Friday, September 18, 2009

Time For A Wake Up Call...!

How about a little look at the education of the past?

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 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 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) [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. 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!

To tell the truth, I feel a little dumb right now...!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit outside for a bit! Don't worry...there's no test today!


Kyddryn said...

Well Mister Hermit, sir, I figure I could answer twelve of those questions in part and sixteen in full...almost none of them from arithmetic, because I wouldn't know a bushel from a peck and a paper of pins (points for obscure song reference??).

I don't know if it's frightening or a good thing that I'm home schooling...but I DO think it's a better choice than the other options available to us here.

I wonder what sorts of things we know now that our grandchildren will find baffling and/or boggling when they look back at our educations?

Shade and Sweetwater,

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
Personally, I think it's a good thing that you home school...certainly a better alternative than public!

I'm amazed that you are so smart, as well as being a good cook! Multi-talented woman, you are!

Thanks for the visit today!

TEAM HALL said...

Morning Jim! This post is fantastic!! You know, my big girl(6) and I "played" school until she was diagnosed with Autism. "They" were horrified that we were actually homeschooling and felt it was better for her to go to mainstream school so we sent her. Well, she's now in Grade 1 and she's still NOT learning more than when we "played" at it.
I was told this week that they weren't interested in pushing her academically...she's a bright girl and would pick it up along the way. They are more interested in helping her socialize!!! ARrrgh!
Sorry Jim, didn't mean to get I'm going to need something stronger in my coffee! lol
Have a fabulous day! Oh and if you can tell me how many gallons of sap it takes to make 1 gallon of syrup, I'll get yah a buttertart with your coffee! hehe

Anonymous said...

And all of this without the internet - I feel pretty dumb myself!

Have a good weekend HermitJim.

Baby Sis said...

Pretty scary how little we know, huh?

Kyddryn said...

Oh, oh, I know the answer to Team Hall's question!!

Yes, I was the kid in back of the class who always had her dang hand up to answer questions, irritating her classmates and garnering more than one ES&D look for it. :-)

I won't spoil the funf, though...and I only know because when I lived in NH, I tapped trees and made syrup myself. Makes you appreciate that liquid gold! I still love maple sugar candy...

Shade and Sweetwater,

JoJo said...

Good morning my Special One,
Stop the room from spinning. I guess back then when it was all about growing your crops to survive you had to know some of this stuff. But the history and I love history, I was dumbfounded. And we both now my grammar is of little use to anyone. I was the one who sat in the back of the room not to raise her hand but to hide. Oh well I made up for most of it so I could teach my kids.

HermitJim said...

Hey Cath...
I'm afraid that if I were you, I'd pull my girl out of public school and hone school her if I could! I have many blogging friends that home school...and they swear by it.

To heck with the fact that they want to teach her to "socialize" effectively...she can learn that from siblings, cousins, close friends and at the playground from other kids!

In my opinion, the really important education should be from the parents...teaching the children the value of truth, religion, manners, honesty, all the values that were important to us growing up and that will help them get through life on a daily basis.

Thanks so much for dropping by today!

Hey Anon 7:19...
Hard to believe, isn't it? Guess we need to go back and rethink our idea of what a real education is!

Thanks for coming by the patio this morning!

Hey Sis...
Yes, it is! I thank you for sending me this will be food for a lot of you can tell from the comments so far!

Sorry that I didn't give the credit to you for sending me this...guess I owe you an extra hug, huh?

Thanks for the visit, Sis!

Hey K...
You are priceless, my friend! You make me smile...I could almost see you, waving your hand in the air, saying "oh, oh, oh...I know!"

Thanks for making me smile this morning! Also, thanks for the visit!

Hey JoJo...
I guess that if we are smart enough to make friends with one another, then we are smart enough, huh?

I'm sure that you were a great influence on your kids...and maybe you can teach me a thing or two!

I sure appreciate you coming over today, sweetie!

Anonymous said...

As always sir, a great post. I think the real things missing from public education are 1) common sense; and 2) practical skills. Neither are emphasized and in fact, both are shunned by modern education.

I wonder how much they "taught to the test" in 1895 though? I'd wager that a fair amount of the kids who passed that final had just memorized the answers without really understanding them. They had more important and pressing issues to deal with in 1895 than the "epochs" of U.S. getting the harvest in and earning some money to help the family pay for food.

On the other hand, they also didn't have cell phones and the internet to distract them, right?

vlad said...

I am not smarter than an eighth grader.

Marion said...

Thank you for this post. I'm sending the link to my daughter who teaches 8th grade. Maybe she'll know the answers,lol.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ranger...
Good point about some students memorizing the answers! Also, a good point about the pressing issues facing them in those days!

With so much of the emphasis on education now days, I wonder if a good course in "common sense" would be a good thing...but can you really teach that in school? Better learned at home...or better yet, be self taught!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Vlad...
I'm afraid I'll have to own up to the fact that I am a fairly ignorant man, by some of the questions asked on this test!

But then, I never was the brightest bulb in the pack!

Hey, thanks for the visit today, my friend!

Hey Marion...
You'll have to let us know just what your daughter says about the test and the answers!

I would think it would make an excellent lesson plan for the day! Something to consider!

Thyank you so much for coming by to chat for a bit!

Catman said...

Morning Jim,

There is a problem with looking back on tests from a bygone era.

In order to fully understand them, one has to take them in the full context of society as it existed at that time.

I know these tests have surfaced from time to time in order to assail modern public education and teachers. However, to be quite fair, public education was instituted to create capable workers for factories and the movement away from an agrarian to an industrial society.

Public education has kept in step with their role to indoctrinate and produce barely capable automatons for our post industrial society.

An example would be the cash registers at fast food joints having numbers that correspond to "meal" choices and the people who have problems navigating such a seemingly easy path to completing a simple task.

The ones who are capable of more than just menial tasks are separated out early, and subjected to even heavier doses of indoctrination.

If you have a child or grandchild in public school, I urge you to take one of their books and thumb through it one evening.

It is not what you were taught when you were their age.

HermitJim said...

Hey Catman...
You make some valid points! I can remember when I was in school, we had courses like "social studies" and "health"...they even taught how to dress for a job interview and how to count out change!

Pretty evident how successful today's education is toward indoctrination when a large number of today's students can't even recite the pledge of allegiance or the bill of rights!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Wyn Boniface said...

answer key

HermitJim said...

Hey Wyn...
Thanks for this link, my friend!

And thank you for stopping by as well!

Diane said...

This comment is short & sweet...I got an "F".
Great post.

Dragon said...

I just went over it again...I could only answer about half, That makes me feel like a dummy and That ain't easy to do...

HermitJim said...

Hey Diane...
Don't are in good company! I didn't fare well in it myself!

Thanks for the visit!

Hey Dragon...
Some of these questions were pretty tough for now I don't feel too bad!

Thanks for comingt by, Dragon!

Anonymous said...

After reading the test all I can say is HUH?

anyways this country was built to its greatest so far by men who didnt even get passed the 5th grade.

I have a millionaire friend who quit skool in the 5th grade. and he can spell skool better than me too.

IF your a kid and reading this, this doesnt apply to you. In this day and age you have to have a college diploma in order to get a job at burger king, not quite but almost.
So stay in skool or you will spell skool like this and some guy wont hire you because he thinks you kant spell. lol have a good weeken Jim

HermitJim said...

Hey Off Grid...
I've always had a hard time with skool as well! Must be sumthin' we missed sumwhere!

hey, thanks for coming by!

Stephanie in AR said...

From reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's books & others I'd say none of the teachers taught to the test. The questions about pecks & bushels would be very valuable to farmers and would be something children might have learned by helping the folks. Also, it was possible to move ahead in one area - say maths and stay behind in another.

My Dad went to a one room schoolhouse, he said it was considered a plus if a little kid could answer a question that a big kid could not. He said what was great about the situation was kids could hear "advanced" lessons so they could see why they needed to learn such-and-such. Students heard the lessons over several years so that by the time they were the big kids there wasn't much of a reason not to know most of the answers. And if you missed a section of school due to sickness (say scarlet fever) well it would be taught again next year to a new class & you could get what you missed - if you hadn't already heard it a few times already.

From a learning styles viewpoint - kids heard the teacher, wrote on the blackboard & spoke most of their answers. All the styles were covered and the more ways of leaning involved (hearing, speaking, movement) the better new information is retained.

Remember too most people did not graduate - having an 8th grade education is not the same as being an 8th grade graduate. And orthography is like spelling and phonics mixed together. Etymology is where the word came from (Greek, Latin, Old English), syllabication is dividing it into syllables. A caret 'u' is a way of pronouncing a 'u' sound. picture a tiny upside down v over that 'u'. If you read the either "Litte Town on the Prairie" or "The Long Winter" Laura wrote down this portion of her teacher's exam and how she answered.

I really think this is the test for people who want to be given teacher's certificates during this time in the American West. Oh - I learned about the orthography stuff when I was homeschooling my learning disabled son. Oldtime stuff works great but there sure were a lot of new words to look up (this test is full of them). Today's teachers have to teach manners, social skills, basic hygiene, global warming, other trendy necessities, keep troublemakers in school and make sure to keep parents happy - well who has time to teach real academics. No wonder most teachers quit before 5 years. (even me - on 12 yr leave from a BSE in Biology/Math & English)

HermitJim said...

Hey Stephanie...
I appreciate all the information! That helps to understand all this a little more...

I really do appreciate you coming by and teaching us something!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

Suddenly it seemes I had a twelve year vacation when I went to school :-) :-) :-)

I might have managed to get an ok on the geography, but the rest :-) :-) :-)
Have a great day now!