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Selection for Higher Education, 6 Nov 1951

Identifier: Coll-1310/3/1/3/8

Scope and Contents

The lecture largely concerns how selection for university entrance can be made more fair and equal, beginning at the age of eleven with the eleven-plus examination which determines a child's entry into a grammar or a modern school, the latter of which removes the possibility of attending university.

Thomson argues for a mechanism by which pupils wrongly rejected by grammar schools may still enter university. He discusses the influence of industry and character on examination and future success, and the merits of examinations versus teachers' opinions as predictors of future success.

Thomson defends and praises the use of examinations as favourable to nepotism, but discusses how the examination process could be improved upon. He describes a system of school selection used in Saxony, Germany, in 1933, which combined an examination similar in structure and content to an intelligence test, with the schools' opinion of its candidates. He contrasts this to the American state universities, which have a list of affiliated schools which can recommend students to pass into the Freshman year with no examination.

Thomson also discusses the use of intelligence tests in selecting candidates for university entrance in order to make a first reduction of the suitable candidates, but stresses this method could not be used on its own for selection. In relation to this, he discusses his specific experiences at Edinburgh University of testing almost the complete entry in 1950 to the faculties of Arts, Science, and Medicine with an Adult Intelligence Test.

Also includes a printed flyer for the lecture series.


  • Creation: 6 Nov 1951


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

The lecture was part of a series of lectures run by the University of Leeds Institute of Education titled Some Aspects of Education Today.


1 typescript lecture, 19pp; 1 flyer, 1 leaf

Physical Location


Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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