July 14, 2005

If you were a teenager in the 19th Century...


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.

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, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 ft. 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 incidentals?
5. Find the 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 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)

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, 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.
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.

SO... how did you do?


Leslie Noelani Laurio said...

Wow! That gives me more respect for my great-grandfather, who "only had an eighth grade education."

X said...

I would have failed miserably even on the arithmatic even though I am through Calculas. (Were is my calculator.) LOL. Mabye not miserably on the arithmatic but on the others I would be saying, "Ouch".

Thermodude said...

You know, my grandpa had part of this test and asked us the questions. It was but a joke. Even though, You can tell that we are not what some people say we are.

DeCoMpOsEd said...

i would of been a grammer school drop out

Leslie Noelani Laurio said...

Okay, so I looked it up and the test is real all right, but maybe not for eighth graders. They think it was for teacher graduates.

I did find some real sample questions from 7th/8th grade exams in England at about the same time. These are actual questions that Charlotte Mason posed to her own students. I hope these weren't all on one exam! I don't think I could answer many of these, either.

Form III (grade 7/8)
Write a poem in blank verse about one of the following: (a), Scylla and Charybdis; (b), The White Lady of Avenel; (c), The Prince of Wales' trip to India.
Read and narrate (in French) "Nouveaux Contes Francais" by Marc Ceppi
Make a rough sketch of part of a ditch or hedge or seashore and include the names of the plants you would find there.
Write about the special study you did this term and include drawings.
What are calyx, corolla, stamen, pistil? In what different ways are flowers fertilized?
How would you find the North Star? Name six other stars and tell which constellations they're part of.
What's the difference between Early, Decorated and Perpendicular Gothic? Use drawings to explain.

Form IV (grade 8/9)
Write a resume of Le Misanthrope or L'Avare' and 'translate 'Leisure,' on page 50 of 'Modern Verse,' into French.'
Write twelve lines about Sir Henry Lee, or Cordelia, or Pericles, or Livingstone.
Discuss Lord Derby's Scheme. How is it working?
Write thirty lines of blank verse about (a), 'A Spring Morning' (following 'A Winter Morning Walk'), or, (b), Pegasus, or, (c), Allenby.
1. Write a little about Asia, including a roughly sketched map.
2. Compare the Middle East's geography with the moors of Yorkshire. Describe the valleys of Jordan.
3. What does Isabella Bird say in Eothen about the Church of the Holy Sepulcher?
1. What do you know about
a. manatees
b. whale-bone whales (include a sketch of its skeleton)
1. Describe
a. quartz rock crystals
b. felspar
c. mica
d. horneblend
In what rock do these occur?
2. What do you know about insectivorous plants? Name some you know about.
3. What do you notice about a walk in the summer?
General Science
1. What do these mean?
a. electrical attraction
b. electrical repulsion
c. conductors
d. insulators
2. How might you prove that we never see matter itself? How does sight give us knowledge?
Physiology (anatomy)
1. Describe the human ear.

ithchick said...

Ouch! I'm graduated. I don't want to think anymore.

ithchick said...

That was just a joke. Please don't give me a talking to. I promise I will reform.