An Eighth Grade Test From 1912


Lessons from history… A copy of the Eighth Grade Exam for Bullitt County Schools in 1912 was donated to the Bullit County Museum in Kentucky. The questions within the exam of 100 years ago (for 8th-graders) illustrate the dumbing down (by comparison) of today’s American education system.

I read this quote recently, and agree with it:
“Now with the ‘common core’ epidemic we can see our youth transformed by a cookie cut education system and a near total loss of critical and independent thinking.”

For your interest, here’s the test:

(Then provide your opinion about how and why we’ve seemingly lost our quality of education (generically) and/or what has changed in the system or our young people or their ‘training’)

Is this part of the reason for systemic collapse that so many are preparing for?



(Given by the teacher).



1. Write in words the following:
.5764; .000003; .123416; 653.0965; 43.37.

2. Solve: 35.7 plus 4, 5.8 plus 5.14 – 59.112.

3. Find cost at 12½ 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. (By the way, “kalsomining” is whitewash).

4. A man bought a farm for $2400 and sold it for $2700. What percent did he gain?

5. A man sold a watch for $180 and lost 16⅔%. What was the cost of the watch?

6. Find the amount of $50.30 for 3 yrs., 3 mo. and 3 days, at 8 percent.

7. A school enrolled 120 pupils and the number of boys was two thirds of the number of girls. How many of each sex were enrolled?

8. How long 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?

9. How many steps 2 ft. 4 in. each will a man take in walking 2¼ miles?

10. At $1.62½ a cord, what will be the cost of a pile of wood 24 ft. long, 4 ft. wide and 6 ft. 3 in. high? (Interesting to note that a cord of wood was only $1.62 during 1912!)



1. How many parts of speech are there? Define each.

2. Define proper noun; common noun. Name the properties of a noun.

3. What is a Personal Pronoun? Decline I.

4. What properties have verbs?

5. “William struck James.” Change the Voice of the verb.

6. Adjectives have how many Degrees of Comparison? Compare good; wise, beautiful.

7. Diagram: The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.

8. Parse all the words in the following sentences:
“John ran over the bridge.”
“Helen’s parents love her.”



1. Define longitude and latitude.

2. Name and give the boundaries of the five zones.

3. Tell what you know of the Gulf Stream.

4. Locate Erie Canal; what waters does it connect, and why is it important?

5. Locate the following countries which border each other: Turkey [Ottoman Empire], Greece, Servia [Serbia today], Montenegro, Roumania [early spelling of Romania].

6. Name and give the capitals of States touching the Ohio River.

7. Locate these cities: Mobile, Quebec, Buenos Aires, Liverpool, Honolulu.

8. Name in order of their size three largest States in the United States.

9. Locate the following mountains: Blue Ridge, Himalaya, Andes, Alps, Wasatch.

10. Through what waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?



1. How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body? Where is it located? What does it secrete?

2. Name the organs of circulation.

3. Describe the heart.

4. Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?

5. Where is the chief nervous center of the body?

6. Define Cerebrum; Cerebellum.

7. What are the functions (or uses) of the spinal column?

8. Why should we study Physiology?

9. Give at least five rules to be observed in maintaining good health.



1. Define the following forms of government: Democracy, Limit Monarchy, Absolute Monarchy, Republic. Give examples of each.

2. To what four governments are students in school subjected?

3. Name five county officers, and the principal duties of each.

4. Name and define the three branches of the government of the United States.

5. Give three duties of the President. What is meant by the veto power?

6. Name three rights given Congress by the Constitution and two rights denied Congress.

7. In the election of a president and vice-president, how many electoral votes is each State allowed?

8. Give the eligibility of president, vice-president and Governor of Kentucky.

9. What is a copyright? Patent right?

10. Describe the manner in which the president and vice-president of the United States are elected.



1. Who first discovered the following places: Florida, Pacific Ocean, Mississippi River, St. Lawrence River?

2. Sketch briefly Sir Walter Raleigh, Peter Stuyvesant.

3. By whom were the following settled: Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida?

4. During what wars were the following battles fought: Brandywine, Great Meadows, Lundy’s Lane, Antietam, Buena Vista?

5. Describe the battle of Quebec.

6. Give the cause of the War of 1812, and name an important battle fought during that war.

7. Name 2 presidents who have died in office; three who were assassinated.

8. Name the last battle of the Civil War; War of 1812; French and Indian War, and the commanders in each battle.

9. What president was impeached, and on what charge?

10. Who invented the following: magneto, telegraph, cotton gin, sewing machine, telephone, phonograph?

So, what do you think? How does this compare with today’s 8-th graders in general?

While times have changed… does this 100 year old test illustrate a fundamental change?


  1. I think if this test were given to high school seniors today, I bet 90% of them fail. This is probably closer to college level by todays standards.

    I understand why parents try to get their children into private schools today. As a former Catholic School attendant until 8th grade, I saw the differences when I was sent to a public high school. The math that I had been taught in 4th grade, was identical to the math that they taught in 9th grade public schools, which I aced because I already knew it.

    1. P.G. I would bet there would be a fairly large percentage of high school students who couldn’t even read and comprehend the questions let alone work out some answers.

      There are no L.O.L’s or C.U.’s or apps there.

      1. Love the comment no LOLs or CUs or apps. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I am a retired teacher and now a school bus driver, and these kids can’t do anything without their electronics in hand. They don’t even watch where they are walking due to eyes glued to phones and earphones in.

        1. Spot on !
          I was educated overseas, (“Japan”). When I returned to the mainland, was so far ahead in Math, and even English.,I was having a very easy time of it.

    2. I live in Canada ( I’m grade 8) I knew the history one (war of 1812) and the Math I knew all of them but two. Also it is quite insulting that some guy put that comment about there being no Lol’s in the test. I also got the physiology one to. The U.S stuff I don’t know but yah. Also whoever said that people don’t know this stuff is correct. 1/2 of the people in my school spend ALL DAY on snap chat. And one of them can’t read. LOL.

      1. In the day 8th grade was it for most. By stretching out the process, being very superficial on “civics” and moving away from fact based and value based education by teachers that are now “post-Google” parents need to take responsibility for their children’s world view and tools

      2. Considering that you used neither proper punctuation nor the proper spelling of “too”, I seriously doubt your claims.

    3. More than 90% would fail. I would say that over 95% would fail and perhaps a % or more above that number.

      1. I have to HOPE you would be wrong. Today’s youth are not programmed from BIRTH
        To be able to think for themselves, nor question statements made by others. They WILL NOT do any research that cannot be EASILY found on “Google’, or “browser search”.

    4. I beg your pardon but as a college professor, I would be willing to bet that the same failure percentage would apply to today’s college students as well.

    5. I taught at the college level for 15 years and I found the test pretty tough. I doubt that most current college students could pass it and some faculty would fail, as well. I would gave a hard time getting a “C” on this exam!

  2. Our education system in the US is more of a business than it is about teaching. And, that especially goes for colleges. Sure, there’s some good educators across the various K-12 systems. But, budgets, fiscal responsibility, and political correctness have taken over.

    Good educators are being run out of schools for younger, more appealing teachers. It’s no wonder we have so many more sex scandals with young teachers today. Heard about a new one just other day two districts away from us. News media sure love it, though…

    We have two children in school right now and that basically means my wife and I are re-learning everything with our kids. When we moved a few years back, we specifically chose a district that was top 10 in our state, yet rural enough that would allow us to live the lifestyle away from the city we desired.

    All that aside, I’m all for a quality education , but my wife and I are teaching our children outside school learning to be lifelong readers and have a sense of curiosity that instills a life full of learning.

    Accountability as a parent is really what it comes down to, no matter what kind of school a child is attending or learning out of…

    1. Geeze, what can I say.

      Amen !

      May God bless your family, and friends.

      1. I taught for 35 years in many states. Also many levels and geographic diversity. We used books and ventured further in the majors Many stretched to meet challenges. When I retired in 2015 new math was taught. By computer programs and State Tests were taught. Grades spiraled down. Learning was
        How to look it up on a computer and History was what they fed into the system. All were taught the same lessons the same way the same day District lesson plans.

        1. I agree that today’s students would have a great deal of difficulty with this test, for two reasons. First, the test is not multiple choice, so the student has to actually come up with a well-thought out answer. Second, this test does not reflect much of the material in the current textbooks, most of which are published by one very liberal company.

      2. I taught for 35 years in many states. Also many levels and geographic diversity. We used books and ventured further in the majors Many stretched to meet challenges. When I retired in 2015 new math was taught. By computer programs and State Tests were taught. Grades spiraled down. Learning was
        How to look it up on a computer and History was what they fed into the system. All were taught the same lessons the same way the same day District lesson plans.

    2. I only disagree with you on one point and have one to add. We give tax money for education then any other country problem is how and where they spend it. The teachers union has done more to hurt education then help it. Poor teachers are almost never fired and now they are even putting out ridiculous demands before they want to go back to school

      1. Just like the Los Angeles School Union !! Bunch of Marxist, LAZY, and ungrateful jackasses.

    3. Percevel, I totally agree with your comments back in 2015. When my son was in grade school (now 34) I volunteered at the Principals request to be part of a team of teachers/parents to decide how lottery money was to be spent. Bottom line: Attend book sales to buy more books – each and every year. Also, to attend reading classes to teach his teachers how to teach young ones how to read. I was appalled at the new books each year. Even more appalling were the teachings out of class: 1/Teacher pd for time there (while gone), substitute (no one listens to), travel/housing/food/training cost. 2/Result: I discovered in his 5th yr that he was 2 YRS BEHIND IN HIS READING. My question to this group of teachers and principal and parents: Why is my son 2 yrs behind if you go to classes yearly or every other year? Silence. I eventually took him out of public and put a loan on my mortgage to get him educated in a school whom taught him in the way that was right for him. He was a round child and taught him in a round way instead of chiseling him to fit a square hole. Public school wanted to put a dunce hat on him and he was and is waay too smart for that. His learning skills are different as God made him. I raised him in the church and he is working for God, albeit imperfect as we are. I have more but that’s enough. I did find one thing out but most of us have learned that the hard way. Schools are incredibly political. Thank you for your time.

  3. I have tried teaching at public schools for free and I was literally treated as an outcast, even though I am an experienced engineer.

    I found most seniors do know their multiplication tables, most can not solve word problems, most know no chemistry, most know little biology and forget knowing anything about U.S. history/geography.

    Also, I know many high school teachers and they struggle with the above subjects as well, yes teachers I say.

    Once I sat in an interview with a parent of a senior who ask the principal why her son could not pass the Air Force entrance exam for enlisted airmen.

    I ask the parent why she was just now asking questions about the skill level of her son in the 12th grade.

    Parents are not demanding performance of the their children in school; parents are not involved. Most teachers I have talked to are not academically trained in their respective fields of teaching.

    I have noticed that everything seems to revolve around high school football (not academics), at least here in Texas.

    1. no joke – I agree with all you have to say,, you are a threat. Having said that, your comment on sports need to be discussed.

      Your right in that, sports (where championships are the focus)tend to allow our respected educators to pull strings to allow sub-par students to stay on the field.

      Never the less, sports if used as a tool is an opportunity to demand excellence in academics.

      My children are,,, were a perfect example. Both graduated in the top 10 in a class of well over 400 students, and were the only athletes which sniffed the top 100.

      I know, I know parenting. But if the system used sports like I did, how many students lost,,,,, could be saved?

      1. Dear Sober,
        You did not pass grammar class, did you? Nor college freshman English. And, I am curious to know, did your children go to school hungry? Did they sleep on a floor? Did they get their clothing at a second-hand store? The real problem, which I did not see commented upon, is POVERTY. In food, shelter, medical care….unless those basic needs are met for EVERY child, education has little or no meaning.

        1. Poverty is a state of need with the belief there’s no way to escape. Being poor is a state of need where you know it’s temporary. I spent the first 33 years of my life poor, but I never thought it was forever. Been broke a couple times since as well. We need to give folks hope it’ll be better. That’s why I encourage people to consider moving to where there’s opportunities.

    2. no joke: I can see they view you as a threat – you teach voluntarily – the Unions see that as threat their control of teachers and their union dues. The parent who questioned their child not being able to pass the entrance exam – probably first time that parent really showed a hoot about the kid… says nothing, child says nothing – parents are totally accepting that position that everything is alright. As for the sports aspect, if your school has a strong sports program – the school makes money in gate revenue, and everything else……not to mention college scouts who come by – probably with some contribution when they are looking hard at a youngster with talent. I do believe oftentimes that some jock is carried thru school, and then college, because of his/her ability to play whatever. As for the test, wow! There are a ton of teachers who truly care, but the system and the principle follow liberal guidelines.

    3. What I have seen in Teachers Colleges, as far back as age 1960’s, is that they teach how to teach but not what to teach. There seems to be little or no understanding of the subject they are supposedly teaching. Many teachers seem to stay just one lesson ahead of the class. This particularly bothers me about poor teachers of math and history (where history is even taught). And they are required to teach exactly the same crap with no deviation that might broaden a student. These are not only my observations, they echo the comments from one of my granddaughters (a recent Cypress Fairbanks ISD high school grad).

  4. Ken,

    There’s no doubt in my mind about the deliberate dumbing down of America. I watched an interview with Chalrotte Iserbyt. She uncovered a plan to dumb down education in America when she was serving in the U.S. Department of Education under the Reagan administration. She was board with nothing to do in this position and had lots of time to simply go through the files and read what was already in the files in the U.S. Department of Education. This is when she discovered the plan.

    There are many interviews with her on youtube. Here is one:

    She went on to write a well researched book called “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”. You can download a free PDF copy from her web site at It is over 700 pages. She has really done her homework to back up her claims with facts and research.

    According to Ms. Iserbyt, the conspiracy to dumb down the population has been in play since the 1930’s at least. The strategy is to cause the population to accept a global socialistic government.

    Kids today are not being taught to think for themselves. They are being taught what to think. Therein lies the crux of many of our current problems in America.

    This problem will take a long time to fix. The first step is to recognize the problem.

    1. Phil I had a college professor tell our class the very same thing dumb down the students and they will follow like sheep. We are really seeing that today they passionately believe all the liberal garage being fed to them today and refuse to listen to any other view points

    1. google

      “Eighth Grade Test From 1912”

      to all who did it, report back and let us know how you did.

    2. I don’t “need” the answers I failed the math completely…

  5. Don’t focus on a particular test. In general our education system has been dumbed down and there are a lot of things we could do to make it better. But the teachers do in fact teach what will be tested and they do it now and did it in 1912. We need more basic reading writing and rithmatic and we need to bring facts and honesty back to the subjects of history and social studies.

    A simple solution: Make each school independent from the unions and the state. Put the principal in charge including hiring and firing. Allow the citizens in that schools district to hold the principal responsible for results. Support the principal and their decisions including the dicision to expel disruptive students.

    1. Reading, writing, and arithmetic will take care of itself.


      We teach history as it was,,, not how the leftists want to re-write it.

      Case in point: The current school system teaches that the Pilgrims came to America and the Indians saved their lives (of course we killed them for their efforts and danced on their graves).

      Truth is the Pilgrims actually attempted Socialism when they first arrived. Equal portions of land were provided all families. The bounty of those properties were to be placed in a common store which would be equally distributed amongst the people.

      Problem was, some families busted their butts providing the store,,,, and others did little and demanded their share.

      It was eventually decided that people could keep what they produced and barter for things they needed.

      Free Market society was born, and we eventually became the United States of America.

    2. gonewiththewind. Counties and states should be responsible for their schools not the federal government until 1979 that was the case and schools were a lot better. Unfortunately we have no control over the unions and they have destroyed more then helped.


    Smart kiddos back then!!

  7. Thanks Ken (hope I spelled that right), you made me feel real dumb today. I think that I might be 15% or so on this test. Anyone want to post their sketch of Sir Walter Raleigh and Peter Stuyvesant?

  8. I found most high schools to be glorified daycares. I had to go too school often just to ask the teachers why they where not challenging the children under my care, i did not want them to accept average, teachers would get upset I wanted them to work a little harder. By the way I barely made it through high school because no one pushed me and when I went to comunity college the remdial class’ where hard. One economics proffesor saw my desire to learn and told me as long as I was asking questions, listening and surrounding myself with smart people I would be ok. I dropped out of college to care for my sick grandparents and I can not answer any of those test questians but my wife and several friends can answer most of them. I say this to point out that a good education includes who you associate with.

  9. As an elementary educator, I’d like to express my opinion. This is a bit long, but so much shorter than what I’d like to write. Why can so few of our eighth graders pass this test? Here are a few reasons:

    What students are expected to know has changed greatly over the years. While an education used to be centered on knowing facts, it is now focused more on knowing how to find the facts. The amount of knowledge in the world is growing exponentially, and schools must spend time teaching students how to determine the best way to find their answers.

    That being said, certain things must simply be taught, and too often they aren’t. Grammar and handwriting are often skipped. I was told not to teach social studies or science at my failing school, because it takes away from reading writing, and arithmetic, in which we need much improvement. Because we all know that it is best to understand WHY something works than just be taught that it works, it is now taken to the extreme. I am being told that I shouldn’t have my second-graders use flash cards and memorize their addition and subtraction facts; they should instead “know” each fact by being exposed to how those numbers (in dots, beads, or other manipulatives) look together. Some of the lessons in the books (that I am told I MUST follow), are so convoluted that they confuse adults, much less children.

    I used to be able to teach my own way twenty years ago, as long as I taught all of the objectives and got good results. Nowadays, I’m told not to deviate from the set curriculum, even if the students don’t learn as much. I’m even being told not to read aloud to my students, because it takes away from their reading time. (Don’t even get me started on this, as I could go on and on about the benefits of reading aloud to the class.) Do I still spend some time talking about history, geography, and such? Yes, but whenever my principal walks in, I get taken to task for “wasting” my teaching time.

    While a certain amount of the blame can be placed on the curriculum and ways we are being forced to teach, a lot of the problem is disruptive students. A teacher’s basic classroom discipline may be fine, but when she has to spend much of her time dealing with a few disruptive students, it is no wonder that not as much is taught to the rest of the class. I don’t believe that students who misbehaved in 1912 were kept in the classroom–if they even attended school in the first place!

    Even students who aren’t disruptive aren’t necessarily getting the help they need at home. The schools are expected to teach the children everything they need to know–scary thought, both as a teacher and a parent! Most of my students’ parents don’t read to them, don’t check over their homework, and don’t even make sure that they have enough sleep and something to eat before they come to school. I have to teach not just the curriculum, but how to resolve conflicts, how to act in a respectful manner towards peers and adults, how to wash hands, tie shoes, eat with their mouths closed, and refrain from picking noses. There simply aren’t enough hours in a school day. No, I’m not interested in making the day longer, but it would be nice if all parents stepped up to do their part. Many parents don’t even know basic facts, which doesn’t help. I mentioned to one of my parents last fall that her son really needed to work on his addition facts, as he still counted on his fingers. She replied that it didn’t surprise her, since she still counts on hers!

    Part of this, of course, is the breakdown of the family. When there is only one parent in the home or when both parents work, it is difficult to find the energy to work with their children the way they should.

    Very few teachers that I know are bad teachers. At least at the elementary level, most of us spend much money on supplies and many hours every week on our jobs. I know that I almost always worked sixty-hour weeks this past year, and I have spent a lot of time this summer in teacher inservice and working in my classroom. (All this for $34,400!) We are in this profession because we love kids and helping them learn. Unfortunately, the poor pay, long hours, little respect, and insane expectations in the way of documentation are pushing even the most dedicated of us into leaving for other careers.

    1. I do not question your passion to teach and the problems you face doing your job.

      However, the children you are having problems (no parental support) come from those you taught and graduated previously.

      Look at the bright side,,,,,, we out here working and paying excessive taxes to support your efforts put up with the same BS you do.

      My house is paid off and I’ll never own it.

      I stand in descent to my superiors on a regular basis. They don’t fire me because I do my job.

      When was the last time you stood up against those sitting in a comfortable office (administrators) that put you in this position.

      Your industry is corrupt and you people sit in silence.

      What’s not to like about a 9 month work year, all time off students get and a never ending cacophony of more money, more money.

      Maybe not your fault. I know there are some educators out there that really care.

      1. “What’s not to like about a 9 month work year, all time off students get and a never ending cacophony of more money, more money.”

        This irritates me to no end. I taught vocational courses at a local high school and am confused by what you mean by a 9 month work year. My summers “off” were spent repairing what broke, preventative maintenance on what didn’t break, gathering/purchasing/prepping the raw materials for the next year’s classes. 95 degree summer days and I’m in the shop melting down aluminum engine blocks for my sand casting units. I also was never alone as other teachers were in the building as well. More money????? I spent a lot of time writing grant applications and visiting local businesses to maintain relationships that resulted in free/reduced cost materials and software upgrades for the drafting classes. Days students got off during the year were spent grading projects or teacher workshops; but I’m supposed to feel bad because I only work 9 months and just have bags of money sitting around….

        1. Darkdruid…..good for you! Yep, we should all speak up….how about this? If a teacher speaks up to his/her principal…no job next year and you go on a “troublemakers’ list. What? Parents confront their bosses and win and keep their jobs? Well, hardly. It’s like this….unless YOU have been a teacher for a minimum of two years, DO NOT criticize a teacher. Walk a mile her moccasins and we will see if you have any blisters to complain about! I spent so much money on supplies and books for my students every year that my husband asked me why I was paying the school for my teaching job! We used to at least be able to deduct it on our taxes which helped a little bit…but with EVERY Federal Tax Reform, we lost more and more deductions and suddenly the deductions for every tax and cost that comes out of your teaching paycheck is half of what your ascribed “salary” is. In Big Business, employers pay for further education so that you can keep up with the latest trends in your career. School districts provided the REQUIRED Continuation Classes until about 1990, and then…they stopped. OH YES, we were still required to take all those classes, but now it was on our dime and our time. Weekends, after school, summers…..we were in classes [mostly to learn how to deal with the ever-increasing numbers of rude, defiant, and dangerous students we were getting every year. And there was NO battle pay! It got to a place where the few years before I retired, after a heart attack brought on by work stress and my assigned violent Autistic high school students who attacked me, stabbed me and ran amok in the school building, I just prayed I would still be alive to retire. “Restraint” of a violent student was squashed by law. The kids knew we could not enforce the rules because if their parents were even called, the parents cussed the teachers out for treating “Johnny” badly. I was hit on the head from behind, had my thumb broken by a very large violent autistic student and stabbed by another violent autistic when I approached his desk. If I had it all to do over, I would have been Police, where I could at least wear protective gear.

    2. I was a teacher as well. Schools begged me to come and substitute for them. Rules for teachers in the classroom have become an absolute nightmare to follow. Teachers get blamed for everything when administrators/school board members/state education departments come up with the most insane policies.

      Think what schools are pumping out now is bad? Just wait until common core has been instituted for a couple of years. The functionally illiterate applicant will be the better qualified candidate for the job. And yes…..some will become your children’s and grandchildren’s teachers. :)

  10. This is an excellent thought provoking article which frustrated me to no end.

    I know for example that we spend (per capita) more than the rest of the developed world and fall well down on the list (lets say ‘bang for our buck).

    I also know that there was a push decades ago (maybe the Wilson presidency) that it was decided that education should be designed to produce (brain dead)factory workers.

    Since the 60’s generation took over ‘Common Core’ is at the forefront which is nothing more than a total indoctrination process.

    The increased $ demanded by the left has nothing to do with our children. It is a scheme to launder money through the teachers unions back to the leftists in union dues.

    This whole thing is an intrigue scheme to transcend our American exceptionalism’ to the ashes. Then the leftists can become rich,,,, all for the good of the people ‘don’t you know’.

    For the uniformed, US exceptionalism is not a statement of arrogance (as many believe). It’s a statement regarding America, and it’s standing in the world where people are free to pursue happiness without government overseers and red tape. (WE are the exception to how people live throughout the world)

    That’s why we have prospered for 200+ years, and is what’s at stake.

    Home Ed, Pray.

    1. I am one of those parents that took the time to fully engage in our children’s education. I know that I am one of few; but I also know from first hand experience that good teachers are just as rare.

      I was constantly villified for my efforts, and for my engagement. Worse than that, my children were villified because of my engagement.

      The system is severely corrupt, the children are pawns and we the people are all to blame for letting it happen. Our forefathers gave us the tools to prevent this, and we as a society have been too lazy and spoiled to care.

  11. 7th grade, best 4 years of my life.

    ok ok 2 years, the point is, it takes more that good teachers, good schools, good parents, money, it takes a child that wants to learn, that is open to seeing the world without it being in a game or on a computer screen, that is motivated to achieve. The world has changed, it’s not 1912. We as a people, the entire race, has changed. We are soft and lazy, for what we call technology, advancement. Our brains have turned to mush and our bodies have become fat and unhealthy. Look around see what the world has become, sad indeed. There is a change coming, prepare.

    1. NRP – The world is what it is,,, granted. But we’ve been through similar psychological changes in the past.

      A sensible self-determination mindset has, can and will change our society if allowed or more importantly ministered on a regular basis.

      I have also commented to friends that it is over, and also consistently preached the importance of Prep.

      You are right, children that have had the best of an upbringing, largely due to family do go bad. But that is the exception.

      I say challenge your family, children, and friends and good things will happen.

      One soul at a time.

  12. I do believe the government has required today and as recent as the 30’s (FDR) for kids to be socialists, and dependent on government and new technologies.

    Heck, I remember when adults said to their children, “we work hard so you won’t have to when you grow up”. So now their kids are on food stamps, welfare, and social programs, depend on social media and MSM and they don’t have to work as hard as their parents did and don’t have to be as smart, to boot!

  13. sarcasm alert> I just don’t see how a test like would have any beneficial affect on a students’ self-esteem <exit sarcasm

    1. -because everybody must be a winner, even if 1+2=4 (close enough). (sarc)

    2. Good point. I keep hearing about ‘low self esteem’ being the problem with troublemakers. My observation is the exact opposite: thugs have an inordinatly HIGH opinion of themselves.

      1. Hugh, truer words were never spoken….read the book, “The Sociopath Next Door”. Explains a lot

  14. What are we going to do when the big “fuse” blows? Can anybody do math with a pencil anymore?

    1. HAHAHA, you brought back a sad but funny fact, When the US was trying to find a “pen” that would write in space, “we” spent millions and millions of OUR tax money trying to develop it (pen). Guess what Russia came up with……. That right, a pencil. Gata just LOVE the USA government ran agencies.

  15. In 1912, how many people remained in school past elementary education? My Grandparents (and most people in 1912) were considered extremely lucky to have even a 4th grade education. All that was needed for “real life” was simple arithmetic and writing a poorly spelled letter. It seems that in 1912, people who were in 8th grade were the affluent and nothing less than passing this test was expected of them. Otherwise you were expected to do hard labor.

  16. The poor grammar, misspellings, and misuse of words in these reply postings provides the best response to the question of whether we have lost the quality of education.

  17. These are all thought provoking responses. I have a 5 year old and a 14 month old and I want them to WANT to learn. When I was a kid I just wanted to play. I suffered through school although I really liked History class. Even though I was not good at the test I enjoyed the class. . When I was in elementary school my parents got us an Encyclopedia set. At the time I didnt like it but it did help with finishing assignments. I want more for my kids (as a majority of parents do) and hopefully I can use the web to do that (a great tool). Any great ideas to help with this? I am thinking of a weekly subject for all of us (age appropriate) to study up on and then teach the family on the subject at the end. Maybe monthly instead. Right now I am trying to keep up on my sons preschool for the summer by doing a letters and numbers book. Although I find myself skirting the task too much. Shame on me.

    Also to add more things that we as a culture have forgot.

    Cursive writing.

    ( I failed at this test miserably)

    1. Dear SamIAm,

      We began homschooling our son when he was 5. There is an overwealming amount of resources for homeschooling. You just have to know where to look. There is a book called “100 Top Pics for Homeschool Curriculum Reviews”. It was put together by a homeschool mom to help people to compare curricula and make the best choice for thier particular needs/desires.

      Also helpful is the community of homeschool families in our area. They are always having get-togethers and special educational opportunities to help suppliment what we are doing at home. They also help answer many of our questions. The homeschool communities in our area are faith-based, i.e. Christian. This is what we want, because we want our children to grow up with Biblical values, and a Biblical worldview, untainted by the world system.

      Our son is now 13. He was able to excell academically this year partly because our family made a choice to live without TV.

      Reading stories as a family has also helped us through the years. Our son has developed a love of reading. If families could simply trade TV for reading books together, it would make a big difference, in my opinion.

    2. Phil’s answer on homeschooling is great. If you want, you can go the homeschool route or simply use some of the homeschool materials to supplement the public school curriculum. Doing the letters and numbers book is a good start. A weekly or monthly topic to study is great, too, although your kids are a little young to find the info on their own. You can look up information together, and then maybe even have a field trip at the end. For example, if you’re studying birds, you could go to a place where you could observe them with binoculars. Binoculars by themselves are usually a huge treat for youngsters, and what better way for them to learn how to use them? Or you can have them figure out a way to teach someone else what they know…maybe perform a made-up song about the topic to each other, or relatives, or next-door neighbors, or ….??? Take a week to study the flag (what the parts mean, how it’s changed over the years, etc.), and then make a cake decorated like a flag for dessert at the end of the week.

      I have always felt that kids learn best when it is for real-world situations. For instance, have your kids write letters to their grandparents or other relatives. My son always had to write a thank-you card for every birthday and Christmas gift before he could use the gift. Sending postcards and letters at other times of the year makes perfect sense, as well. This is great practice for handwriting, punctuation, grammar, and, of course, social skills. Take trips to the zoo or the pet store, reading the information about each animal and noticing the small things about the animals. (What color is the giraffe’s tongue? How does the snake’s coloring help him blend in to the leaves?) Go to the library and check out books to read (for fun and for information), and read to your kids multiple times a day. Read the signs as you go down the street. Have your kids help you cook, measuring ingredients, reading a recipe, etc. Show them how you determine what the best deal is at the grocery store. As you’re restocking your kitchen cabinets from your stocked “store” at home, have them count to see how many more of each item you need. Walk down the street and point out things you notice. (Are the leaves changing? Can you read that house number? What color are those flowers? Why do you think the grass is growing there?) Give them tons of information about everything, and give them lots of time to ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, say so, and then go home and look it up together!

      My son has never really liked school, although he is smart. He always looked forward to “summer school” at home, though. In our summer school, we studied things that he was nowhere close to studying in “real” school, but that he was interested in. I remember that the summer after kindergarten we studied the layers of the earth and land formations–something that the public schools didn’t cover until late elementary. Since it was “school,” he had to do work, such as drawing the layers and the landforms, but the work never took a long time, and, like I said, it was something he was interested in, so he thought it was fun. Now that he is in high school, things are a little different. This summer, he and I took a geology class at a community college together–not one of my top interests, but one of his. It was a wonderful experience for both of us.

      Taking the steps to help your children learn is so important. You say that you don’t always make the time to do it, and I’d like to encourage you to do so. YOU are the number one teacher your kids will ever have. They watch you every day and learn from your example. You can be great at this!

      1. Wendy;

        AMEN to your post !
        I am a big camping, and off road explorer. ( not the buzzing bike, or screaming buggy) So, my sons and I would go to the Eastern Sierra Mtns, and fish, camp, and explore. While there, they would discover the small things that make the trips so exciting. How and when the aspens turned, the fly larve hatches in spring, the different birds and animals we found. One son has become a fine arts illustrator for a magazine, and the other…..he works for NASA, as a Mechanical Maintenance Engineer. both have a great respect for the outdoors, and love to keep learning about geology, biology, water and landform changes. But YES, most of our old places we used to go fish, or camp are now overrun by uncaring people on quads, bikes, motos, and s/s’s.

    3. I remember (when I was a young lad) the encyclopedia set on the bookshelf in the living room. My dad would get one (in the mail?) on a regular schedule until we had them all. I remember enjoying going through them – and the glossy pictures… oh how times have changed.

      1. Ken – We keep a set of encyclopedias on our book shelves. Our local librarian offered them to me since they had an extra set donated. Whenever the kids and I get into a conversation about a topic and don’t know something, or want to dig deeper, we look it up. Great resource, though some things are a bit dated.

      2. Ken;
        We had the “Book Of Knowledge” in our shelves, and many was the time that we as a family, would read from them about where we were going to be posted by the Military. I still have them, but they stopped in 1958 ! So, are now outdated, and some info has drasticly changed. I also have the entire “Jacques Cousteau” encyclopedia, which my Grand Daughter is reading daily. I had a lot of interest in Marine Science, as well did some research on both Echinoderms, and coelenterates.

  18. I’m currently a high school student and if I was given this test I could pass it if I had enough time. Like maybe a class period or so. It’s not difficult. Especially the math? I don’t even need a calculator. Just some paper and a pen.

    You adults like to measure our intelligence by giving us questions like this on the spot and no time to think it over. And then call us stupid for not answering in 10 seconds. We aren’t stupid. We just need time to think just like you do.

  19. They keep needing to recurve the IQ test because kids are scoring higher on a so called general intelligence test over time.

    I think we’re doing ok.

  20. Pretty good test. At my age, I would take a long time to figure every answer out!

  21. As a high school teacher with a Master of Education and with 41 years’ experience I would have to study to pass this test. It appears that our priorities for curriculum have radically changed. I wonder how different would our society be if we had continued with what this test represents instead of shifting to what we currently have.

  22. Love your reply, Wendy! I recently visited my grands in another state. Went for a walk with the 7 and 10 year-olds. They could not name a single tree and few flowers. Frankly, it shocked me. They are little “tech” wizards and well-educated in many areas, but apparently nature is not one of them. I now email pix of all sorts of flora and fauna – sometimes with info and sometimes as a challenge. You grandparents can help – stimulate their curiosity!

  23. Schools were formed because Parents and government realized they were not knowledgeable enough,or capable of spending the time necessary, to properly provide their children with the education to enable them to contribute to society as adults. How can the education failure today be attributed to the parents instead of schools systems. The only culpable failure of the parents is that they have not monitored and demanded the academic performance of the system they financially support. If parents, by the act of being parents, were capable of providing a solid academic base for their children we wouldn’t have needed schools at all. The real problem can only be solved when school systems ensure that effective teachers get support and ineffective teachers are rapidly removed. Achievement of a solution is nearly impossible today because of political funding, unions and self serving bureaucracy. The problem today is farther complicated by the fact that those dedicated teachers and administrators are or will be smothered by the current educational system and political establishment to maintain a comfortable status quo.

  24. I have been teaching since 1978 when I first taught in a one-room school in Nebraska. I now only substitute teach, but my last 13 years before I retired at age 66 were teaching Language Arts in middle school. Under my first principal when first coming to that school in 2005, I was allowed to teach using the books provided as well as any of my material and resources as long as I taught according to the State Standards. I cannot speak to any other portion of this test, I can honestly say that my students could pass the Language Arts section. The parents of my children recognized the value of what I was doing and greatly supported me. The next principal at that same school had the maintenance staff discard all of my English books and demanded that all teachers use worksheets and teach the same material provided. Therefore, no more grammar or diagramming. No more projects on developing writing or poetry. She felt those should be taught in the elementary grades. The parents protested but to no avail. I’m certain it is not the same everywhere under every principal; as a sub I’ve experienced the differences within my own district. Also, due to the coronovirus things have changes drastically. However, what does remain a factor is that teachers are still not regarded as the professionals they are and are micromanaged in many cases and not allowed to teach using the most effective methods for the group of students assigned. Each child is unique. Not every child learns in the same way and each child deserves to have their needs met in ways that are most effective for him or her.

    In my library, I have a children’s reading book from 1887 entitled Chit Chat. The print type is 12 pt. font and single spaced. There is almost no white space. The book does cover all of the topics above and many more. However, under the current system, anything that can be looked up is primarily disregarded and not taught or learned. Previously the subject most emphasized were Language Arts, Science, Social Studies/History, and Math. Today everything is focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).

  25. This test is basically a test of rote knowledge….that is memorized facts and forumlas. It is not a “thinking skill” kind of test. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because we all need facts from which to formulate our ideas….or at least we should use facts to make our ideas even though many people just think off the top of their head without any knowledge at all to back up their spouting! If I compare my own high school education, at a “good” school in an urban area to my son’s more recent high school education, I can easily say that school is much, much more difficult now than it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s. More advanced subjects are offered, and more thinking skills are required. I do agree, however, that today’s education places too little value on factual learning. Also, grammar is not taught very much at all, so that part of the test would certainly be strange to a modern student.

  26. Public school systems have been infiltrated by teacher unions. It is now nearly impossible to fire a sub-standard teacher as long as that teacher shows up every school day and teaches according to the demands of their school district. Nearly all schools in our country are forced to retain these teachers, and the ones who suffer in the long run are the students. The concept of tenure for unsatisfactory teacher performance needs to be eliminated. I know a teacher who, for several years, taught math to 4th graders, but who couldn’t balance a checkbook if her life depended on it. She “inherited” that position only because other staff “educators” refused to teach math because they had failed it during the course of their own education. Although there are many fine, committed teachers in our public school systems today, it’s high time to embrace private schools, with the ability to transfer students into these schools, and with public funding available for these schools. Teachers need to be tested on their knowledge of the subject matter they are responsible for teaching. If they cannot pass such tests, they need to make alternate career choices. Colleges and universities need to develop comprehensive subject-matter exams for students who are facing graduation, similar to what medical schools and law schools require before certifying doctors and lawyers. After all, teachers are responsible for developing young, mush minds of the future. And let’s not forget parents who, if they don’t understand the upgrade in educational standards for the students of the future, seem to fail miserably at motivating their own children. Motivating students should be a shared responsibility of parents and teachers. Okay, I’m done rattling on about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart…

  27. I must admit, I am 71 years young, a high school graduate, and a non-active member of North American Mensa with an IQ of 144, and I still would not be able to pass this test.

    I have always believed, though, that the student is only as smart as the teacher. We are turning out teachers who have been pushed through their education and who have not actually learned.

    Kids today are not being given the help they need. Schools are too crowded. And if they left a child behind like they used to, it was the best thing they could do.

    One more thing. Whose lamebrained idea was it to eliminate cursive writing?


  29. I’m not suggesting anyone’s arguments are invalid, but I can’t see how anyone can make claims regarding a shift in curriculum difficulty without comparing this test to a 2020 8th grade test from the same school, or any others for that matter. At least I don’t see a link to one in this post.

    Here is the very first question from the first hit using the search criteria, “8th grade core curriculum test sample questions”:

    Which of the following displays a rational number? a) √3 b) √2 c) 𝜋 d) .5

    It would be interesting to conduct a study where control groups and experimental groups take both this 1912 test and a test from 2020. I would be much more inclined to accept those findings than one based off of initial reactions to just the 1912 test.

  30. In England, grade 8 is Year 9. The maths and physiology (biology) questions are commonly asked for this year group. The grammar questions are asked in Year 6 (age 10-11 years). The history and government questions are very US-centric and our history questions are usually on Britain and the world.

    We don’t have multiple choice questions in English exams. We are not allowed to bring text books or notes in either. I heard that US and Canadian exams are easier because you’re allowed to have these things.

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