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  • 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...on/v/tests.pdf

    You had to pass this test to go to high school. Think this batch of 8th graders could pass this? Could you?
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  • #2
    Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

    Not being from WV, I might struggle.
    the state of hockey is good

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    • #3
      Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

      Not a chance. Hell, most seniors these days would barely pass that.
      Always a Wildcat...
      Originally posted by Kepler
      If you quote the derp you are spreading the derp. Please help keep the board derp-free.

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      • #4
        Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

        Originally posted by joecct View Post
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...on/v/tests.pdf

        You had to pass this test to go to high school. Think this batch of 8th graders could pass this?
        To be honest, I'm sure we all could. They "taught to the test" in those days, too.

        There is an 1860's entry test for Harvard floating around that will curl your hair. You would need the contemporary equivalent of an MA in Classics (Latin *and* Greek) just to get in, and we're talking 19th century when 15 and 16-year olds were going to "college." The math was a lot easier, though -- elementary algebra and geometry that's Straight Outta Euclid.

        Edit: here it is. Have fun.
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        • #5
          Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

          in my field, you have to be requalified every two years otherwise you lose it. why? Because its human nature to forget things you don't use. I might be able to take a guess at those questions, just as anyone might ( but probably wouldn't) be able to guess correctly at the material I am learning. People sometimes confuse exposure to intelligence. I'd struggle with the literature sections on that test, but I could do the math parts in my head. I am forced to do math in my head on a daily basis, go figure.

          On another note, those are great questions. Talk about a curriculum that gives you something useful. I doubt I got anything of the sort in my middle school education in New Hampshire..
          Last edited by unh_hockey; 12-06-2011, 09:26 AM.
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          • #6
            Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

            Somewhere I saw that test or a similar test and it was fake. I just looked at Snopes, but I found nothing about it there.
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            • #7
              Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

              Originally posted by Kepler View Post
              To be honest, I'm sure we all could. They "taught to the test" in those days, too.
              Teaching to that test (the one in the base note) isn't a bad thing. After all, a test should measure what you were supposed to have been taught. These are essay questions, which require some writing and reasoning abilityto answer. The reason that teaching to today's tests is non-productive is that most of them are multiple choice. Teaching to a multiple choice test often involves (a) rote learning of unconnected facts, without context and/or (b) learning how to take multiple choice tests, exclusive of what was being taught. One of the most useful things I learned was that you don't have to know what the answer is if you knew or could figure out some of the things that an answer couldn't be.

              There is an 1860's entry test for Harvard floating around that will curl your hair. You would need the contemporary equivalent of an MA in Classics (Latin *and* Greek) just to get in, and we're talking 19th century when 15 and 16-year olds were going to "college." The math was a lot easier, though -- elementary algebra and geometry that's Straight Outta Euclid.
              I'm sure this test did exactly what it was intended to do -- make sure that Harvard was populated with kids whose families could afford to send them to a prep school that taught Latin, Greek, and other subjects that were of no use to the majority of the population. Oddly enough, the SAT supplanted tests like this to enable Harvard to diversify its student body -- to get kids from modest backgrounds who had the ability to reason and learn.

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              • #8
                Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                Originally posted by unh_hockey View Post
                On another note, those are great questions. Talk about a curriculum that gives you something useful. I doubt I got anything of the sort in my middle school education in New Hampshire..
                I don't really see why the production of oranges or the location of health spas would be useful

                Originally posted by Ralph Baer View Post
                Somewhere I saw that test or a similar test and it was fake. I just looked at Snopes, but I found nothing about it there.
                The West Virginia exam or the Harvard exam? Both ring true to me, for different reasons. The Harvard one, because Greek and Latin were expected as entrance subjects all the way from the 1600s onward, and the exam is just esoteric enough to sound like something that would send one to Harvard. The West Virginia one, because state education officials wouldn't have been too interested in making sure that the average West Virginian coal miner had a full high school diploma.
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                • #9
                  Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                  Originally posted by Beer Pong Horn View Post
                  I don't really see why the production of oranges or the location of health spas would be useful



                  The West Virginia exam or the Harvard exam? Both ring true to me, for different reasons. The Harvard one, because Greek and Latin were expected as entrance subjects all the way from the 1600s onward, and the exam is just esoteric enough to sound like something that would send one to Harvard. The West Virginia one, because state education officials wouldn't have been too interested in making sure that the average West Virginian coal miner had a full high school diploma.
                  I meant the WVa one, but it does seem real as far as I can determine by googling.
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                  • #10
                    Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                    Originally posted by CLS View Post
                    (1) Teaching to that test (the one in the base note) isn't a bad thing. After all, a test should measure what you were supposed to have been taught. These are essay questions, which require some writing and reasoning abilityto answer. The reason that teaching to today's tests is non-productive is that most of them are multiple choice. Teaching to a multiple choice test often involves (a) rote learning of unconnected facts, without context and/or (b) learning how to take multiple choice tests, exclusive of what was being taught. One of the most useful things I learned was that you don't have to know what the answer is if you knew or could figure out some of the things that an answer couldn't be.

                    (2) I'm sure this test did exactly what it was intended to do -- make sure that Harvard was populated with kids whose families could afford to send them to a prep school that taught Latin, Greek, and other subjects that were of no use to the majority of the population. Oddly enough, the SAT supplanted tests like this to enable Harvard to diversify its student body -- to get kids from modest backgrounds who had the ability to reason and learn.
                    Both of these paragraphs are completely wrong, but in interestingly different ways.

                    First, if you think rote learning is terrible then you would hate everybody's education system up until about 1950. It was pure rote learning, there was no emphasis on critical thinking or reasoning unless you were in some hippie experimental Montessori school. Both public and almost all private schools were obedience training, designed to raise people who would happily march off and get themselves shot for King and Country.

                    Second, Harvard didn't have to screen out class undesirables via examination -- if they regarded you as a black sheep you weren't getting in no matter what -- their black balling was Not Subtle. Consider their barriers to Jews that were maintained pretty much right up until the 1920's -- you could score 100% on every "entry" exam but if your name was Cohen you weren't getting in unless you had an uncle in the building-giving business. Also, the whole idea that Latin and Greek were of no use to the "majority of the population" is either irrelevant or just wrong-headed. To stevedores and shopkeepers maybe, but that's not who Harvard was educating. In terms of practical knowledge for the professions, if you wanted a scientific, legal or medical education in the 19th century you had to know Latin, probably German and maybe French. If you wanted an education in any of the liberal arts, you had to know the classics backwards and forwards, in the original. For that matter, there's really nothing more "practical" than, say, founding a country, and without a thorough understanding of the classics the Founders would not have had 90% of their ideas of politics, economy, justice, liberty, etc.
                    Last edited by Kepler; 12-06-2011, 01:11 PM.
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                    • #11
                      Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                      Are you sure this is from West Virginia? I thought they only got running water and electricity last week?
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                      • #12
                        Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                        Originally posted by Beer Pong Horn View Post
                        I don't really see why the production of oranges or the location of health spas would be useful
                        Most of 'em are pretty good, though, and those which are bad can be fixed with some slight tweaking. For instance, the health resort question could be expanded to say "What about the climate there makes the location of one of your choices a good place for a health resort?" (although, to wit, the type of resort they're generally speaking of isn't really something that exists anymore; the modern 'health spa' is less a treatment facility and more a vacation getaway).
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                        • #13
                          Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                          Originally posted by Kepler View Post
                          Both of these paragraphs are completely wrong, but in interestingly different ways.

                          First, if you think rote learning is terrible then you would hate everybody's education system up until about 1950. It was pure rote learning, there was no emphasis on critical thinking or reasoning unless you were in some hippie experimental Montessori school. Both public and almost all private schools were obedience training, designed to raise people who would happily march off and get themselves shot for King and Country.
                          Not sure what’s wrong with my statement, or what, if anything, we disagree about. Most modern graduation tests are standardized tests. Most standardized tests are multiple choice. Multiple choice questions that test critical reasoning are hard to write – with critical reasoning, two reasonable people presented with the same facts could come to different conclusions. Multiple choice questions that test knowledge of facts with no context are much easier to write, so often designers of the standardized test lapse into testing for that. Preparing for a test like that would entail rote learning, which is a retreat to a style of education that you describe as typical of everyone up to the 1950’s. And I (we?) think that’s a bad thing.

                          Second, Harvard didn't have to screen out class undesirables via examination -- if they regarded you as a black sheep you weren't getting in no matter what -- their black balling was Not Subtle. Consider their barriers to Jews that were maintained pretty much right up until the 1920's -- you could score 100% on every "entry" exam but if your name was Cohen you weren't getting in unless you had an uncle in the building-giving business. Also, the whole idea that Latin and Greek were of no use to the "majority of the population" is either irrelevant or just wrong-headed. To stevedores and shopkeepers maybe, but that's not who Harvard was educating. In terms of practical knowledge for the professions, if you wanted a scientific, legal or medical education in the 19th century you had to know Latin, probably German and maybe French. If you wanted an education in any of the liberal arts, you had to know the classics backwards and forwards, in the original. For that matter, there's really nothing more "practical" than, say, founding a country, and without a thorough understanding of the classics the Founders would not have had 90% of their ideas of politics, economy, justice, liberty, etc.
                          Don’t disagree with you there was overt discrimination. But overt and covert discrimination are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I'd argue that if there was overt discrimination, it's likely there was covert discrimination also, because the decider had already demonstrated a bias against the excluded group. The fact that they didn’t need to exclude by examination doesn’t mean that they didn’t do it. In addition to excluding ethnic groups, the Harvards of the world also excluded socioeconomic groups. Creating entrance examinations that tested subject matter that was not available to those socioeconomic groups is an effective way of excluding them without having to admit you’re doing it. Perhaps requiring fluency in Latin and or Greek was essential to what Harvard wanted to teach. But even if it was, I doubt there were any regrets that the requirements screened out riff-raff that had the intelligence and other attributes that would permit academic success at Harvard, but who didn’t have access to a secondary school that taught Greek and Latin.

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                            Originally posted by Beer Pong Horn View Post
                            I don't really see why the production of oranges or the location of health spas would be useful
                            Today that question would be answered like this:

                            *beebeep* "I found 15 health spas, 0 of which are relatively close to your location."
                            Last edited by Twitch Boy; 12-06-2011, 05:47 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Re: 1931 West Virginia 8th grade graduation exam

                              Originally posted by joecct View Post
                              http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...on/v/tests.pdf

                              You had to pass this test to go to high school. Think this batch of 8th graders could pass this? Could you?
                              Yes. But only if West Virginia was replaced with Wisconsin.
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