views updated May 23 2018

examinations. The first school examinations were held in the 16th and 17th cents., when diocesan visitations were made. Teachers were questioned on their learning and pupils were tested for attainment. Examinations were required by statute in many schools, including Tonbridge (1564) and St Albans (1570).

From the second half of the 19th cent. the present examination system came into being. In 1853, the College of Preceptors initiated examinations in secondary school subjects. Three years later, the Royal Society of Arts held examinations for 15-year-old school-leavers. Technological examinations were added in 1873 and were transferred to the City and Guilds of London Institute in 1879. With the introduction of ‘payment by results’ in the 1860s, all children in elementary schools over the age of 6 were examined in the three Rs. A similar system was employed by the Science and Art Department, though here pupils could be awarded prizes. In both instances, examinations were abolished by the Education Department in 1895.

At secondary school level, Oxford undertook from 1858 the examination of schools through a body of delegates and Cambridge also held examinations in the same year. Only boys were allowed to enter. Universities took up this work, awarding certificates which exempted the holders from university entrance examinations. The Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board was established for this purpose in 1873. The University of London had offered examinations from 1858. In the 20th cent., the School Certificate Examination for 16-year-olds and Higher School Certificate for 18-year-olds operated between 1917 and 1951. They were replaced by the General Certificate of Education (GCE), Ordinary Level, and Advanced Level examinations. Since 1988, the Ordinary Level has been superseded by the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). In the 1990s considerable concern was expressed at the number of examinations which schoolchildren faced, beginning with the Standard Assessment Tasks (SATS) at the age of 7.

Peter Gordon


views updated Jun 11 2018

ex·am·i·na·tion / igˌzaməˈnāshən/ • n. 1. a detailed inspection or investigation: an examination of marketing behavior. ∎  the action or process of conducting such an inspection or investigation: the treaty is under examination by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.2. a formal test of a person's knowledge or proficiency in a particular subject or skill: he scraped through the examinations at the end of his first year.3. Law the formal questioning of a defendant or witness in court.


views updated Jun 11 2018


A search, inspection, or interrogation.

Incriminal procedure, thepreliminary hearingheld to decide whether a suspect arrested for a crime should be brought to trial.

In trial practice, the interrogation of a witness to elicit his or her testimony in a civil or criminal action, so that the facts he or she possesses are presented before the trial of fact for consideration.

In the law governing real property transactions, an investigation made into the history of the ownership of and conditions that exist upon land so that a purchaser can determine whether a seller is entitled to sell the land free and clear of any claims made by third persons.

In patent law, an inquiry made at thepatent and trademark officeto determine the novelty and utility of an invention for which a patent application has been filed and whether the invention interferes with any other invention.