Whenever new PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results are announced, or some journalist writes a piece on the latest state of French *baccalauréat* exams, many people take a critical look at educational matters and make comparisons. I think a little example from the dusty pages of the **history of mathematics** can shed some light at the **level of high school education** in **France** back in **1800s**, that is, almost **220 years ago**. Who knows, it might even give some inspiration to people who want to check their standards.

The example is about the famous German mathematician **Gauss**: He wrote a remarkable book in 1798, humbly titled as “Disquisitiones Arithmeticae” (“Arithmetical Investigations”). The book was first published in 1801, and only **6 years later** it was translated into **French** and published in **1807** as “**Recherches arithmétiques**“.

The translator of this important book was **Antoine Charles Marcelin Poullet-Delisle**, a **math teacher** at a **high school**: Lycée d’Orléans. Another French *high school teacher*, Louis Poinsot, wrote a long review about the translation in a **daily newspaper** on **21 March 1807**, Saturday. Poinsot was a mathematics teacher at Lycée Bonaparte in Paris, just like the French translator of Gauss’s book.

The archives of the daily newspaper where Poinsot published his review of “**Recherches arithmétiques**” is available online at DigiNole Home » FSU Digital Library » Napoleonic Collections » Le Moniteur universel » Moniteur universel

And you can read the review on the second page of the newspaper: Read the rest of this entry »