HC Deb 13 July 1871 vol 207 c1630

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is not a fact that co-ordinate geometry has been hitherto specified as one of the branches of mathematics for the competitive examinations for admission to Woolwich Academy; whether in the Regulations recently issued, and in conformity with which the examination of the present month is ordered to be conducted, the subject of co-ordinate geometry is not expressly omitted, all the other branches of mathematics being strictly defined as hitherto; whether, notwithstanding such omission, questions have not been given in that subject to the extent of one-half of one of the papers on Thursday last; and, whether any marks will be assigned to the candidates for their answers to these questions; and, if so, whether it would not operate unjustly towards those who, on the faith of the new Regulations, have not been instructed in co-ordinate geometry?


Sir, I have been informed that questions in co-ordinate geometry were given in one of the papers set on Thursday last, though not to the extent of one-half of the paper—it being the opinion of the Civil Service Commissioners that in an examination in mathematics, embracing among other subjects the differential and integral calculus, co-ordinate geometry, whether specified or not, ought to be regarded as included. As the Civil Service Commissioners, in accordance with this opinion, informed candidates who inquired of them on the subject that questions in co-ordinate geometry would probably be given, justice to those candidates requires that marks should be assigned for answers to those questions, notwithstanding that other candidates appear to have been led by communications from other quarters to expect that no such questions would be given. The Commissioners have not yet received the report on this part of the examination; but as the paper to which these remarks refer contained a number of questions considerably greater than any single candidate was expected to answer, they do not anticipate any difficulty in so arranging the marks as to do substantial justice to both classes of candidates alike.