Monday, November 07, 2011

1895 Eighth-Grade Final Exam From Salina, Kansas

Examination Graduation Questions of Saline County, Kansas. April 13, 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 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.

ARITHMETIC (Time, one hour)
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 3942 pounds, 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 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at 20 cents per sq. foot?
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 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, 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, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Ball, mercy, sir, 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 Fermandez, 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.

PHYSIOLOGY (Time, 45 minutes)
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.

Here are some answers. I don't see the Physiology section listed. Just as well. Besides "eat," number 5 is still being debated, diet-wise.

An aside ... This site lists "Rules For Teachers" in 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 day's 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.



Hurikane El Swiss The Money $lave Diaz said...

WOW is right!
I love this post, can I reblog it?


Bix said...


It sure is humbling.

Laurie Endicott Thomas said...

I love the emphasis on grammar! I think that the abandonment of formal instruction in grammar in public schools was a terrible mistake.

Bix said...

They had to write an essay. This final must have terrified them.

It said they could take it in 7th grade and if they passed that was it. If not, they could try in 8th grade.

Bix said...

You know, they really took education seriously. I mean, teachers couldn't marry? And 10-hour days?

Bix said...

Where is bile secreted, and what is its use?

caulfieldkid said...

How about that. I never knew that getting a shave in a barber shop was frowned upon. Good thing I've never done that.

Also, it looks like only women teachers couldn't marry (see the first part of rule 4). I assume that's because, after marriage, they were expected to take on their wifely duties. . . .


Bix said...

Laughing... I guess barbers were viewed as too extravagant or ostentatious?

Female teachers in the 19th century remind me of nuns. The nuns.

Bix said...

I meant going to a barber ... not that the barber himself was a flamboyant man.

Dr. Mel said...

OMG--I know grad students who couldn't pass this test. LOVE the rules for teachers! I won't forget that scuttle of coal for class next week.

Bix said...

I was marveling about that physiology section, e.g. Where is bile secreted, what is its use? Some college students in nutrition have difficulty with that.

Maybe it's that there's so much more to know these days, some bits don't stick.

Dr. Mel said...

I think students in general have changed, as has the educational system. As Laurie points out, grammar is no longer taught. The results of that are appalling in terms of students' ability to write. As well, students have miniscule attention spans (probably thanks to computer gaming, texting, and other "fast" technologies). It also seems many of them have no discipline re applying themselves to their work--perhaps a result of an undisciplined upbringing? And they expect teachers to entertain them (literally, that phrase shows up on my evals--"she doesn't do enough to entertain us." I don't think that's my job--I think it's their job to come up to the level of my teaching [even though, for them, my teaching is already pathetically dumbed down]).

Bix said...

I had no idea grammar isn't taught anymore. What do they teach instead?

caulfieldkid said...

I agree that there is a lack of focus on the fundamentals (grammar, reading etc.), and that's not a good thing. Looking at something like this is fun, but we just live in a different time. I'm not so sure we need to memorize the capital of Romania when that information is so easily accessible (Google just told me it's Bucharest).

Also, I doubt that students of the distant past could tell you that bile is comprised of "water (85%), bile salts (10%), mucus and pigments (3%), fats (1%), inorganic salts (0.7%) and cholesterol (0.3%)." Now that I'm reading about it, bile is a pretty interesting subject. I wouldn't call it entertaining, necessarily, but it is engaging. As long as your material requires the students to think, I agree with you, Dr. Mel. You shouldn't have to entertain. If a student is not at all interested in the subject matter, he needs to be doing something else. Learn a trade. There's nothing wrong with working with your hands. However, I don't think the short attention spans have anything to do with technology. You may be surprised at how long some young people will sit at a computer trying to figure out a problem. It's just that they are really interested in that particular problem.

I think the biggest difference, in terms of students, is their discipline or lack thereof. Much more was demanded of them 100 years ago. A lot more responsibility was given to them at a younger age (I don't think there were "teenagers" in 1895. I can look it up, though, if you're interested). But I think our society, in general, has become less disciplined. I would argue that the causes are numerous and each generation shares some responsibility for the degradation.

If you gave students of today this same curriculum and demanded results, I think they would fair just as well if not better. With additional resources so abundant, it might make the learning process easier. We've simply shifted our focus. Part of that is simply being a victim of our own success. We don't need our children to start making substantial contributions to our livelihood at the age of 13 any more. There are children, living under their parents, that remain "students" well into their 30's.

When you get right down to it, students are lazy because they can be. That didn't used to be the case. Does that mean students and education were better back then? I don't think so. It just means things are different.


P.S. Please don't judge my comment based on grammar or writing ability. I've never been all that interested in either one. :)

Bix said...

Lots of good stuff there, shaun. I agree with you on this: "If you gave students of today this same curriculum and demanded results, I think they would fair just as well if not better."

I have to say, I'm humbled. I didn't know that grammar wasn't being taught. This will teach me to be more tolerant.

caulfieldkid said...


I don't know about the schools in the rest of the country, but grammar is still taught here. There just isn't much of an emphasis on knowing grammar. For instance, I'm not sure if they diagram sentences any more (my children aren't that age yet. I'll let you know when we get there). They certainly don't do as much writing as this test suggests they did back then.

I think it's akin to the issue where you have high school graduates that can't read. Theoretically, that isn't possible, but it happens.


Bix said...

I asked someone in my family who teaches grammar school (what irony) and he said that, yes indeed, there is not the focus on grammar that there used to be.

Truth be told, I forget a lot of what I was taught. There seems to be no great impetus to keep it up.