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Thursday, March 16, 2006

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895

The following is one of those things that's going around the Internet and I'm posting it just as I got it. Being that my mom was from Kansas, I just had to pass it along. I wonder if my grandparents or great-grandparents took this test.
(See 8/31/05 for a 4 generation picture of me with my mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother from Kansas.)

See added note at bottom.

All this and no computer to find the answers?
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, 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

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 $104 for
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.0 0 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
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90%

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, t! he 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 State s.
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
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology,
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, 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 & gt;
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?

Note: (3/20)
I just looked this up on:
and it says in part, that this purportedly final examination test is "supposed to be documentary evidence of how shockingly our educations have declined over the last century or so." This is why it says false at the top of the page. The false is refering to this test as proof as to a decline in standards, not as to whether this was a true test or not. Looking down the page a bit and you'll see a certification examination for prospective teachers, prepared by the Examiners of Teachers for the Public Schools in Zanesville, Ohio, in the late 1870s. Some of it is similar to the above test.

Thanks Carrie for passing this along.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so astounding. I may show it to my 101 year old mother and I'll bet she can do most of it. She went to school in Çanada so some of the American geography and history may stump her.

12:13 PM  
Blogger DSL said...

I'd love to hear what she thought of it.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where's the answer sheeet? I only have an MDiv!

2:42 PM  
Blogger melanie said... says this is false, although they have more argument with the assertion that the educational system is dumbed down than actual proof that the test is made up. interesting points in any event:


6:58 PM  
Blogger DSL said...

Thanks Melanie for bringing it to my attention. I'm usually careful to check things out with Snopes. This one slipped by me. I added the note to the bottom of the post just in case a reader skips the comments.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The exam uses terminology with which we are not familiar, making it seem more foreign, and therefore more difficult.
In the Arithmetic section, the questions are not complete, using current defiitions of the terms. For example, the "distance" of the farm is given. Is that the same as a modern circumference? A price is given per metre of lumber, a single dimension, when the material to be bought is defined in three dimensions. So metre means soemthing different from 39.6 inches.
We all probably knew the Nine Rules of Arithmetic, but not by that name. "Any number divided by itself equals one" is one of them.
Once the terms are clearly defined, these are straightforward arithemtic problems. The issue is language.

9:44 PM  

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