The Washington Post

Century-old 8th-grade exam: Can you pass a 1912 test?

Here’s a copy of the eighth-grade exam used in schools in Bullitt County, Ky., in 1912. It was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum, which is a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society and which gave me permission to republish it.

In 2010, I published an exam from 1931 by the West Virginia education department for students seeking graduation from eighth grade. That test was sent to me by John N. Beall of Wilmington, N.C., who received it from his father, the teacher who administered the exam in a one-room school in Gilmer County.

Take the Kentucky exam and then see how it differs from the 1931 eighth-grade exam in West Virginia.

The go to the Web site for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test called “the nation’s report card,” and check out those eighth-grade questions.

All of these exams may not have been given at the same time in the eighth-grade year, but it’s still interesting to see the differences in question difficulty.

An eighth-grade exam for Bullitt County Schools in 1912. (Bullitt County History Museum/Bullitt County Genealogical Society)


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Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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