Country Schoolhouse
The Declaration of Independence - 1776
The Articles of Confederation - 1777
The Constitution for the United States - 1787,
Its Sources and Its Application

Could You Have Passed
The 8th Grade in 1895?
Probably Not...Take a Look: This is the 1895 eighth-grade final exam from Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, Kansas and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

The following document was transcribed from the original document in the collection of the Smoky Valley Genealogy Society, Salina, Kansas. This test is the original eighth-grade final exam for 1895 from Salina, Kansas. An interesting note is the fact that the county students taking this test were allowed to take the test in the 7th grade, and if they did not pass the test at that time, they were allowed to re-take it again in the 8th grade. Also of note, the school year was but 7 months, beginning October 1 and ending April 1. allowing 5 months for planting, farming and harvest.

April 13, 1895

J.W. Armstrong, County Superintendent.

Examinations at Salina, New Cambria, Gypsum City, Assaria, Falun, Bavaria, and District No. 74 (in Glendale Twp.)

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.
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, 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?
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 per inch?
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, 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?
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: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, 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 N.A.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, 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.

Health (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.

Imagine a college student who went to public school at the end of the 20th Century trying to pass this test, even if the few outdated questions were modernized. Imagine their professors even being able to pass the 8th Grade. Can Americans, student and professor alike, get back up to the 8th Grade level of 1895?

ED-U-CA'-TION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

-- Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) --

A Completed 1895 8th Grade Final Exam

I am still trying to locate a picture of Meadow Gulch School
Story Time At A Country School
A Painting by Norman Rockwell
(This is very nearly identical to the interior of Meadow Gulch School.
The stove and desks are the same, but we had fewer scholars.)

I had the benefit of attending Meadow Gulch School, Silver Bow County, Montana, from the 1st thru 6th grades. Sometimes there were as many as 9 scholars, sometimes as many as all 8 grades, but only one teacher. We received an education and excited thirst for knowledge far superior to what is given today. And the very first thing we were taught was discipline and respect for one another and the teacher!

The teacher received $50 per month, and boarded around with the neighboring ranch families, so our parents were very involved in our education. One year the teacher had her own child in first grade. By the sixth grade I had memorized the Constitution and knew what it meant and why. I was deep into the history of the Nation, was studying Geometry, Trigonometry, and Algebra, knew ALL the countries of the world, their capitals and basic economies from studying Geography, had read many of the classics, as well as the best of American Literature, and two of us were county-wide spelling champs and top honor students in our grades a number of years running.

Our education was much like home schooling today, but we had the added advantage of no radio or television, so we learned early to read to entertain ourselves. The monthly trip into town always included a couple of hours selecting books for the next month from the library. Mom got us "The Book of Knowledge" encyclopedia set with egg money, and another set of 8 books, "Things Every Child Should Know", and I read them entire, working nearly every experiment, and did the things to do over the course of about 4 years. My youngest brother Mike has the sets now, to help educate his grandkids. Another great advantage was the fact that we were exposed to what the older kids were being taught, spurring us on, learning much faster, and growing apace.

Like many ranch kids, after school we had the hike home, chores first, 7 days a week, supper second, and homework by Aladdin coal oil lamp at the table before bed by 9pm so we could get up to chores, breakfast and the 4 mile hike from the ranch in Flume Gulch to school, sometimes horseback, sometimes in my sulky, on occasion in the team drawn farm sleigh, sometimes down the mountain in the winter on skis or a sled, bellybuster with my sisters on my back, a marvellous 2 mile run. Our school year ended the week before Christmas, school was closed through the worst of winter until the Monday after the start of Spring, March 21, then classes through the summer until the first week of August and a 2 week vacation for haying season, then back to class until December. But that was long ago, the last class at Meadow Gulch School was in December 1945 . . . and few children of today will have the benefit of such a marvelous education from such loving teachers, Katherine White, Mary McCarthy and Mrs. Hendrickson.

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