No. 466 - COULD YOU HAVE PASSED THE 8TH GRADE...IN 1895?

No. 466

Jim DavidsonÉNEWSPAPER COLUMN

COULD YOU HAVE PASSED THE 8TH GRADEÉIN 1895?

A few weeks ago my friend Elizabeth Houser, who works for the Arkansas Literacy Councils Inc., sent me something that has caused me to question my level of education. I have 50 hours of college work, and the rest for the most part, is self-taught. What she sent me was a test for the 8th grade, back in 1895, that was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, Kansas.

Elizabeth got this reprinted document from Dr. Mike McFarland, who owns a number of Eye Centers in our state. He has the reputation of being one of the best eye surgeons in the country. With that said, I'm grateful that Mike was willing to share.

To be honest, I was truly grateful for this article because my father had a 5th-grade education and my mother went to the 8th grade. By these standards, you would logically think that people today with this level of education don't know much or have anything on the ball. Nothing could be further from the truth, as you will see when I give this test and invite you to take it along with me. This test is quite lengthy and I may not have the space to give all of it here, but here is what it covers, along with the allotted time to complete each part. Grammar- one hour, Arithmetic- one hour and 25 minutes, U.S. History-45 minutes, Orthography Ð one hour, Geography- one hour. Please keep in mind that the students of this era had a chance to study and learn these subjects, just likestudents do in our schools today.

Here are some of the questions, and please answer those you can.

GRAMMAR: 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. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

ARITHMETIC: 1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic. 2. A wagon box is 2 feet deep, 10 feet long, and 3 feet 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 per bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs for tare? 4. District # 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?

U.S. HISTORY: 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?

ORTHOGRAPHY: 1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication. 2. What are the elementary sounds? How classified? 3. What are the following and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, and 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, and sup.

GEOGRAPHY: 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.

That's all the space I have but this test does give me pause to reflect on what kind of education many of our forefathers had. When someone tells me they only have an 8th-grade education, in the future I am going to say, "Tell me more." As you may know, I'm really involved in improving literacy in America, which is really the key to getting a good education. A student must be able to read, to succeed. Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)

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