Are You Smarter Than a 1930s 8th Grader?

Think you're smarter than an 8th grader? Well, see if you can pass this test, given in 1931 by the West Virginia Department of Education, as sent in by a reader of Valerie Strauss' education blog The AnswerSheet over at Washington Post:

The exam was sent to me by John N. Beall of Wilmington, N.C., who received it from his father, the teacher who administered the test in a one-room school in Gilmer County, W.Va. [...]

"The scope and depth of the exam speaks for itself. What is important to understand is that the students came from families that were very challenged financially, especially during the depression years. They lived on small family farms, and, just to make ends meet, every member of the family had to work on the farm. Each child had chores to do before and after school, and, as there were very few automobiles in that area, they walked to and from school each day, some of them walking several miles each way. At night after chores there was homework and then to bed. These young people were part of the 'Great Generation' that fought and died for freedom. Those who survived the war went on to build this great nation.

"You might want to take the exam yourself. I found it to be challenging."


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@Jeffrey, scienrce and math may be "emphasized" more today. Yet American students are consistent owned by kids from every other industrialized nation in international math tests.
So I'm not exactly sure where the new curriculum is getting them. And yes, students were tested on math then - without calculators, too.
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I just noticed that Stacy thinks coal is not a major source of energy in the U.S.

Ooops, she'd get a minus-1 on that question. It might not be used much for *residential* heating anymore, but it's still a major energy source. About one-half of U.S. electricity is produced from coal.
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Bugger, I forgot to bring popcorn.

Firstly, in what year are we answering the questions? ie 1931's in todays understanding or as we expected them to answer them?

For example: what if the Gaza Strip was the most populous area on the planet? Right or wrong, a question that may not have occurred to them in 1931.
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