Given the advances in technology and learning methodologies, it is a natural assumption that modern-day US students have it harder than those that were educated in 1912. However, the recent discovery of an eighth grade test paper set by educators at Kentucky's Bullitt County School District a century ago, seems to indicate that things were not as easy as one would have thought!
During the 1900's schools in Bullitt County were scattered all over the rural countryside. Though they all taught the same curriculum, there was no real way of verifying what kids were learning except, by testing them with a 'common exam' once or twice a year that encompassed everything from language arts to social studies and mathematics.
This was an important test that teachers and students both worked hard to prepare for. It was particularly crucial for those in eighth grade because it meant a chance to earn a scholarship to attend high school. While this may not seem like a big deal today, it was a century ago, because after eighth grade most students were forced to drop out and work in their family farms.
The sample of this common eighth grade exam was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum last year in honor of its 100th anniversary. While it has been on display there since, it lay unnoticed until recently, and has now become a rage countrywide as students step up to the challenge to see if they are smarter than a (1912) eighth grader! If you are amongst them, be sure to let us know how you did, by adding your comments below.