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Cracker Barrel: This is a test

Now that school's back in session and parents and students alike are busy putting their mental muscles back to work, it seems appropriate to compare notes with the learning experience of an earlier era.

What follows was mailed to me some years ago by a loyal Echo reader, and is taken from an original document on file in Salina, Kansas, and reprinted in the Salina Journal.

It's the eighth grade final exam from the Salina school district in 1895. Thoughtful readers might object that much of the subject matter is no longer of day-to-day importance; but I do believe the test deserves our attention.

Grammar (Time, one hour)

Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.

Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modification.

Define verse, stanza, and paragraph.

What are the principal parts of a verb?

Define case; illustrate each case.

What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical uses of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1:25 hours)

Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 ft. long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cents/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

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?

Find the cost of 6720 lbs. of coal at $6.00 per ton.

Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?

Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?

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 Christopher Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and the 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. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

7. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

(We'll skip this. It's about spelling and the representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols, but it's become the province of specialists.

For example, question 3 - What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, dipthong, cognate letters, linguals.

Or how about question 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.)

Geography (Time, one hour)

What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

Describe the mountains of North America.

Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.

Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.

Why is the Atlantic coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

If you managed a passing grade on this five-hour test, congratulations! You're now deemed ready to start high school.

(Collections of Craig Nagel's columns are available