In 1912, eighth grade students were quizzed HARD on reading proficiency, arithmetic, grammar, geography, physiology, civil government and history.
In 2013 ... well, it's not quite the same.
An eighth grade "Common Exam" from 1912 was just donated to the Bullitt County (Ky.) History Museum, and is available in full on their website.
The site explains, "It should not be used to compare student knowledge then and now." A good thing, too, for the self-esteem of those in the "now."
The site says students assembled to take this test once or twice a year and it was a very serious deal, with high school scholarships at stake.
Would you earn one? Check out a sampling of questions from some of the categories below and see what a 1921 eighth grade exam consisted of:
- Write in words the following: .5764; .000003; .123416; 653.0965; 43.37.
- Find cost at 12 ½ cents per sq. yd. of kalsomining the walls of a room 20 ft. long, 16 ft. wide and 9 ft. high, deducting 1 door 8 ft. by 4 ft. 6 in. and 2 windows 5 ft. by 3 ft. 6 in. each.
- How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 ft. high, to the ground 30 ft. from the base of the building?
- How many parts of speech are there? Define each.
- What properties have verbs?
- Diagram: The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.
- Define longitude and latitude.
- Name and give the capital of States touching the Ohio River.
- Name in the order of their size the three largest States in the United States.
- Who first discovered the following places: Florida, Pacific Ocean, Mississippi River, St. Lawrence River?
- Name the last battle of the Civil War; War of 1812; French and Indian War and the commanders in each battle.
- Who invented the following: Magnetic, Telegraph, Cotton Gin, Sewing Machine, Telephone, Phonograph.
- How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body? Where is it located? What does it secrete.
- Define Cerebrum; Cerebellum.
- What are the functions (or uses) of the spinal column?
- Name five county officers, and the principal duties of each.
- Name three rights given to Congress by the Constitution and two rights denied to Congress.
- Describe the manner in which the president and vice-president of the United States are elected.
You can see the answers at Bullitt County's website, but the answer to the question of whether 1912 tests were harder than today's doesn't need looking up.