24
MATURA EXAMS
tificate
(Maturitätszeugnis)
from the
Gewerbeschule
would allow him direct admission
to
the
ETH.[2]
A pupil taking
the Matura submitted
a
short vita and
indicated what
professional
school
he
planned
to attend.[3]
Einstein and the other candidates had
to
do
so
by
8
September 1896.[4]
The Rector forwarded
this
material, together
with the
grades
for
the last
quarter,
to the
Aargau Department
of Education
(Erziehungsdepartement).
The
Department
decided
on
the
pupils'
admission
to
the Matura and
sent
the
papers
to
the
three-member Examination Commission
(Prüfungskommission)
that
supervised
the
examination.[5]
The Matura consisted of
a
written and
an
oral
portion,
each
prepared
and
administered
by
teachers
of
the
Gewerbeschule.
The
seven
written examinations took
place
on
18, 19,
and
21 September.
In mathematics three
problems
were
to be
given.
In
1896 two
were
in
geometry
(see
Doc.
23)
and
one
in
algebra
(see
Doc.
26).
Pupils
could consult
logarithm
tables and
a
dictionary
could
be
used in the
foreign-language
examination
(in
Einstein's
case,
in
French).[6]
The examinations
were
graded by
the
examiners and then forwarded
to
the
Rector,
who
passed
them
on
to
the Examination
Commission.
Oral
examinations, open to
the
public,
were
held
on
30 September
in the
presence
of the Examination Commission. Each
pupil
was
examined for
at
least
ten
minutes
on
each
subject
of the written examination and
on
history
and
descriptive geometry.
As usual, two
representatives
of the ETH
were
present
at
the orals.
That
year
they
were
Johann
Jakob Graf
(1854-1925),
Professor of
Sculpture
and
Drawing,
and ETH
director Albin
Herzog (1852-1909),
Professor of Mechanical
Engineering,[7]
who had
earlier taken
part
in
Einstein's unsuccessful ETH
entrance
examination.
Immediately
after the
orals,
the
examiners,
the
Rector,
and the Commission
met
to
decide the
final
grades. Although
the decision
was
made
by
the
Commission,
the
examiners had
an
advisory
role and the
right
to
propose grades
in
their
subjects.
[2]
See
the
agreement
of
10
March 1860
between the
Swiss
Federal School Council and
the
Aargau Department
of
Education,
re-
corded
on
18 May
1860 in
the SzZE Schul-
ratsarchiv,
Präsidialprotokoll 1860, no.
150.
As
a
rule, in
German-speaking
countries,
sec-
ondary-school pupils planning
further educa-
tion would take the Matura
(or
the
equivalent
Abitur).
Successful
completion
of this
exam-
ination demonstrated
mastery
of
subjects
deemed
necessary
for study at
a
university
or
technical
university.
[3] Unless otherwise
noted,
the
sources
for
all
information
on
Matura
procedures
are
Matura-Reglement
1893
and Matura-
Programm
1896.
[4]
Einstein's letter
is
Doc.
20.
[5]
In
1896
the Commission members
were
an
engineer,
a
pharmacist,
and
a
manufactur-
er,
all
from the
canton
(see
Gottlieb
Käppeli,
Erziehungsdirektor,
Canton of
Aargau,
to
Rektorat, Kantonsschule,
14 September 1896,
SzASa,
Erziehungsdirektion
1896, Mappe
Ks.
5, no.
2057).
[6] For the
subjects
and times
of
Einstein's
written
examinations,
see
Docs. 21-27. In
one
case
(physics),
the examiner indicated
that
Einstein
came
late
and
finished
early.
Written
examinations
on
English
or
Italian
(one
was
obligatory)
and
on
geography were
adminis-
tered
at
the end of the third and second
years,
respectively
(see
Doc.
19
for
Einstein's
grades).
Since
Einstein did not attend the second
year,
it
is
unclear how his
grade
in
geography was
assigned.
[7] See
Aargau Programm
1896/97, p.
16.
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