Certificate

Full details of the twice-yearly examination for the Learningguild Certificate in Reasoning and Expression are set out in a leaflet whose text is here.

Testimonies to the value of the examination and the Certificate have been given by three leading scholars and educationists at Oxford, Melbourne/Princeton, and Boston. The historian Sir Keith Thomas, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and formerly President of Corpus Christi College, wrote in 2011:

Dr John Howes has shown me details of the repeatable examination for the Learningguild Certificate in Reasoning and Expression, awarded with a wide range of grades and levels. I think that the examination is admirably designed for its purpose, which is to test the candidatesʹ proficiency in reading and writing English, their powers of comprehension, and their ability to criticize a defective argument and present and defend a view of their own. Though neglected in recent years by many educational institutions, these are essential skills not just for academic study but for the effective conduct of business in many spheres of life. Not tied to any course or any syllabus (where some schools would teach better than others) or to expensive books, this examination tests intelligence and rewards individual study, and so would make a very helpful addition to university admissions procedures. For those involved in choosing between applicants for posts in business, industry and public administration, the Certificate in Reasoning and Expression would provide valuable assistance. Indeed there is a great deal to be said in favour of its adoption at a national level in English-speaking countries.

Professor Peter Singer, philosopher at Melbourne and Princeton, wrote in 2010:

To get an A, or an upper B, in the examination for the Learningguild Certificate shows abilities to write clearly, reason well, and see what is wrong with unsound arguments. Across a wide range of fields, these skills are in short supply, urgently needed and yet seldom directly tested. I recommend both to students and to report-writers that they visit the Learningguild website and take up the challenge of this exam.

Dr John Silber, President Emeritus of Boston University (and University Professor, and Professor of Philosophy and Law), wrote as follows in 2010. Dr Silber died in 2012.

For many years, both in the university and in my work with K-12 programs, I have noted the failure of our educational institutions to develop the essential skills of clear writing and clear thinking. The most rigorous and successful program that I have found to achieve this goal is [that of] Learningguild, developed and directed by Dr John Howes. As Chairman of the Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I met with him [in 1998] to review his program and examined several of the half-yearly exam papers in Reasoning and Expression he had given through Learningguild since … 1987. They are the best tools for developing writing skills that I have seen. I am most impressed with his extraordinarily clear, wide-ranging and thought-provoking exam papers and constructive reports …. [The exam is] repeatable, so students who fail to achieve proficiency in their initial attempts receive direction and instruction [and] can review in detail where they fell short before trying again. Most universities make no provision for students to repeat an examination once they have passed it …. Few high schools or universities … provide additional courses in language and in reasoning to enable students to reach a high level of proficiency.

Universities can improve their programs, I believe, by recommending [Learningguildʹs website, with its past papers and reports,] to their students as a supplement to their courses. … When I was Chairman of the Board of Education of Massachusetts I hoped that the Learningguild exam might be required throughout the State. Unfortunately I did not succeed.

Fifty-eight papers have been set and taken since September 1987. To download any of five recent pairs of paper and detailed report on the exam concerned, click below.  Earlier papers, and reports on many of the exams, may be obtained on request from Learningguild, normally for $5 a pair ($4 for members).

To download recent pairs of an examination paper and the related report, click below.

March 2016 exam

March 2016 report

September 2015 exam

September 2015 report

March 2015 exam

March 2015 report

October 2014 exam

October 2014 report

May 2014 exam

May 2014 report