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Need any more proof that America has dumbed down?

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Need any more proof that America has dumbed down?

Postby Half Massed » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:36 am

This is an 8th grade exam from 1895. I'm not completely sure this is real, but I don't see why it wouldn't be.

http://www.thelatest.net/exam.htm

We're kind of slipping it seems... :-o

Some of those I'm not sure I could answer. On the other hand, there are easy ones...

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.


It's a trick question! Yessss, point for me!

:-D
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Postby bronxxbomber » Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:44 am

is that serious because i don't really know a few of those 8-o
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Postby Mercer Boy » Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:53 am

Dang...that is very interesting. I'm sure I couldn't answer a lot of that. Maybe if I had been studying it right now I could, but most of those things you take for granted and just say "this is the way it is" and don't think about the fundamental basis behind things like grammar and math. :-S
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Postby Webster11 » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:13 am

I don't think America has dumbed down, at least not from what Ive seen from this test. It just seems like the teaching styles have changed (and for the better IMO). Instead of teaching grammar based on memorization, grammar is now taught through a combination of reading and writing. IMO it makes a lot more sense to read a book and absorb the writing style of that book or write a paper and have a teacher correct grammar mistakes and learn that way than to memorize all the grammar rules. A lot of this stuff just seems frivolous, especially the orthography I can't imiagine any time in my life where any of that would help me. Anyways Im glad I didnt grow up in the 1800's :-o
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Postby Tavish » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:44 am

Anyone surprised that an 8th grade Kansas exam had not a single question about evolution? O:-)

This test doesn't show anything other than we shift our educational focus to things that are more useful in our current society. I could care less if my child doesn't know how much a bushel is. I bet none of the kids who passed the exam then would pass a basic computer literacy test or even type 20 WPM.
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Postby Holy Hand Grenade » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:55 am

Although I couldn't pass the test, I don't think it says anything about the standards of education. In elementary school, I could name all the states and their capitols, in alphabetical order. In middle school, I knew the rankings of the feudalism system.

Furthermore, we don't learn many of these things because they simply aren't necessary for the general knowledge. Times have changed. Here's a test that no person from 1895 could pass, but which most of our 8th graders would find easy.

1. Who invented the assembly line?

2. What is the Theory of Relativity?

3. Where is Iraq?

4. Which War was fought between 1914-1918?

5. Mussolini was the fascist dictator of which country?

6. What is "Of Mice and Men" about?

7. What kind of charge does an electron have?



Well, you get the idea. Knowledge is fluid, changing. What was important 110 years ago isn't important now. What was important in Kansas in 1895 was never important to anyone in particular outside of Kansas.
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Postby bceagles04 » Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:54 pm

exactly ^^^

nailed it on the head.

What they taught back then is SOO different from now.
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Postby HiddenIdentity » Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:56 pm

bceagles04 wrote:exactly ^^^

nailed it on the head.

What they taught back then is SOO different from now.


Like totally.
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Postby Coppermine » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:04 pm

Also, recall that a lot of kids didn't go school then... most teenagers were working in the fields by the time they were in 8th grade and supporting their families. I believe most of the kids in school at that point were members of the aristocracy or at least financially privilaged.

Case in point, today schools are encouraged to "level the playing field." That is, just like the absolutely horrible and damaging No Child Left Behind Act, schools are now required to teach all students at the same level, passing those who cannot excel and dumbing down those who are not challenged enough.

That is truly the only problem. Am i saying that smart kids should go to one school and dumb kids should go to another? Not really, it's not for me to decide. But I believe kids going to school at the turn of the century were privilaged enough to not have to work on their family farm.
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Postby Half Massed » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:54 pm

I think you guys are focusing on the wrong things here. Obviously kids in 1895 wouldn't know things that haven't happened yet, I don't get what point your trying to make with that, and the school systems were different back then (that's a good point Coppermine), but I was focusing more on the wording and sophistication of the questions rather than on the actual material.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?


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?


10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.


If you learn how to do these it's probably not overly difficult, but it still does seem advanced for 12-13 year olds. Some of the subject matter may seem advanced for 8th grade nowadays, but if it was being taught to them, understanding would not be completely beyond the grasp of most kids that age. I'm not saying kids back then were much smarter than kids in the present, it just seems more was expected out of them. I think the sophistication in the questions is due to stricter schools and such rather than the kids themselves.
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