Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down Americans Have Become

Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”?  It is a movie about an “average American” that wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that is surrounding him.  Unfortunately, that film is a very accurate metaphor for what has happened to American society today.  We have become so “dumbed down” that we don’t even realize what has happened to us.  But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen.  In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum.  When I read this exam over, I was shocked at how difficult it was.  Could most eighth grade students pass such an exam today?  Of course not.  In fact, I don’t even think that I could pass it.  Sadly, this is even more evidence of “the deliberate dumbing down of America” that former Department of Education official Charlotte Iserbyt is constantly warning us about.  The American people are not nearly as mentally sharp as they once were, and with each passing generation it gets even worse.

Just check out some of the questions from the eighth grade exam that was discovered.  Do you think that you could correctly answer these?…

-Through which waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?

-How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body?

-How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 feet high to the ground 30 feet from the base of a building?

-Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?

-During which wars were the following battles fought: Brandywine, Great Meadows, Lundy’s Lane, Antietam, Buena Vista?

A copy of the exam is posted below.  Today, it would be a real challenge for many college students to correctly answer most of these questions correctly…

Eighth Grade Exam

(Originally posted at The American Dream)

4 thoughts on “Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down Americans Have Become”

  1. Wow. Compared to the joke we have today called ‘Common Core’, how mighty have we fallen…

  2. The diagrammed sentence in the exam, “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.” You’d never see that in a public school exam today. I bought some old textbooks from 1911 – 1918 at a flea market in Ohio for 25 cents apiece. I can’t even begin to describe the enormous shift in American culture over the past 100 years. Kids were treated as intelligent people capable of learning and that respect was mutual. And no, I couldn’t pass that 1912 exam. The 3, 4, 5 triangle was kind of a gimmee though.

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