Examination Graduation Questions of Saline County, Kansas
April 13, 1895
J.W. Armstrong, County Superintendent
Examinations in Salina, 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.
(Time, one hour)
1. Give the nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define: Verse, Stanz and Paragraph.
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give the 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.
(Time, 1 1/2 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 3,942 pounds, 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 6,720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 per cent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per in.?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 per cent.
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.
(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 the events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849 and1865.
(Time, 1 1/2 hours)
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, 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 divided 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, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
(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 North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon: A territory in northwest Canada between Alaska and British Columbia, 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 the 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 the inclination of the earth.
(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 case of laceration?
5. Give some general directions that you think would be beneficial to preserve the human body in a state of health.
Time is up! Examination over.
After reading these test questions, you may believe that obtaining an 8th grade education in the 19th century was no small feat.
Could you pass this exam today?
The test was found by the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library of Saline county, Kansas. It has been widely published on the Internet.
Here is a link to the exam followed by a modern-day attempt to answer the questions. Here is a link to an article about the test and here is a link to a site that has tried to offer what a completed exam might have looked like. (Update: in Feb 2012 Salina.com ran an article entitled Back to the (testing) future, which looked at what teacher's in the Saline County School System think of the 1895 test compared to what students need to know today.)
Apparently the historical society that found the test does not have a copy of the original answers.
P.S. Among the places this test has appeared on-line is Snopes. If you read the Snopes report you will see it is not about whether the test is genuine, but whether or not it is evidence, as many have claimed on the Internet, that Americans received a better education in the 19th century. Snopes concluded that this exam is not proof that academic expectations of students are lower today than they were in 1895.