to pass at a higher standard the following year, never mind pass in a higher subject (one could not be presente d twice in the same standard). However, after the Minute of 20th February, 1867 was issued, which provided that schools under certain conditions could be eligible for extra grants if pu pils in Standards IV-VI passed an examination in "specific subjects," many teachers began providi ng instruction in another subject, usually geography or grammar. The rationale that there was no time to teach them was now, with the lure of a money payment, conveniently forgotten. While s ome H.M.I.s welcomed this change Matthew Arnold, for one, did not, maintaining that mechanical examination whether in higher subjects or the three Rs was anathema as far as tru e education was concerned: More free play for the inspector, and more free pla y, in consequence, for the teacher, is what is wanted; and the Minute of February with its elaborate mechanism of the one-fifth and the three-fourths makes the new exami nation as formal and lifeless as


15 of 21the old one. In the game of mechanical contrivances the teachers will in the end beat us; and as it is now found possible, by ingenious p reparation, to get children through the Revised Code examination in reading, writing, a nd ciphering, without their really knowing how to read, write, or cipher, so it will w ith practice no doubt be found possible to get the three-fourths of the one-fifth of the children over six through the examination in grammar, geography, and history, wit hout their really knowing any one of these three matters. (Annual Reports, 1867-6 8, p. 297) Though the three Rs remained the bread and butter o f a school's grant, as changes were made to successive Codes the prominence given to the higher subjects increased (Annual Reports, 1868-69, p. 43; Annual Reports, 1872-73, p. 51; Ann ual Reports, 1875-76, p. 360). But, again, the main rationale for teaching the latter was usua lly financial rather than truly educational. THE EXAMINATION PROCESS Though most Victorians implicitly believed in the efficacy of examinations and would have found little to criticize in Holman's 1898 dec laration that "education without results, which can be tested by a reasonably-conducted examination is a contradiction in terms" (p. 171), it is undeniable that there were many problems associated with the payment by results system. For example, there was often a distinct lack of uniform ity in examining, despite the oft-repeated argument that an important benefit of payment by re sults was its standardization of the testing process. Some inspectors were stricter than others and failed children who might have passed in another district. Again, though most of the H.M.I.s were honorable and capable men, some were ill-suited to the job, having little inkling of chi ld psychology and pedagogy. A few were detested by teachers for their sadistic delight in humiliati ng children, for asking them incomprehensible contextual questions totally above their age level, and for their linguistically tricky dictation passages (Maclure, 1970, p. 63). The variation in t he H.M.I.s' expectations and manner inevitably led to anxiety and resentment among school managers and teachers. Some teachers became cunning, suiting their teaching to the ways of an a ccustomed inspector, a ploy which sometimes resulted in panic when a different one arrived and conducted the examination according to a different method. Another major cause for complaint was that, before the introduction of the merit grant in 1882 which rewarded especially good answers, there were no variations in the money for different levels of result. A particularl y good performance by a pupil or a class received no bonus; a bare pass was counted the same as a distinguished one. It was often argued that such a system failed to engender a striving to achieve excellence and that many teachers were tempted just to aim for the lowest common deno minator. Understandably, change was frequently advocated specifically to institute diff erent levels of grants to correspond to variations in the scale of merit in answering. But it was to b e twenty years after the introduction of payment by results that the merit grant was instituted. How ever, then the criticism was frequently voiced that, complementing the lack of uniformity in asses sing the three Rs, there was sometimes a great disparity in awarding the merit grant (Annual Repor ts, 1885-86, p. 330; Annual Reports, 1886-87, pp. 312-13). In fact, one inspector during the Cross Commission which reported in 1888 complained that all this grant accomplished wa s "to reward the rich and favoured schools and to punish the small poor schools" (Cruickshank, 1963, p. 57). The propensity of schoolchildren to copy during te sts was certainly not dampened during the period of payment by results. Indeed, many insp ectors complained of a high incidence of copying or "looking over" during the examination (A nnual Reports, 1864-65, p. 160; Annual Reports, 1866-67, p. 190; Annual Reports, 1876-77, p. 587). Mr. Tremenheere, for example, in 1879 declared that he had detected such dishonesty in no fewer "than 46 of the 210 'adolescent' departments" visited by him during the year (Annual Reports, 1879-80, p. 424). Mr. Pennethorne


16 of 21wittily advised in 1875 that the authorities should take especial care that they appoint no short-sighted Inspectors (Annual Reports, 1875-76, p. 381). However, ploys to fool the inspector were not confined to the pupils. There were frequen t complaints that teachers sometimes endeavored to obtain copies of the arithmetic quest ions set by the H.M.I.s in other schools and then drilled their pupils in them in the hope that the same or similar questions would be asked in their own schools. Spencer relates that when he was a teacher he and his colleagues used to copy down the arithmetic questions from the inspector's cards and to forward them to friends in other schools not yet examined in ord er that they might put in some quite useful practice. This was quite fair, so it a ppeared to us. Towards our colleagues in other schools it was, indeed, chivalr ous, for it gave them a chance of outdoing us; towards the inspectors we also conside red it to be cricket: they were our examiners, and it was lawful to outwit them, if we could, by any device not plainly in the nature of a verbal lie. (Spencer, 1938, p. 9 2. See also Swinburne, 1912, p. 77; Dunford, 1980, p. 30) However such a practice was viewed by some inspect ors as cheating. Mr. Steele remarked that a teacher acting in such a fashion "is guilty of a fraudulent design; and if his design succeeds, he is obtaining money and credit on false pretences ." Steele, accordingly, recommended that questions in arithmetic be changed very frequently (Annual Reports, 1876-77, pp. 586-87). END OF PAYMENT BY RESULTS The regulations set out in 1862 by no means remain ed unaltered over the thirty-five year history of payment by results. Changes were frequen tly made in details of the annual Codes and periodically totally new Codes were issued. Revised instructions to inspectors were also issued at intervals. However, the underlying principle of the system persevered, with governmental grants continuing to be viewed essentially as a reward for results attained. Presumably as a reaction to criticism of the dominance of the three Rs, the Min ute of 20 February, 1867 provided that schools under certain conditions could be eligible for extra grants if pupils in Standards IV-VI passed an examination in "specific subjects" (Annua l Reports, 1866-67, pp. xcviii-ciii). In 1871 it was allowed that every day pupil in Standards IV -VI who passed an examination in not more than two such subjects could earn a grant of 3s. pe r subject. Quite a variety of subjects were proposed, particular prominence being placed on Geo graphy, History, Algebra, English Grammar or Literature, Elements of Latin, French, or German Physical Geography, Animal Physiology (Annual Reports, 1871-72, pp. lxii; xcviii-xcix). F our years later in 1875 "class subjects" were introduced for Standards II-VI whereby 4s. could be earned by each pupil, "according to the average number of children, above 7 years of age, i n attendance throughout the year," if the class as a whole passed well in any two subjects from Gra mmar, History, Elementary Geography, and Plain Needlework. Another change was the grant prov ided for each pupil, according to the average number in yearly attendance, of 1s. if sing ing were included in the curriculum, and of another 1s. if the discipline and organization of t he school were "satisfactory" in the opinion of the inspector. As a minor attempt to provide for mo re advanced pupils it was allowed that a pupil who had already passed Standard VI could be examine d in up to three "specific subjects" for a grant of 4s. per subject. An influential addition t o the 1875 Code was the stipulation that "no scholar who has made the prescribed number of atten dances may (without a reasonable excuse for absence on the day of the inspector's visit) be withheld from examination" (Annual Reports, 1874-75, pp. cxlvi-cxlviii). The next major changes to the system of payment by results were those contained in the Code of 1882, the most impor tant of which was the "merit grant," mentioned earlier, which was primarily introduced t o reward answering of good quality. This was


17 of 21clearly the Education Department's response to the widespread criticism that schools all too often were aiming at the basic minimum required to satisf y the conditions of the annual examination. Changes were also made in the 1882 Code in the meth od of assessing the basic grant in the elementary subjects. The principal change was that the grant was now to be determined by the per-centage of passes in the exam ination at the rate of 1d. for every unit of per-centage. . .The per-centage of passes (was to) be determined by the ratio of the passes actually made to those that might have been made by all scholars liable to examination who are either exami ned or are absent or withheld from the examination without reasonable excuse. (An nual Reports, 1881-1882, p. 124) Taking heed of diverse criticism in the 1888 Cross Commission, especially of payment by results, the Education Department drew up another n ew Code in 1890. There were numerous specific changes in the method of awarding grants, the most significant of which was the substitution of one principal grant for the three i ndividual grants in the elementary subjects. The new grant for these subjects was to be 14s. or 12s. 6d., it being left to the discretion of the inspector to decide which. Moreover, he was no long er required to examine each pupil individually; testing by sample was introduced, the only stipulation being that at least one third of the pupils were to be examined individually. Howeve r, individual testing was retained for the "specific subjects." Another change was the substit ution for the merit grant of a 1s. or a 1s. 6d. grant for discipline and organization (Annual Repor ts, 1890-91, pp. 131-133). By now not much remained of the system of payment by results as int roduced by Lowe in 1862. Further alterations were laid out in the "The Day School Code (1895)" w hich heralded the end of the formal annual examination by the H.M.I. The chief innovation was that the inspector's annual visit could be substituted by occasional visits, as a rule two, to be made without notice. It was intended "that this provision should be applied to schools which h ave reached upon the whole a good educational standard, and that only those schools s hould in future be annually examined to which, in the judgement of the Inspector, it is nec essary to apply a more exact test of efficiency" (Annual Reports, 189495, p. xi). Two years later, in 1897, Lowe's payment by results was finally no more.LESSONS? In this article I have been quite critical of this system of educational accountability. I believe that it was a system essentially misguided, anti-educational, illiberal, and one which for the most part remained throughout its 35 year reign true to its mean-spirited, expediency-stressing beginnings. However, payment b y results has not been seen by everyone in a pejorative light. Besides its supporters in its o wn day, a number of modern revisionist critics, if not lavish in their praise, have at least stressed that some aspects of the system were beneficial in their effects. For example, Sylvester, in his 1974 work on Robert Lowe, insists on the necessity of studying the Revised Code and payment by results in the context of the second half of nineteenth century Britain rather than in that of a century later when the whole social, economic, political, and educational climate is so different. Considered in its own historical context, declares Sylvester, Lowe's system, though by no mea ns all good, was certainly not worthy of condemnation on all sides either (Sylvester, 1974, pp. 80-82). Similarly, John Hurt argues that a study of payment by results in the context of its o wn time reveals the difficulty of seeing how the administrative problems of the day could ha ve been solved except by the introduction of some form of objective test. In the state's struggle for control over


18 of 21public education, the imposition of a predominantly secular syllabus in 1862 was an important prelude to the breaking, eight years late r, of the monopoly previously enjoyed by the religious societies. (Hurt, 1971, p. 222) Nevertheless, there is still no obligation to acce pt that such a rigid and narrow system of payment by results was inevitable and that it was, in fact, of considerable benefit to the pupils. For it was bad, frequently horrendously so, and the sad thing was that a better system, with a little foresight and daring, could have been implemented. Certainly, the great Victorian sage Matthew Arnold was adamant that the educational system was so appalling that it could only be improved. Arnold, 35 years an H.M.I. and one who probably kne w more about his nation's schools than the vast majority of his compatriots, reiterated over a nd over that England's malaise was primarily due to the inadequacies of the educational structur e, with payment by results coming in for particularly harsh criticism. He insisted on the ne cessity of doing away with the mechanical nature of the system, of broadening the curriculum so that pupils might be imbued with that foundation so essential for the growth of his desir ed "culture," of treating children in a more humane fashion, of improving the training and remun eration of teachers, of substituting true education for the mere "machinery" of education, an d of eradicating the pervasive Victorian notion that economics, value for money, and educati on were inextricably intermingled. He repeatedly advised that much could be learned from Continental educational systems which were far more enlightened than those existing in England and which, furthermore, did not employ the system of payment by results. Nor was Arnold alone in his antagonism to domestic educational iniquities and his advocacy that far-reaching chang es were urgently required, especially the abandonment of payment by results. Many others, tea chers, educational theorists, social critics, and intellectuals were vociferous in their condemna tion of the mechanical, routine, anti-educational, and thoroughly impersonal nature of this system. This becomes very clear from a reading of the voluminous evidence presented to t he 1888 Cross Commission. Moreover, the teachings of Pestalozzi, Herbart, Froebel were beco ming increasingly known in England; an important ingredient of these teachings was the ins istence on treating children as individual persons requiring love, understanding, and respect, a notion far removed from the prevailing treatment of children as essentially grant earning entities. But it seems that the Education Department, in the 1860s and 1870s at least, had li ttle inkling of such educational theorists with their child-centred approach to education. The bure aucrats who implemented and maintained payment by results for all these years just did not know very much about children and pedagogical theories. Nevertheless, knowledge of ch ild psychology and pedagogical advances was available and could have been consulted to the great benefit of the nation's education. On the contrary, however, children were invariably seen in terms of money, with the personnel in the Education Department consistently failing to recogn ize "the sheer futility of attempting to regulate education by economic laws" (Edmonds, 1962 p. 79). But none of this was inevitable. If the civil servants and politicians had paid more at tention to advances in educational and psychological theories, and if they had opened thei r eyes to what was happening on the Continent, elementary education might very well hav e proceeded along far different lines in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Payment by results was a narrow, restrictive, Phil istine system of educational accountability which impeded for the second half of the nineteenth century any hope that England's elementary education might swiftly advanc e from its generally appalling condition during the first half of the century when the theor ies and practices scorned in the likes of Dicken's Hard Times were more the norm than the exc eption. I am well aware of the dangers of drawing conclusions applicable to late twentieth ce ntury North American education from a British Victorian system. Manifestly, educational a s well as political, economic, cultural, and most other factors affecting today's society are ju st very different. Still, there are clear analogies


19 of 21between the two time periods and the two societies. Certainly, calls for economic efficiency and teacher accountability in both Canadian and America n public schools are increasingly shrill today. At any rate, I believe that a study of a nat ional, long-lasting, and very thorough system of accountability by the state, whose main goal was to ensure a good return on governmental expenditure, might provide at least a broader persp ective with which to contemplate the multifarious educational problems pervasive in toda y's society. At the very least such a study may indicate some egregious past errors and be suggesti ve in our avoidance of, mutatis mutandis, similar mistakes. Finally, if indeed it is possible to point a simple moral from this dismal episode in England's educational history, perhaps it is tha t true accountability in education should not be facilely linked to mechanical examination results, for there is a very distinct danger that the pedagogical methods employed to attain those result s will themselves be mechanical and the education of children will be so much the worse.Notes1. I wish to express sincere gratitude to Professor George Alan Karnes Wallis Hickrod, The Distinguished Professor of Educational Administrati on and Foundations, Illinois State University, for the generous help which he provided for an earlier version of this article. 2. This article is based on an earlier version publ ished in the December 1991 issue of the Journal of Educational Thought .ReferencesAnnual Reports of the Committee of Council on Educa tion 18611897. (1861-1897). London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office.Arnold, Matthew (1960-1977). "The Twice-Revised Cod e." In Vol. II of The Complete Prose Works of Matthew Arnold vols. (Edited by R. H. Super). Ann Arbor: Univers ity Michigan Press. Barnard, H. C. (1964). A History of English Education from 1760 London: University of London Press.Cruickshank, Marjorie (1963). Church and State in English Education: 1870 to the Present Day New York: St. Martin's Press.Curtis, S. J. (1963). History of Education in Great Britain London: University Tutorial Press. Darling-Hammond, L. (1989). Accountability for Prof essional Practice. Teachers College Record 91 (1), 59-80. Dunford, J. E. (1980). Her Majesty's Inspectorate o f Schools in England and Wales 1860-1870. Leeds: Museum of the History of Education, Universi ty of Leeds. Edmonds, E. L. (1962). The School Inspector London: Routledge and Paul. Fearon, D. R. (1876). School Inspection London: Macmillan. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. Third Series London: T. C. Hansard. Holman, H. (1898). English National Education: A Sk etch of the Rise of Public Elementary Schools in England. London: Blackie.


20 of 21 Hurt, John (1971). Education in Evolution: Church, State, Society and Popular Education 1800-1870 London:Rupert Hart-Davis. Kay Shuttleworth, James (1862). "Letter to Lord Gra nville," November, 1861. In "Copies of all Memorials and Letters which have been addressed to the Lord President of the Council or to the Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education, on the Subject of the Revised Code, by the Authorities of any Educational Society, Board, or C ommittee, or of any Training School." British Sessional Papers, House of Commons. London: Her Maj esty's Stationary Office, XLI. Maclure, Stuart (1970). One Hundred Years of London Education, 1870-1970 London: Penguin. Minute of the Right Honourable The Lords of the Com mittee of the Privy Council on Education Establishing a Revised Code of Regulations. 29 July 1861. (1862). British Sessional Papers, House of Commons. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, LXI. Newcastle Commission, 1861, British Parliamentary P apers, Education General. (1970). Shannon, Ireland: Irish University Press. vol. 3.The Revised Code. (1862). Report of the Committee o f Council on Education 1861-2. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office.Selleck, R. J. W. (1968). The New Education London: Pitman. Simon, Brian (1965). Education and the Labour Movement 18701920 London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1965.Spencer, F. H. (1938). An Inspector's Testament London: English Universities Press. Storr, F. (ed.) (1899). Life and Remains of the Rev. R. H. Quick London and New York: Macmillan.Swinburne, A. J. (1912). Memories of a School Inspector: Thirty-Five Years i n Lancashire and Suffolk Saxmundham, Suffolk: A. J. Swinburne. Sylvester, D. W. (1974). Robert Lowe and Education London: Cambridge University Press. The Times, 7 March, 1862; 25 March, 1862.Tropp, Asher (1957). The School Teachers: The Growth of the Teaching Pro fession in England and Wales from 1800 to the Present Day New York: Macmillan.Copyright 1994 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesEPAA can be accessed either by visiting one of its seve ral archived forms or by subscribing to the LISTSERV known as EPAA at (To sub scribe, send an email letter to whose sole contents are SUB EPAA y our-name.) As articles are published by the Archives they are sent immediately to the EPAA subscribers and simultaneously archived in three forms. Articles are archived on EPAA as individual files under the name of the author a nd the Volume and article number. For example, the article by Stephen Kemmis in Volume 1, Number 1 of the Archives can be retrieved by sending an e-mail letter to LISTSERV@a and making the single line in the letter rea d GET KEMMIS V1N1 F=MAIL. For a table of contents of the entire ARCHIVES, send the following e-mail


21 of 21message to INDEX EPAA F=MAIL, tha t is, send an e-mail letter and make its single line read INDEX EPAA F=MAIL.The World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is To receive a publication guide for submitting artic les, see the EPAA World Wide Web site or send an e-mail letter to and include the single l ine GET EPAA PUBGUIDE F=MAIL. It will be sent to you by return e-mail. General questions about ap propriateness of topics or particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, Glass@asu.ed u or reach him at College of Education, Arizona Sta te University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. (602-965-2692)Editorial Board Syracuse UniversityJohn CovaleskieSyracuse UniversityAndrew Coulson Alan Davis University of Colorado--DenverMark E. Thomas F. Alison I. Arlen Gullickson Ernest R. Aimee Craig B. Howley u56e3@wvnvm.bitnet William Richard M. Jaeger Benjamin Thomas Dewayne Mary P. Les Susan Bobbitt Anne L. Hugh G. Richard C. Anthony G. Rud Dennis Jay Robert Robert T.

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