Below is an 8th grade test that was administered to eight graders in Bullitt County Schools (Kentucky) in 1912. Many children that passed the examination would receive scholarships to go to high schools. In those days, getting a high school education was not easy, as many high schools were sometimes another county away. Farm kids could rarely afford to go.
The test is rather difficult. Comparing the curricula of many schools today, it is evident that these kids were much more prepared not only in national geography & history but world geography and history, something that is lacking today.
Many may think with the advent of computers, the Internet, TV, Radio, and other high tech equipment that Americans would be more intelligent. Sadly, this is not the case. the American educational system has been allowed to degenerate into very substandard levels.
Many recent studies have indicated that American education has been lagging those of industrialized countries. The subliminal war on education via austerity and transfer of public dollars to for profit education (vouchers) makes the degeneration of the American education a continued slide to mediocrity.
It is likely that the first option for most attempting to take this test will be to seek the help of Google or a calculator. Does anyone remember how to do amortizations manually; what about percentage decrease of a product? How many us know what “amortization” actually means?
When ABC went on the streets to quiz people on this test most failed. Do you think you are capable of doing any better?
Here’s the video:
There are some questions on the test that are a bit dated and may justifiably stump many. Questions like the 3 largest states would have a different answer today than then. A question like the number of presidents who died in office is different today than then. Also the names of some countries is different today than then. Most of the questions however apply today as it did then so there should be no excuse that if students could successfully do the test then they should now.
Try the test. Don’t use a calculator or the Internet. How did you do? The answers are here.