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Could you pass this exam. I CHALLENGE EVERONE here to pass

White Fox

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This is a copy of a grade 8 final exam from 1895. Since we are so well educated today, it will obviously be very simple for everyone to do it. However, I just thought you would like to have the fun of getting all the answers correct anyhow.


Remember. I am challenging you. So please don't just click somewhere else. PLEASE TAKE THE TEST!!!


While reading it, you will realize that there is a purpose to this post...


1895 8th Grade Exam

Salina, Kansas


Due to the continuous questions, emails, phone calls, and letters, Smoky Valley Genealogical Society had decided to place a copy of the 1895 8th Grade Exam on our website.


Many people forget that Kansas is an agricultural state. 8th grade was as far as many children went in school at that time. It was unusual for children to attend either a high school or a normal school because they were needed on the family farms.....The descendants of the school superintendent, J.W. Armstrong, were the ones who gave us our copy of the exam.


What it took to get a grade eight education in 1895...


Grade Eight 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 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 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 7percent per annum.

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 Cheque, 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)

[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'.

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, 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. 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.




Are they kidding???



(Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. )


Gives the saying 'he only had a grade eight education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!


Also shows something about what our education system has since become.


Oh yes, I promised the answers. You will find they are very interesting! So if you think you have the correct answer, give up, or just want to cheat go to: http://www.barefootsworld.net/1895examcomp.html

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I've seen this before. I somehow lost it and have wanted to get it back ever since. At any rate, I don't know any of the answers and I'm a firggin' college professor (granted I SHOULD know the grammer rules).


I'll try giving this to my students. That ought to be a hoot!



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Sheesh, It's been a long time since English/Literature classes that even mentioned some of that stuff; let alone the math or other stuff. Kind of hard to mess with some of the questions without going to look up some of the things that would be common knowledge to the people taking the test (bushel, etc.). Might be able to pull off part of the history and geography, sections but the answers would be based on how I learned some of it.


Maybe we need to try throwing some of these kids into a version of the oral & practical exams that I had to complete (after the multiple choice written exams) that I had to take for my Airframe & Powerplant certification and see what happens.

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There are of course two things here we need to remember. We probably cannot remember when Cabot sailed to North America and what he did, and the date. Yet we all took it in school I am sure. Or the verses we had to memorize.


And of course there was Columbus "discovering" America. Yah right. First off he was navigating by a map to go there. I've saw a printed version of that map. People had been coming for years to fish but everyone had been afraid to land. And how could he "Discover" it when our Native friends had been living here for thousands of years before?


But what I am trying to say is that we do forget what we took in school back then. Like Principal Parts of verbs, and Punctuation. So that is a good part of what is going on here. Yep, I can remember those times I got the strap. But I'll be damned if I can remember what for!!


Add to that, this was a long time ago. Kids today know a lot of things those kids didn't so we can't just make sweeping judgements. However, I do think that we can look at this and use it as a learing experience. Remember that these kids worked at home most of the year! So, they learned all of this in a short school year too!


Just some thoughts.

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The test is structured differently than one would be, today.


First, as others say, the student needs to know how much a bushel of wheat weighs. Not common knowledge today. It's not information people use.


Second, the test is more pointed toward repeating what was learned in class than to a general skill set.

I bet there are a dozen important events in history that happened in the years 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865. However, the teacher expects the student to repeat the facts that were taught in class.


I would have gotten that the Pilgrims had landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and I MIGHT have gotten that Jamestown was founded in 1607 but I would NOT have been able to repeat the line from Capt. John Smith, "He that will not work shall not eat."


It is very clear that the teacher makes assumptions about what the students know and that the teacher expects to see certain answers even though they are not spelled out in the test questions.


On the other hand, I wonder if an 8th grader in those times would be able to factor the polynomial -6a+15 into 3(-2a+5) ?

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