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Could you have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

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  • Could you have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

    ....AND WE WONDER WHY OUR GRANDPARENTS WERE SO SMART., WITH ONLY AN 8TH GRADE EDUCATION.


    This is what it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895

    Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

    This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey ValleyGenealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the
    Salina Journal.

    8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895

    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 "lie,""play," 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/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
    4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary
    levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month and have only $104 for incidentals?
    5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
    6. Find the interest of $512.60 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 metre?
    8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
    9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of
    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, 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.' (HUH?)
    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, sup.
    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 North America
    5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver,
    Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and
    Orinoco.
    6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
    7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the 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 the inclination of the
    earth.

    Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he
    only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!

  • #2
    I wonder how many high school graduates could pass that test.

    It's amazing how far we've gotten away from teaching the fundementals in this country. It's amazing what one can do when they master the fundementals.
    Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

    Comment


    • #3
      Its actually not an eighth grade test.

      http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/a/1895exam.htm

      http://www.snopes.com/language/document/1895exam.htm

      Plus, how many of those 1890's kids could work a computer, explain "good touch, bad touch", find the drug dealer or terrorist in a crowd? Different times, different skill sets...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Grover
        Its actually not an eighth grade test...

        Where in either of the links you provided does it say that it is not?

        Comment


        • #5
          "Where in either of the links you provided does it say that it is not?"


          How 'bout here:

          "Claim: An 1895 graduation examination for public school students demonstrates a shocking decline in educational standards.
          Status: False. "



          pwnt
          "Foyt's mere presence is a punch in the face, an inoculation against milquestoast corporatism. There wasn't a car anywhere anyhow anytime that Foyt wouldn't put the boot to, and there hasn't been a race devised he couldn't win."
          - Jeff MacGregor, Sunday Money

          Comment


          • #6
            Whether or not it's real, I still stand by my statement that today's students are sorely laking in the fundementals.

            Or that many high school students could pass that test.

            Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

            Comment


            • #7
              "Consider: To pass this test, no knowledge of the arts is necessary (not even a nodding familiarity with a few of the greatest works of English literature), no demonstration of mathematical learning other than plain arithmetic is required (forget algebra, geometry, or trigonometry), nothing beyond a familiarity with the highlights of American history is needed (never mind the fundamentals of world history, as this exam scarcely acknowledges that any country other than the USA even exists), no questions about the history, structure, or function of the United States government are asked (not even the standard "Name the three branches of our federal government"), science is given a pass except for a few questions about geography and the rudiments of human anatomy, and no competence in any foreign language (living or dead) is necessary. An exam for today's high school graduates that omitted even one of these subjects would be loudly condemned by parents and educators alike, subjects about which the Salina, Kansas, students of 1895 needed know nothing at all. Would it be fair to say that the average Salina student was woefully undereducated because he failed to learn many of the things that we consider important today, but which were of little importance in his time and place? If not, then why do people keep asserting that the reverse is true? Why do journalists continue to base their gleeful articles about how much more was expected of the students of yesteryear on flawed assumptions? Perhaps some people are too intent upon making a point to bother considering the proper questions. "
              "Foyt's mere presence is a punch in the face, an inoculation against milquestoast corporatism. There wasn't a car anywhere anyhow anytime that Foyt wouldn't put the boot to, and there hasn't been a race devised he couldn't win."
              - Jeff MacGregor, Sunday Money

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by athos1172
                "Where in either of the links you provided does it say that it is not?"


                How 'bout here:

                "Claim: An 1895 graduation examination for public school students demonstrates a shocking decline in educational standards.
                Status: False. "



                pwnt
                That doesn't say the test isn't real; it says that it doesn't demonstrate a shocking decline, and that's an interpretation.

                Sometimes, I think that Snopes needs to be snoped.

                Comment


                • #9
                  "That doesn't say the test isn't real; it says that it doesn't demonstrate a shocking decline, and that's an interpretation. "

                  True dat.


                  self-pwnt
                  "Foyt's mere presence is a punch in the face, an inoculation against milquestoast corporatism. There wasn't a car anywhere anyhow anytime that Foyt wouldn't put the boot to, and there hasn't been a race devised he couldn't win."
                  - Jeff MacGregor, Sunday Money

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lutesk
                    Where in either of the links you provided does it say that it is not?
                    Well, in the first link they actually tracked down the original document and it does not say it IS for an 8th grade examination, unless you think the word "applicant" translates to "8th grader".

                    The reason I don't believe it is an eighth grade exam is because when I got the e-mail a few years back, my e-mail claimed it was a high school graduation exam.

                    When I see it again in 2009, and it says its a fifth grade exam, I will not be able to link to anything that refutes that claim specifically either, but I wont buy it as fact nonetheless...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Definitely not an eight grade test, the applicant part gives that away.
                      Trump, he's one of the nicest, most decent human beings possibly ever to walk the planet..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nope... not even this old phart is that old... did you show this test to Dick... he probably aced it.

                        "Ooh woo, I'm a Rebel just for kicks, now
                        I been feeling it since 1966, now..."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure whether this was a test for 8th grade kids. Probably not. I am of the arguement that education has been dumbed down, but this this test is not great evidence for it. The best arguement against it I'll save for the end of this post.

                          First of all, most of us couldn't pass a comprehensive 8th grade test given today, or at least do well on it. Even if it was covered in our education, things like state capitals and rivers, if not used, are eventually forgotten. Another is (as snopes pointed out) the information tested is on things not taught today and leaves out stuff that is.

                          Let's go over this test to see what I'm talking about:

                          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 "lie,""play," 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.
                          Most 8th graders could pass this and most of us could pass it with a short refresher session. None of these ideas are all that complicated and most of us know the concepts, just not the language used to describe them. I don't think they teach things like principal parts of a verb anymore, so that's gotten worse. They also don't diagram sentances any more.
                          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/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
                          4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary
                          levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month and have only $104 for incidentals?
                          5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
                          6. Find the interest of $512.60 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 metre?
                          8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
                          9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of
                          which is 640 rods?
                          10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
                          Some of this is based on the ability to convert bushels from square feet and pounds, plus rods to acres. Nobody uses rods anymore and I pretty much never see bushels, so I don't think that stuff is taught anymore due to being archaic. I'd also like to point out that converting to the metric system makes those questions incredibly easy. Conversions within (and to without) the empirial system are needlessly complex. However, most 8th graders today cannot calculate interest, or figure out taxation rates even if they can do arithmetic without a calculator. So, the 1895 kids would have that on them.
                          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, 1865.
                          As with most basic history, there is a lot of memorization required, which simply means most of us wouldn't remember it, even if taught it back school. How often to you talk about the epochs of US history? The history of Kansas is provincial, so us non-Kansans would get a pass on that. Territorial expansion was still going on in 1895, so it was more relevant, but most 8th graders could teach us a thing or two about it as most of us have forgotten what we did know. Most 8th graders could tell us all about Columbus, but a teacher in 1895 would not appreciate the liberal use of the terms "genocide" and "enslavement" as well as the dispute of the term "discover" most 8th graders would use today.

                          Orthography (Time, one hour)

                          edit for space
                          Orthography (or phonics as it's called today) is not taught in most schools anymore. 8th graders today would understand this about as well as most 1895 kids would understand computer science.
                          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 North America
                          5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver,
                          Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and
                          Orinoco.
                          6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
                          7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the 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 the inclination of the
                          earth.
                          Gotta give the 1895 system credit for this. Geography isn't taught very well these days. But, in 1895 there were only about 10 countries in Europe as Germany streched from France to Russia (which included Finland), the Austro-Hungarian empire was still around and Norway and Sweden were the same country. There was, quite simply, less to learn. And snopes was right about the fact that only Europe is included in foreign countries. European history was taught as "world history" back then. 8th graders today know far more about Africa and Asia then 1895ers.

                          But, while you're sitting back thinking about how dumb kids are today and how the school system coddles them, think about this. The literacy rate in 1895? A whopping 13.5%. Sure, a 8th grade education meant more then, but few people even had that. To get out of junior high was to be an honor student. Even if most 8th graders today couldn't pass it, neither could most 13 year olds back then. The overall score would probably be much lower.

                          I'd also like to add that in 1895 if you only had a 8th grade education, you had much better job prospects than you would today. Most jobs would teach you what you needed to know with an apprentencship. Jobs that today would require a college degree just to get an interview, wouldn't even ask about education back then. It wasn't that long ago that working your way up the ladder from the mail room wasn't that uncommon. Even at executive levels, there were many without college degrees. Now, pretty much everybody above janitorial staff and clerks (and in some busineses, even the clerks have degrees) is a college grad and you need an MBA to rise above cubicle dweller.
                          It's impossible, that's sure. So let's start working.- Phillipe Petit

                          Talent borrows, Genius steals. - Pablo Picasso

                          Ah, there's nothing more exciting than science. You get all the fun of sitting still, being quiet, writing down numbers, paying attention... Science has it all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A coworker brings her son to work on occassion. He's in about the 6th grade now and given those questions and a day to study could EASILY pass that test.

                            There are a lot of things wrong with today's educational system, but the main problem isn't the subject matter or the kid's, it's the PARENTS!!!

                            I've done some work with disadvantaged children and their is MASSIVE disparity in today's youth. Even those of the same grade. The problem is the smart kids with active parents sit right next to the kids that have less educated, less involved parents. Those less advanced kids continually slip behind until they either graduate having learned 65% of what was taught (certainly not enough to "master a subject"), or they are placed in "special" classes to attempt to catch them up.

                            Meanwhile, the motivated kids who can be broken out and placed into "advanced" classes are learning FAR more in 7th/8th grade than many of us learned in high school.

                            Problems really arise when the school doesn't eventually separate the kids. When that happens, the teacher focuses on the middle, which slows many otherwise smart kids WAY down.
                            We flipped our finger to the King of England
                            Stole our country from the Indians
                            With god on our side and guns in our hands
                            We took it for our own!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most everyone I know in 8th grade would pass the arithmetic part easily if the archaic terms were modernized. I can think of at least one 5th grader who would get a passing score on that in about 20 minutes or so.

                              As for grammar, well, most kids wouldn't pass that if it was just handed to them, but if they were in a class with that specific focus and had been studying for the exam, probably so.

                              Also, it never says how many students of that day passed the exam.

                              You'd be pretty impressed with the science knowledge of the average engineering student if you saw an Engineering Physics exam, but your astonishment would wane a bit once you realized that even with a page of notes allowed, the average score on the test was 40.
                              Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the Keenest of them all?

                              Comment

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