JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post--thanks to Andy Moursund for digging this up
This sample examination for students in the Washington, D.C. public school system appeared in the Fifth Report of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of the District of Columbia, 1878-79, and seems to me a great head's-up/wake-up call to any and all. It was sent to me by my friend Andy Moursund (owner of the great Georgetown Bookshop in Washington, D.C.), and makes me wonder how well adults in 2011 would perform on the exam. Luckily for us moderns there's a lot of subject grading that could go on here, so the true results of such a thing taken today would be a private affair--but people would understand exactly where they stood in relation to a 10-year-old in a public school, 132 years ago.
WASHINGTON, D. C. PUBLIC SCHOOLS
QUESTIONS FOR THE ANNUAL EXAMINATIONS, 1879
INSTRUCTIONS.—The sheet of paper to be written upon must be so place that the widest margin will be at the top of the page, and the narrow space for numbers of the questions on the left. Marginal lines have been ruled, and the writing should not extend beyond these. The number of the question should be written in the narrow space between the vertical ruled lines. Each subject should be written only once, on the upper line, near the middle of the first page, and the name of the pupil should be written to the right of ti, on the same line. A line should be left blank after the subject, and after each answer. Not more than one subject should be written on any page. The pages used for each subject should be numbered from one upward, and the number should be written near the upper outer corner of the page, but inside the marginal line.
In arithmetic give the work in full, and before the answer write Ans. No credit will be allowed if the work is not given. When a subject is finished, take the work to the teacher’s desk. Pains should be taken with expression, arrangement, penmanship, and neatness in the written work, as it will be preserved in the office of the Superintendent, and be subject to inspection; but the work must not be copied.
GEOGRAPHY. (Two credits each.)
1. What are the principal mineral products of the United States, and where is each found?
3. Which are the five leading nations of Europe.
5. Give a brief description of the Sahara.
8. Of what does the Chinese Empire consist?
10. Make the diagram and draw the outline of South America.
MUSIC (Two credits each.)
1. How many sounds in the scale?
2. Write the numeral names of the scale; also the syllables used in slugging the scale.
ARITHMETIC (Three credits each.)
1. What is prime number; least common multiple; complex fraction;
3. Write the six propositions showing the effect on the value of a fraction of multiplying and dividing the numerator and denominator.
5. If 323 1/5 yards of cloth cost $33.45 ½, how much will be gained on each yard by selling the cloth for $45.13?
PHYSIOLOGY. (Two credits each.)
1. Describe the heart.
2. Describe the larynx.
3. How is air changed by respiration?
GRAMMAR. (Two credits each.)
1. Define the words “subject” and “predicate,” as used in a sentence. Give an example, showing a simple subject and a compound predicate.
4. What parts of speech have person and number?
9. Name the adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions in the following sentence:
The arose about this time a man named Cromwell, of incredible depth of understanding,
strict integrity, and unwavering resolution.
DRAWING (Five credits each.)
Blank form for drawing furnished to the pupil, containing the following instructions:
1. To the pupil: Draw without ruling or measuring from the copy placed before you. (Time allowed, 20 minutes.)
To the teacher: Put upon the board one of the vase forms on page 15 of the drawing book.
2. To the pupil: Draw the quatrefoil 4 inches in diameter, and put in it from memory any design you have made. (Time allowed, 40 minutes.)
SOURCE: Fifth Report of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of the District of Columbia, 1878-79.