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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 10:12 am:   

_
Alice Turner of Playboy sent me this:

> What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895. Remember when
> grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade
> education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade
> in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, Kansas,
> USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley
> Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the
> Salina
> Journal.
>
> 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895 - 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"lie,""play," 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 50cts/bushel,
> 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 the 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
> metre?
> 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 of
> 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,
> 1865.
> Orthography (Time, one hour)
> (Do we even know what this is??)
>
> 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.'
> (HUH?) 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, 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 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 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.
> (Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying, "he
> only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 10:14 am:   

Compare to this:

Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently
compressed by a Thigh Master.


2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like
underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.


3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy
who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those
boxes
with a pinhole in it and now goes around! the country speaking at high
schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those
boxes with a pinhole in it.


4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was
room-temperature Canadian beef.


5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just
before it throws up.


6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.


7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.


8. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling
ball wouldn't.


9. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled
with vegetable soup.


10. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,
surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy
comes
on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.


11. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.


12. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry
them in hot grease.


13. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the
grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left
Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19
p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.


14. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had
also never met.


15. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East
River.


16. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only
one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.


17. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.


18. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this
plan just might work.


19. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating
for a while.


20. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either but a
real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or
something.


21. The ballerina raised gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg
behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.


22. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if
she were a garbage truck backing up.


23. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any
pH cleanser.


24. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.


25. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to
the wall.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 10:16 am:   

Actually, I like some of those. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 11:42 am:   

I like analogies #4 and #9.

And under "U.S. History," I know that 1620 was the date of the last Cleveland Browns championship. So there, Kansan smartypantses!
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   

My faves are 5, 10, 14, and 22.

I believe you're off on that date, Dave. 1620 was the date of the first Red Sox fan mass suicide.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 01:29 pm:   

my favourite is number 10.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 01:38 pm:   

10 is sweet. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 02:33 pm:   

Snopes is your friend.

As to the first part:

http://www.snopes.com/language/document/1895exam.htm

"Plenty of critics maintain that most of today's teaching candidates couldn't pass this test. Well, even if that were true, it wouldn't make today's candidates all that different than their 19th century counterparts. As Joseph Crosby, the man who created the English Grammar and Orthography sections of this exam, wrote to a friend in 1876:

"I gave them a pretty severe test in Grammar, and some of them did make terrible work of it. One young lady said the singular of "Swine" was "pigs", another "a hog". One being asked to give me the past tense of "I lie down" said "I lied", which she certainly did. Out of some 30 or 35 words I gave them to spell, not over 10 were spelled correctly by any one, several missed on all but 5 or 6 -- Yet they blushed & tried so hard to do well -- and many were graduates of the High School -- that I was sorry for them. I had no idea that graduates could be so ignorant."

The second part is just plain funny.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 02:49 pm:   

"1620 was the date of the first Red Sox fan mass suicide."

And, hopefully, not the last.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 03:10 pm:   

Pennsylvania judge rules against the teaching of "intelligent" design. Yay. But let's not get too cocky. Any state that can elect Rick Santorum to the Senate can marshall a campaign to overthrow evolution.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 03:42 pm:   

We should recall that in the past not everyone was entitled to an education.

When one is entitled to an education then it's very likely that one is going to have a degree.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 03:52 pm:   

That's interesting, Marc....

At least they were taught that...I guess.

As for the second part, I'm debating which of them to steal first,
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Alice B
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 06:06 pm:   

"6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. "

I have to use that one... Just brilliant.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 07:22 pm:   

Yup. No, 6 is pretty great. They're all good. God bless illiteracy.
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Patrick M.
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 06:20 am:   

How can you not love 18? If that isn't an opening line, I don't know what is.

The thing is, these are so out of context. Who knows if the kid writing it is seriously trying to write or just completing the absurd assignment from the English teacher with something equally absurd.

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Adam-Troy
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:05 am:   

I would expect to find this one in Donald Westlake.


The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling
ball wouldn't.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:49 am:   

I would have been proud to have coined #24. Sounds like part of a Nick Danger skit.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 11:54 am:   

They're all terrific. Lately I've been fond of 11...
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:05 pm:   

Yeah . . . they seem just a little too clever to me. Are these really from a random assortment of student essays?
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:21 pm:   

Okay, I need to use my time more productively. Apparently there was once a contest run by the Washington Post for the Best Bad Analogy. At some point during the story's gleeful romp through the blogosphere, it became mis-identified as the Post's contest for the worst analogies in high school essays, and eventually it lost the attribution to the Washington Post altogether.

Incidentally, here are the winners of the contest:

"(transcribed without permission from the Washington Post, July 23, 1995)

Style Invitational Report from Week 120:

In which we asked you to come up with bad analogies. The results were great, though we feel compelled to point out that there is a fine line between an analogy that is so bad it
is good and an analogy that is so good it is bad. See what we mean.

4th Runner-Up: Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein's Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances. (Jennifer Frank, Washington, and Jimmy Pontzer, Sterling)

3rd Runner-Up: The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas. (Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

2nd Runner-Up: I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don't speak German. Anyway, it's a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don't know the name for those either.(Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

1st Runner-Up: She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can't sing worth a damn. (Joseph Romm, Washington)

And the winner of the framed Scarlet Fever sign: His fountain pen was so expensive it looked as if someone had grabbed the pope, turned him upside down and started writing with the tip of his big pointy hat. (Jeffrey Carl, Richmond)"
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 10:24 pm:   

Incidentally, everything between quotes in the above post came from this url: http://www.sonic.net/~paul/humour/msg00314.html

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