Are You Smarter Than An 8th Grader in 1895 Kansas?


In honor of…

my paternal family’s educators: grand aunt Lelia May Powell Bowling (1903-1985) school teacher for 35 years before retiring and 2nd cousin (6x removed) Anna Peyton Bolling (1836-1919), high school teacher, then principal from 1876-1904 in Petersburg, Virginia, where Anna P. Bolling Junior High School in Petersburg, Virginia was built in 1926 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Just how educated do you think we are today when compared to yesteryears?

Remember the game show that came out a couple of years ago “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”  And, remember when your grandparents told you that so and so only went through the 8th grade in school?  And, remember how we thought how undereducated they must have been?  Well, after reading the 1895 8th graders’ final exam that follows below, I believe many of us remain undereducated.  “Have a gander,” as they used to say:

SOURCE:

The Smoky Valley Genealogy Society in Salina, Kansas transcribed the following document from the original eighth-grade final exam for 1895 from Salina, KS. An interesting note–the county students could take this test in the 7th grade, and if they did not pass the test at that time, they would re-take it again in the 8th grade.

And, I’ll give you a hint to one of the arithmetic problems and will wager that you still can’t pass the test:  a bushel is a  unit of dry measure containing 4 pecks, equal in the U.S. (and formerly in England) to 2150.42 cubic inches or 35.24 liters (Winchester bushel) and in Great Britain to 2219.36 cubic inches or 36.38 liters.

Good Luck!

Smoky Valley Genealogical Society

Saline county, KS Graduation Examination (April 13,1895) 

SmokeyValleyGenSoc

Miss Stewart's Class of 1895READING AND PENMANSHIP

The Examination will be oral, and the Penmanship will be graded from the manuscripts.

************************
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 do, lie, lay 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.

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ARITHMETIC
(Time, 1 ¼ hour)

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 weights 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. Per bu., 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 incidentals?
5. Find 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 per cent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per m?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 per cent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around 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, Whtney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

*******************************************
ORTHOGRAPHY
(Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthogaphy, 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 ãuä.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ãeä. 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, super.
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 N.A.
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 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 inclination of the earth.

1. Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?
2. How does nutrition reach the circulation?
3. What is the function of the liver? Of the kidneys?
4. How would you stop the flow of blood from an artery in the case of laceration?
5. Give some general directions that you think would be beneficial to preserve the human body in a state of health.

*********************************************
RULES FOR TEACHERS 1872

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the days session.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

*********************************************

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