Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Welsummer Rancher, Feb 13, 2011.

1. ### Welsummer RancherSongster

Jan 2, 2011
Longview, Texas
The following came to me in an email and I'm thinking there isn't a teacher or college grad on this forum that can pass this test right now without looking up the answers. Schools nowadays obviously "dumb down" the curriculum.

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 Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , 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 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmeti c.
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 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 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 \$104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 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 b attles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name event s connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

[Do we even know what this is??]
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?!
Also shows you how poor our education system has become! and, NO! I don't have the answers!

Jan 31, 2011
North East Texas
You know not all of us are dummies like you think. I could pass that test, but I also understand that there are exceptions. I went to a private school, and did much harder things than that in 8th grade. You also have to remember that they were studying that stuff all year, then took the test. However, I do understand the point you are trying to make and I agree. The U.S. school system must have a MASSIVE REFORMATION. I spoke with a highschool student through text the other day and he spelled nearly every other word wrong. We haven't had much in the way of true competition or true hardship in america for a long, long time. So, why would our children focus on intellect and critical thinking skills? Well, we are soon going to need those attributes very much. If necessity is the mother of invention, then suffering is the mother of necessity. Thank you for bringing this to light, if we are to win the future then we will need to discuss this subject more openly in the years to come.

I could with relative ease pass US history, arithmetic (if I knew how large a bushel of wheat was. ), and geography, but DANG - what's with all the defining this-or-that in grammar?! And what is orthography?

4. ### mom'sfollyCrowing

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Feb 15, 2007
Austin area, Texas
Some of those questions, particularly the orthography are really of little use to any education.

The question of the "Epochs of American History" is defined by whoever wrote the textbook they were using. My guess is that the answer was something like: discovery, colonization, revolution, expansion, civil war and reconstruction....but again it depends wholly on the definitions they are using. Much of the math is dependent on measures that have little meaning in modern life unless you farm.

Most of the other questions simply aren't that hard. I'd probably have to look up the interest rate stuff, simply because I haven't used it in about a zillion years, but the problems themselves aren't difficult.

Just for comparison purposes, click for released Texas TAKS math and social studies tests for 8th grade. See how much you remember, and keep in mind that Texas is considered a state with easier tests than other states.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/release/tests2009/taks_g08_math.pdf

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/release/tests2009/taks_g08_ss.pdf

5. ### Cat WaterThat Person

Jul 4, 2010
Mid Coast Maine
Quote:Me too. I MIGHT have MAYBE gotten a D on the grammer and orthography. I don't know what orthography actually means, but I can understand the questions for the most part.

I have an excuse, though.

6. ### woodmortSongster

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Jul 6, 2010
Oxford NY
There was a time when anyone with an 8th grade education was considered fully educated primarily since that was the time most dropped out of school to go to work. With the passing of child labor laws plus the rise of labor unions there is not much call for 13-year olds to enter the work force to dig in the mines so we have gone to 12-year education system. We have also change our curriculum to reflect what is important to learn and what is just "fluff". I once had a real knock-down argument with someone considerably older than I about why knowing all the states and their capitols was not education but memorization and unimportant. She thought is was very important since, primarily, she learned it and was proud of it. (Of course we now have kids that don't know what their own state capitol is but that's another story.) The thing is what you know and think is important--like state capitols--may not be what is important to succeed now. Looking at those test questions reminded me of this. Technology has changed our lives in a way that has freed us to not having to know some things so we can learn others. (Who would have ever thought that knowing how to type would be important to first graders?) That is one of the problems with education, we're always teaching yesterday's stuff and getting up to speed to what is important is expensive and time consuming.

BTW a personal note: I always liked to write--even back in HS I did a lot of it--but I am a terrible speller--maybe ADD, dyslexia or just poor teaching. At any rate my HS English teacher once told my mother that while I like to write I'd never be any good at it since I couldn't spell. Little did he know that there would be spell-check. I now have written 5 books and numerous magazine articles.

ETA: corrections to typos. Now if I could just type.

Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
7. ### mom'sfollyCrowing

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Feb 15, 2007
Austin area, Texas
I also am a poor speller, as is my older son. I don't worry about it too much, because he knows the basic rules and can spell check. I usually have a dictionary nearby when I am posting online.

Orthography is much about spelling and how to write the pronunciation of a word. No one really needs how to know the proper dictionary way to write pronunciation.

I think too, since 1895, the world has changed in very profound ways. In 1895, any reasonably educated person could look at the machinery of the time, and figure out how to make it work. Very few people could reverse engineer a computer. We've also had 100 more years of fairly turbulent history, with big wars, vast social changes, and huge leaps in technology. I don't think anyone in 1895 could have anticipated Walmart, birthcontrol pills, two world wars, routine travel at more that 50 miles/hour, bananas year round, television, an African American president or hundreds of other things we take for granted. Heck when I was a kid the closest thing to a cell phone was on Star Trek, and I'm not even 50. I know that in the 25 years since I graduated from college, the area I got my degree in has changed profoundly. I have a BA in biology, and in 25 years whole new areas of study have opened up in molecular biology, biochemistry and other areas. When I started highschool, they were still teaching the "Three Kingdoms" for biology: plant, animal and bacteria. Now I believe that a five or six kingdoms concept is being taught.

Knowledge changes, and what is important changes as well.

Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
8. ### GammaPoppyLilyFlutterLove Comes with Feathers

Jun 26, 2010
California
Schools are pretty hard these days, though. Plus peer pressure and all sorts of bad things.

Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
9. ### woodmortSongster

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Jul 6, 2010
Oxford NY
Quote:Let's see. First you would have had to walk to school. Once you got there, if you were the first one, you would have had to stoke the fire in the pot stove and bring in a couple of loads of wood. You would have probably been in the same room with 7th graders or there would have been a bunch of older kids--probably male--that were still trying to finish 8th grade in your class. You would have had about 4 books: a reader, arithmetic book, geology book and history that you would have to keep with you all day. Writing would be done on either a slate or lined booklet. You would have one teacher for all subjects and her rule would be law. If you misbehaved you would be hit with anything from a ruler to a switch to a paddle. Go home and complain and you'd get the same thing, only harder. Once you got home you'd do your studies, chores, and eat (not necessarily in that order)and be in bed at dark unless you wanted to study in flickering candle or gas light. At the end of the year you'd take that test and if you failed you had two choices: quit or come back and do it all over.

Still want to go back?

10. ### M To The MaxxBaseball+Girls=Life

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Jul 24, 2009
Lutz,FL
I'm in 8th grade now and we have learned only some of that stuff. The problem with our school systems now a days is that they teach us a bunch of crap that we won't even use in the future. Trust me.