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Could You Have Passed the 8th Grade in 1895? Probably Not...Take a Look

by C/O Diogenes Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 9:08 AM

Questions: What percentage of this year's seniors and last year's high school graduates could pass the following 8th grade test required in 1895, even if the few outdated questions were modernized? How many college students could pass it? For that matter, what percentage of high school teachers could pass it?



- Testing Standards -

Compared to the 8th Grade Test in 1895

Could You Have Passed the 8th Grade in 1895?

Probably Not...Take a Look

by Michael Hodges (email)

prepared Feb. 2001 as a section of http://mwhodges.home.att.net/education.htm

This is a sub section of the Grandfather Education Report, a chapter of the comprehensive Grandfather Economic Report series of mini-reports with dramatic pictures on critical subjects proving serious threats facing the economic future of our young, compared to prior generations. Poor education quality is a major threat to our nation, partly caused by unacceptable teaching methods, and dumbed-down textbooks and test standards.

This is about test standards, compared to the past.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Questions: What percentage of this year's seniors and last year's high school graduates could pass the following 8th grade test required in 1895, even if the few outdated questions were modernized? How many college students could pass it? For that matter, what percentage of high school teachers could pass it? And - - what percentage of today's schools have standards for promotion from 8th grade equal to or tougher than those required in 1895?

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, Kansas - 1895

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, Kansas. It was taken

from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society

and Library in Salina, Kansas and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.



Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of ,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at per month, and have 4 for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at .00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of 2.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?

8. Find bank discount on 0 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?



Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of N.A.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Source - this exam was sent to this author on February 12, 2001 by OkieVan@aol.com, a reader of this Grandfather Economic Report series.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Repeating our opening Questions: What percentage of this year's seniors and last year's high school graduates could pass the above 8th grade test required in 1895, even if the few outdated questions were modernized? How many college students could pass it? For that matter, what percentage of high school teachers could pass it? And - - what percentage of today's schools have standards for promotion from 8th grade equal to or tougher than those required in 1895?

Or - - do we just say, 'so what!!' - - and, 'we just don't care that our students come in last on nearly all international tests comparing students from other nations.'

This author is convinced that those U.S. 8th graders in 1895 had no trouble matching or exceeding foreign students of their day. Why do we produce less relative education quality today compared to our own history and compared to foreign nations?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR EDUCATION STANDARDS

COMPARED TO THE PAST? Do we care, or not?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A related issue - - textbooks & teaching methods dumbed-down

1. If 200 mathematicians and scientists, including four Nobel Prize recipients and two winners of a prestigious math prize, the Fields Medal, deplore math teaching methods saying they are 'horrifyingly short on basics' - should we care?

2. If the president of the American Association of Physics Teachers and his review committee say, 'none of the 12 textbooks used by 85% of middle school students have an acceptable level of accuracy' - - and that 'honors high school texts are no more difficult than an eighth grade reader was before World War II.' - - should we care?

3. Additionally, are too many teachers of math and science so inadequately educated in their subject as to be unable to identify error-laden text books and inadequate teaching methods to keep same out of the classroom? Many make excuses, trying to deflect blame. What action is being taken to protect students?



This is covered in the section on Textbooks

------------------------------------------------------------------------

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 8 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Next time you are... Diogenes Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 9:10 AM
Old Books bookie Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 9:21 AM
graduation in 1895 Meyer London Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 12:49 PM
Bookie Meyer London Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 12:52 PM
I'm sorry Meyer... Diogenes Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2003 at 2:52 PM
Farming Communities Meyer London Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2003 at 6:04 AM
You go girl Eric Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2003 at 6:25 AM
schitzo eric Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2003 at 2:55 PM

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