MISSOURI, August 27, 2014 — Education in the United States is under assault. The latest technique is to use ‘common core’ to set standards and to help raise the level of education.
Yet looking at historic education requirements show that the level of education may have been higher than we think.
Following are some questions from an 1895 eighth grade final exam from a school in Salina, Kansas:
Reading and Penmanship. – The Examination will be oral, and the Penmanship of Applicants will be graded from the manuscripts
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.
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, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., 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?
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.
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 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?
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? .
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
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.
Health (Time, 45 minutes)
- Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?
- How does nutrition reach the circulation?
- What is the function of the liver? Of the kidneys?
Note the arithmetic section of the test as it is relative to what the farmers needed to know as well as the rest of the farm community because Kansas was primarily wheat country at that time.
Imagine a college student who went to public school trying to pass this test today. Even if the few outdated questions were modernized, it is doubtful that there would be many passing grades. This led to a great education and shows us what can happen with Christianity as the foundation of the community.
The educational environment was based on the practice of God’s teachings so cheating and lying were not tolerated, the teachers were respected, the rules of the school were obeyed, and the expected results were met. The desire of parents was for their children to grow up to be knowledgeable, know and follow the laws of the community, and above all obey the laws of God.
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