Tuesday, October 5, 2010

8th Grade Final Exam- 1895

In the very beginning, let me confess that this piece of post is not mine. Sometimes we all get mails from chain mails from unknown source and this one is from such a mail. The source and the originator of the mail are unknown to acknowledge but the knowledge spread through the mail is of immense importance therefore I am just sharing with you. As it is by way of cut & paste, the text matter is going beyond the text box, please bear with the inconvenience.
Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? and the new generation just laughed it out! 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 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 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'.
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??? This is hard to believe....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!  


  1. VOW! This makes me think how the quality of education has degraded these days. Most of the exams just are compilation of previous years' question papers and important questions as dictated by the tutors/lecturers. The syllabus in general is also so awful.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This shows how the level of education and the students is deteriorating..

    But earlier matriculation was the highest degree, wasn't it? Slowly graduation and post graduation are mandatory to get a decent job. Whats next, Phd?

  3. phew!!!im out of order after reading this :P

  4. you took me back to school days for sure! Not sure if i would have got the gold medal in this (passing mark is gold medal for us :D )

  5. OMG! I would have failed a 1000 times!

  6. I could read all the questions within one hour!!! Answering hummmm...... I have to go back to studies. At the moment what I can do is just fwd to more people than the questions asked.
    Great na??
    Thanks for sharing...srivatsa

  7. Thank god I am alive in this period of time :P and Thank god I study in a cbse school :P

  8. And my MBA degree seems so useless now! :|

  9. Very difficult questions.
    I can't believe this.

  10. Othography ?!!! First time am hearing that word :P Am sure to flunk this exam !

  11. This is a US question paper. but I am sure those of my parents' generaion, here in India had much tougher syllabi too. so many of them spoke great English and had so much more general knowledge than the best students today! Yes, education has been reduced to a rat race without offering enough knowledge.

  12. OMG that's impossible!!!! Were people really so intelligent in those days? Or are we just becoming more lazy and stupid as the centuries roll by..... food for thought!!

    Btw, if you like my post, please vote for it at Indiblogger


  13. I agree with all others that looking at these historic facts we can conclude that our education has system has degraded. Blame it to umpteen number of causes.

    Thanks for sharing this with us Sir.
    It was enlightening

  14. But re-reading this post makes me wonder, has the education system actually degraded? Do we even need to learn so much? I mean, I learnt Algebra and Trigonometry in school. I don't use any of it. It was only a stressful period in life. So I don't really know if we have gone 'down' or have improved in the sense we are more practical on what we need to know?! Confused!

    (PS: Sir, thank you for your vote on Indiblogger, really appreciate it!)

  15. I love this post on 8th grade. it truly shows how education is detoriting day by day.

  16. From an indian context education as a whole has gone to the ****. private players are taking advantage of the governments inability to cater to the need of the mass. This will change with strong regulations. however lathargy lies with the best universaties in INDIA too where you hardly see changes in sylabus. At the top of that you see paper being leaked every year adding to the woes of the students