An Eighth Grade Education









Remember when our grandparents or great-
grandparents said they only had an eighth-grade 
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 
Salina, Kansas, USA.  It was taken from the 
original document on file at the Smokey Valley 
Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, 
Kansas and reprinted  in the Salina Journal. 
8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, Kansas, 1895 
After reading this, ask yourself, could any young
8th Grade student today answer these questions.
In fact, could any high school senior pass this
I think you will agree that there has been a definite
dummying down of our education system over the
last 100 years. And why? That's meat for another
essay. For now, look at the test and ask yourself,
could you answer these questions and pass.
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. 
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of 
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.  bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for 
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 
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 meter? 
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. 
1. Give the epochs into which U.S.  History is divided. 
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by 
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary 
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 
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, 
    Lincoln, Penn, and Howe? 
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 
    1607, 1620, 1800, 1849,1865. 
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, sub vocals, diphthong, cognate letters, 
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, sup 
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, 
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and 
      indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks 
      and by syllabication. 
1. (omitted in the copy your UE received) 
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 North America. 
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 
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. 
This gives the saying of an early 20th century 
person that "he only had an eighth-grade 
education" a whole new meaning.
It also makes a mockery of our local school
administration that forbids teachers to tell
students that they have misspelled a word
for fear of hurting their self esteem.