Saturday, December 4, 2010

Are You Smarter than an Eighth Grader (from 1895)?

Serendipity is a fine thing. Having just posted about graduate school applications and college admissions, I stumble across a document on adolescent learning standards from 1895 (h.t.: McK66).  The person who posted it, a professor of education, explains:
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, KS. USA.
It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley
Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the
Salina Journal.
It covers five areas: grammar, arithmetic, U.S. history, orthography, and geography.  I'll reproduce just history here:
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 theRebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates:
You can examine the rest for yourselves, and it's worthwhile, though possibly intimidating.  Can you "name and describe" Hecla, Juan Fernandez, and Aspiwall, or answer the question, "Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?" I'd like to give this one (from orthography) to my students (or, for that matter, a good many journalists, newspaper editors, and bloggers)
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
Hell, I'd be happy if they knew the difference between "its" and "it's."

And under geography, we find:
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
We already know that the entire incoming Republican Congressional cohort would flunk that one.

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