Newly Discovered Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down America Has Become

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1914 SchoolhouseHave 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

If you would like to know what the correct answers to these questions are, you can find them right here.

One of the areas that Americans are horribly deficient in today is geography.  If you give them a blank world map, most Americans can only identify a very limited number of countries.  In fact, according to a survey that was conducted by the National Geographic Society several years ago, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could find the nation of Iraq on a map of the world even though the United States was actively fighting a war there at the time.

Our young people are also horribly deficient when it comes to math and science.  At this point, 15-year-olds in the United States do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math and science literacy.

How do we expect to thrive as a nation with these kinds of results?

In a previous article entitled “Dumb As A Rock: You Will Be Absolutely Amazed At The Things That U.S. High School Students Do Not Know“, I discussed some more survey results that show how dumb our high school students have become…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Even more shocking were the results of a survey of Oklahoma high school students conducted back in 2009.  The following is a list of the questions that were asked and the percentage of students that answered correctly….

What is the supreme law of the land? 28 percent

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26 percent

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27 percent

How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10 percent

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14 percent

What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61 percent

What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43 percent

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11 percent

Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent

Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29 percent

So why is this happening?

Well, for one thing, our system of public education is a complete and total joke.  We have millions of kids “graduating from high school” that can barely read, that have almost no ability to speak in public, that cannot write a decent essay and that cannot balance a checkbook.

It also doesn’t help that Americans (especially young Americans) are absolutely addicted to entertainment.  Americans spend an average of 153 hours watching television each month, and when we aren’t watching television we are watching movies, playing video games, surfing the Internet, etc.

When is the last time that you saw a young person actually reading a book that was not required for school?  Yes, it does happen once in a while, but it is so rare that it is kind of startling when you spot it happening.

But it is not just our young people that have been “dumbed down”.  Even our presidents have been “dumbed down”.  If you doubt this, just check out this amazing graphic which shows how the reading level of State of the Union addresses has steadily declined since the beginning of our nation.

Personally, I have an awareness that I should be able to think much more clearly than I am able to right now.  I can feel the effect that our society has had on my own mental abilities, and it frustrates me.

A lot has been written about the decline of our health here in America, but very little gets written about our mental decline.  That is a shame, because our ability to think clearly and rationally is so very critical to our future.

So what do you think about all of this?

Do you agree that America has been “dumbed down”?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

I'm With Stupid

  • 2Gary2

    WOW Michael–this really shows how far our educational standards have fallen.

  • K

    Sorry to tell you, but this is also part of the plan. The uneducated, are more easily controlled, and far more easily manipulated. Most here could easily recite, which rights the Government has been trampling underfoot. Now look at the general population, not a clue. Not surprising I suppose. How can you object to your rights being taken away? When you never knew what rights you had.

    • Rodster

      Democrat Sen Patrick Moynihan once referred to it as the dumbing down of America. And yes it was done on purpose for the reasons you cited.

      • Bob Danley

        Senator Moynihan; the last honest, good and true Liberal.

        • Hugo

          As I recall he was quite the anti-gun legislator, and global warming alarmist.
          Not sure how there could be an honest, good socialist. Or did I miss your use of sarcasm?

          • ForwardRussia!

            Hugo, you’re linking Anti-gun legislation and awareness (along with most scientist worldwide that DONT speak for corporations) of global warming, has nothing to do with Socialism.
            Did you hear a word, associate it with ‘the left’ without really considering the meaning? You are the product of dumbed down America. I’m British, and I can tell you we also have a ‘dumbing down’ happening right now thanks to the Tory leaders changes to schooling.
            Hugo, your a brainwashed idiot that is singing the songs they teach you because you don’t know how to sing your own. Keep it up …”2 + 2 = 5″ … fool

          • SandyToesSC

            Being called an idiot by a commie who does not know the difference between your and you’re is priceless.

          • jane

            Actually that was correct usage.

          • Geoff

            not in his 2nd usage it was’t

          • Grammar Police

            Both are incorrect. “Your (not you’re) linking…., has nothing to do with socialism.” I love the irony of, “your a brainwashed idiot.”

          • GeoRip

            Whatever, we all got the fact that his point was well made.

          • Grammar Police

            Actually the first two occurrences are incorrect.

          • Ja

            Are you kidding? Or dumb?

          • TomG

            Typical right winger. No argument, just attack the individual, and call everyone you disagree with a commie.

          • Bob Frapples

            I’ll assume you don’t see the irony in your post.

          • Cecilia Trevino

            LOL, you are right (you’re). My mother had a saying in Spanish that explains liberal logic.
            Para pendejo no se estudia, se nace!
            roughly translated into English:
            You can not learn to be “extra” stupid, you have to be born that way.

          • Kevin Watson

            Thanks for confirming that, “Forward”

          • Rubber Neck

            Its quite funny to watch these factions in America each day coming out blaming Socialism.

            Unfortunately these poorly educated Americans they haven’t figured out with all these blaming that everything is now Socialism.

          • Beeta

            It is now that Obama is in the WH. Our Health INS. was not socialized.. we purchased our own. Now we have to buy ins. that pays for ours and the lazy who want work.. That is socialism.. Thank Obama for that. And we feed them and we house them and we clothe them and we buy them new cars… that is socialism… Not by choice but by force on those that are working.. We know the difference and Obama is forcing socialized medicine on us NOW! Before we did not have socialized medicine. And we were not socialized in other areas of our lives but Obama will force that change on us yet! Thanks to all of you that voted for this pos!

          • kkelly

            we didn’t have socialized medicine before Obama? gee, what is medicaid and medicare then? * note heavy sarcasim*

          • Bernie

            Spoken like a true Christian. Yup, Screw the poor, let them eat dirt and die under bridges.
            Just what Jesus would have said.

          • clr1390

            Look up Stephen Fincher..A Republican Congressman from Tenn…He reeks Socialism. As long as it goes in his and his family’s pocket. He loves farm subsidies for him, and hates food stamps for the poor.

          • ModerndayAppleseed

            Socialism works if done right, stop your libertarian why do I have to pay ANY Taxes. It part of the deal when we belong to civilized nation. Yes some people will abuse that system. but most don’t. capitalism is going to kill itself soon anyway Robotics and 3d printing will wipe out 80% of the jobs. Even service Industries will be done with A.I. What going to work then? (no we are not going to repair robots, robots will repair robots) WAKE up from your selfish life. We all chip in to provide a better welfare for all. Soon it won’t matter most humans (if we go utopia not dystopia) will relax and study and focus on science and arts.

          • “Socialism works if done right,”

            Please tell us where and when it was done right.
            I know only of a sequel of failures.

          • ModerndayAppleseed

            Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, Finland for examples)
            Where it didn’t work is Russia but Russia has always been a dictatorship also China didn’t work for same reason. People like you are brainwashed that commie means socialism. (USA has many socialistic parts)

          • Did you research your points or just repeat them mindlessly?

            Do you understand your points could be viewed as racists?
            Because you are telling us scandinavians are able to be good socialists (they are not) but Russians, Chineses and, who know, Africans are not.

            Is it the culture?
            If so, do you support the laws against criticizing someone else religion?

          • june

            “Hugo, you’re linking Anti-gun legislation ” ….correct usage of “you’re”.

            “Hugo, your a brainwashed idiot” ….incorrect usage of “your”.

            You people are idiots.

          • Kelly Evans

            You’re reading it incorrectly because of the parenthesis. It’s “your linking Anti-gun legislation… and global awareness has nothing to do with Socialism” not “you’re linking anti-gun legislation and global awareness has nothing to do with Socialism. ” He also used an unnecessary comma. It’s just funny how appropriate the comment is on an article that speaks to our “dumbing down”.

          • Bob Danley

            I am a Reagan Republican. There was a time when ‘Liberal” meant something entirely different from what a liberal is today. There was a time when Liberals truly believed in The Constitution and had a true love of their country.

          • Matt

            I as a liberal still have faith in our Constitution, I just sometimes second guess those ones who are there to protect it.

          • Geoff

            I’m interested in the use of that label as a self identifier> Reagan Republican. Do you know that Reagan’s favorite president was FDR, whom expanded the government more than any other person, ever?
            Did you know that Reagan as governor of California, signed the largest tax increase in the history of any state at that time?
            AND he increased federal taxes 11 times over 8 years?
            Did you know he added 200,000 jobs to the federal teat and expanded federal spending by 25%?
            What about him giving amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens, or TRIPLING the national debt, ADDING more debt that the previous 200 years?
            He appointed the Supreme Court justice who saved abortion rights.
            He also negotiated with terrorists in order to win public favor.
            Most people don’t remember Reagan that way, but the facts are the facts.
            Reagan is FAR left of where the party is today, He’s actually pretty close to where Obama is.

          • Bob Danley

            Early in Reagan’s first term as president a reporter asked him if he accepted any of the blame for the current economic conditions. Reagan responded “yes! Because I was a Democrat.” Reagan had to work with a Democrat House & Senate, and unlike the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Reagan followed the Constitution in doing so. Three times he vetoed incresses in federal spending only to be over riden by Congress. Most of those 200,000 added jobs were troops and sailors added to a military that was second to none. Reagan continuously sought to balance the budget only to be blocked by Democrats. He wanted a line item veto which the Democrats denied him (and something Obama has taken upon himself to implement without the approval of Congess – which IS unlawfull). The amnesty for illegals was a deal worked out with Democrats who never followed through on their end of the deal – funding for a wall on the border. FDR was not Reagan’s favorite president. His favorite President was Calvin Coolidge.

          • 77

            Ray-Gun was a big-government spender, and a fu**ing criminal – and a draft-dodger to boot. F*** him, and f**** you.

          • jeff

            Reagan was a puppet who was very electable. GHW Bush knew he couldn’t win so he chose Reagan who was an excellent orator, a celebrity and well liked by the public..

          • Bob Frapples

            “Obama is a puppet who was very electable.”

          • Jen

            Don’t forget all the anti-gun laws Reagan signed into law!!!!

          • rootvg

            The party is where it is as a reaction to where they think the other side is taking us.

            If you think we have fireworks right now, wait until the end of 2014. Nate Silver has been predicting a Republican takeover of the Senate for several years. Of the 24 Democratic seats that are up next year, 12 are in states Romney carried in 2012. Some say as many as 15 could be in play…not sure if I believe that but it would only require 8 seats to shift and we’re fairly sure that’ll happen. Reid knows it, too. That’s why he pulled the trigger on the nuclear option. They’re cramming everything in before they lose control of the body. Let’s just say he’s a lousy poker player.

          • Ricky Wayne

            “let’s just say he’s a lousy poker player” ?!? I think you are talking about Harry Reid, but what about Mitch “one term Obama at all costs, even the death of the world’s economies” Mcconnell. yeah. what a brilliant poker face the tortoise has.

          • rootvg

            McConnell doesn’t have to be brilliant. He’s been there so long, it hardly matters.

          • John Jamison

            Geoff. But he didn’t spend it on stupid things. It was awesome when he told the striking air traffic controllers to go back to work. Unions suck enough… unions trying to highjack and blackmail the country are delusional and not to be tolerated.

          • Geoffingeorgia

            But corporations and the uber wealthy trying to hijack the country is ok?
            Unions in this country are why your kids aren’t chained to machinery 14 hours a day 7 days a week to earn scraps of rotted food to put on your table.

          • papamccain

            That may have been true in the 20s and 30s and the Unions did good work in bringing laws that keep your hysterical example from happening. However today it’s a totally different union. Today’s Unions have become the corporation led by the uber wealthy. Their sole purpose is to increase the income of the elite few at the top. Sure, they may strike for better wages, but what happens when they win? The company has a responsibility to shareholders to maintain a profit. Do you think they won’t offset a wage increase by either getting rid of expenses like salaries? By raising prices of their products so the rest of us get burned? Unions had their place, they served their time but now they are simply an inflationary tool. If you needed a job and a place offered you work like you describe, would you take the job? Of course not! Without employees there is no company so companies today do what they can to keep their employees happy. A happy worker will stay with the company and grow with the company. It costs too much to constantly train new people if your employees are leaving for better working conditions. I was in IAM for many years, editor of the local newspaper, shop steward, friends with the local President. I know what I’m talking about.

          • Primus

            -Said the revisionist historian communist. Nice try rewriting history. Stop spewing false garbage. God forbid some poor impressionable kid might take your false narratives at face value!

          • Geoffingeorgia

            What, precisely do you propose I’ve revised?

          • facefault

            Iran-Contra. Look it up.

          • Ricky Wayne

            try this. instead of name calling, why not dig up some actually facts to utilize like facefault, the commenter below does, so you don’t come off as an imbecile.

          • derp

            You can also thank Reagan for placing Nelson Mandela on the terrorists watch list. What a great role model.

          • papamccain

            Nelson Mandela and the ANC were the first to use necklaces on their enemies. A rubber tire filled with gasoline placed around the neck and ignited. The results were horrific. Even Winnie Mandela bragged at a demonstration “with our necklaces and boxes of matches we will take back this country.” Sorry, but Mandela was a terrorist. Do you know why he was in prison for so long? Study history.

          • ANC did, yes. After Mandela was no longer in charge. By the time the first ‘necklace’ was used Mandela had been in prison for quite some time. He was in prison for his acts of sabotage against the apartheid (he NEVER targeted civilians and thus was never a terrorist). Perhaps, it is you who should study history.

          • TomG

            Those brutal racist apartheid killers got what they deserved.

          • ModerndayAppleseed

            Yea he was terrorist (ie freedomfighter from his point of view) but he renounced his past

          • working4change

            the taxes n government growth n amnisty were DEMOCRAT demands!!!!!

            taxes were to be short term with reduction later. democrats lied!

            amnesty was to have tax reductions, and doarder control. another Democrat LIE!!!!

            keep on goin with half information. …. it might with your Liberal friends but not here. go collect your check n move on.

          • Geoff

            “might ^WORK with you…”
            Clearly, you were a child that was left behind.
            The only checks I collect are paychecks.
            Why don’t you move to a country where capitalism runs free… Somalia seems like a good start.

          • working4change

            hmmmm so all u have 2 say is how 2 correct someones grammmmmer instead of something worthwhile. …

            yep your a democrat argueing on thing that have little no meaning instead what we need.

            removal of TOTUS traitor Barry
            removal of Reid, Pelosi, bloomberg, and others that only focus on laws that remove rights of others.
            repeal of ACA Illegal anyhow
            overturning every executive order the traitor signed.

            that would be a good START!!!!!

          • Geoff

            No, I was just pointing out that someone who either can’t communicate correctly or can’t be bothered to, should probably just be ignored altogether.
            Just for the record, I’m neither.
            But clearly from your repeated, ignorant, illegible posts you’re a misguided pawn of the right. Probably someone who considers themselves a “Libertarian” and yet somehow flunked civics class in high school and never thought it important to figure out why.

          • Danny Vinson

            still does it is the “conservatives” who keep expanding govt like Mr Reagan. who was also very anti-gun BTW. it is the right wing who now hates their country.

          • kim

            funny. I keep hearing ‘America is evil, Let’s change America’ but I hear that from the LEFT. Those on the right are talking ‘Constitution, First Amendment, Second Amendment. fiscal responsibility, etc’ That doesn’t sound so hateful compared to the rhetoric from the left, does it?

          • nanaof3

            The latter group are using those terms insincerely, while doing their best to destroy the concepts behind them. As for America needing some changes, tell me this: when an ostrich sticks his head in the sand to avoid seeing a problem, is he safer or in more danger? What part of his anatomy is up in the air & vulnerable? While you’re tinking a bout the answer, wipe that smirk off your face.

          • eric braun

            who signed the Patriot Act, you specious, disingenuous coward!

          • Geoffingeorgia

            I don’t hear that from “the Left” I hear it from the Right CLAIMING the Left says it. But I never hear it FROM the Left.

          • Jim Trent

            Could the reason why you don’t hear it from the left is that you are so far on the left that you have to make a complete circle to find anyone else and those people are the people generally referred to as the right?

          • Geoffingeorgia

            No. I am a HUGE Gun rights advocate, I am strong on personal responsibility, I prefer welfare benefits be short term and encourage employment.
            BUT, I am not foolish enough to think that unions are evil. Unions gave us the 5 day work week, pension plans, employee health insurance plans,
            Anyone against unions is anti American, plain and simple.
            I’m also not dumb enough to look at 30 years of failed Trickle Down Theory and think that pushing it harder will make it work. And anyone who is, and continues pushing for it while they make less than a million dollars a year income, is voting against their own interest.

            I’m not “so far left” I m just smarter than you

          • Jim Trent

            Ahhh, the fallback of the liberal mind… insults. I tend to find that the people who have to refer to themselves as smarter than others are far from that.

          • Geoffingeorgia

            Well, if that doesn’t show your bias, I don’t know what does. Really? Only liberals make insults? Hmm.
            I chose to taunt you and all you can whine that I called you names.
            Hilarious. Meanwhile you managed to miss (or intentionally ignore) the entire point of what I actually SAID. I’m only liberal on some issues, I’m also quite conservative on others, but considering that doesn’t allow you to characterize me in the light you prefer. It doesn’t fit into your idea of other people as 2 dimensional, so you ignore it completely.
            I only responded to you at all because I didn’t realize you were only here trolling.
            I won’t make that mistake again

          • JD Williams

            The current problem with the unions is the leaders they have “Become the man”

            As a small business owner and worked my way through the ranks to achieve that, it is great to get a union to supply “qualified” workers;however that worker, no matter how long working with and for the union has never worked for me. That new employee starts once again at top wages and has to work his/her way into a responsible position.

            Have a friend at GM, Good union man gets 45.00 per hr to empty 4 trash cans.He does not want responsibility and does not have to strive to achieve it.

            Working hard, taking risk, pays us what we are worth. Unions pay what they feel you are worth. If you are the best in the job that you are in you are held back. If you are the worst you still have a job.

            My employees that were not union and got pay that far exceeded the union labor. Matter of fact when i went into consulting I sold my business to one.

            Simply put individualism is far more profitable, challenging and rewarding.

            Lets use my friend as an example. he gets 45 per hour. pays back appx 22% in taxes, 30% in benefits he is now making net 23.90 pays prop taxes and sales taxes, gas tax. dividend taxes too. his take home net is about 8.10. now he has life insurance, TV internet and phone bills as well as savings (some insurance plans have savings) with the wife not working where in this budget does this consumer have any money to spend? to buy to grow?

            So now he votes in “his best interest” he gets a 15.00 per check due to that vote. remember he gets to use 18% of that- 2.70
            what did that do for the country as a whole? What is your country worth to you? 2.00 hear and 2.00 there adds up.Like this article. we will grade on a curve cause we do not want to hurt Johnnie’s feelings. We don’t have the funding for vocational trades. and wonder why we cannot find an employee to turn a wrench or wants to for that matter, But Johnny sure can play that Fluitiphone, jump virtual frogs. and set on a park bench and make more money begging tax free then my friend who is a union man.and who voted for that 2.70
            O did i mention that Johnny gets 30% of his income from the state? doesn’t pay property taxes, gas taxes or benefits 20% because he does not want to be a slave to the corporation holding the debt for that property, No Johnny wants to be free from the man, Educated, Johnny has an associates degree, went to college on grants from the government and mom and dads dime. couldn’t get a job because he has no real life experience and doesn’t communicate well because he really can’t .

            underlying? Unions “gave” us the 40 hour work week “gave” us pension plans? think about that statement and who “gave” what.

          • Geoffingeorgia

            If you’re just going to make up numbers, then you can justify whatever you like. His paycheck cut that goes to the union (which you say were 30%) was actually less than 2%. That’s even more than Union cut for UAW is today, And his state/Federal/SSI/UI total about another 30%, so, for a 40 hour work week, what he was taking home after taxes was around $1500 and that’s if he got no overtime.

            As for your storry about “Johnnny” that’s what is called a Straw Man argument. A blatant, exaggerated fabrication, made only for the purposes of showing it’s conflagration because it’s easy to tear down.
            And YES the unions DID give us all those things.
            I find it a little humorous that you don’t see the direct analogy from unions to the union that we ALL live in. Our very country is a union. it was intended to be “a more perfect union” one where, by standing together against tyranny, we could achieve our desire of being able to “pursue life, liberty and happiness”
            I can see that in some times and some unions there are/have been leaders who have lost sight of their mission, or whom were motivated by greed and power lust all along, but the check on that is that they have to run for re-election every1-4 years. Much as the leaders of the union we are all in.

          • LM

            i’m curious if your information about unions is from study and research of the “official message” or from personal experience? Unions today are NOT even close to what they once
            were. Through first hand experience as a former union member I can say
            that the MODERN union is just as bad as the corporations it was created
            to protect us from. * when adjusting the workforce – layoffs,
            scheduling, raises, promotions etc are all given priority based on
            hiring date rather than Merrit. This removes all incentive to be a
            valuable employee…. Of all money collected in dues, more than a reasonable amount is spent on union employee PERKS, such as vacations,
            “Company provided and paid for” cars knowingly used for personal
            purposes, a Malibu beach house 100% paid for by the union “for executive
            use” and one guy even had the union paying the slip dues on his boat, * Full salary for union reps, even those that only showed up when there was a vote. * You CAN be fired for not joining the union. and the reason I left the job & the union = * EVERY employee
            was asked whether they voted for or against the strike by putting a colored marble in a bag . The anonymous exit
            poll tallied “90% no strike”, but the UNION declared that 80% were FOR
            the strike….. I could go on, as this barely scratches the surface of
            personal first hand experiences, but then this FB post would be WAAAY
            too long.

          • LM

            My apologies i am not tech savy and did not know that using symbols would change the formatting to make it near impossible to read :(

          • Geoffingeorgia

            I joined 2 unions in the last 3 years after 25 years without the ability to join one. I also studied unions in college, as part of 2 seperate classes. My father was in a union for most of his later career, but not between his military service and finally joining a union.
            Your anectdotes about unions may be true, I’ve no way of knowing, but they shouldn’t be taken as the norm of all unions. The elected officials in my local work beside me every day. The small bump they receive from being our representatives is nowhere near enough to allow them to not work

          • William P. Homans

            I am a leftist, and I oppose gun control (though I don’t need a four-deuce mortar or an M-60…)

            If Americans must FIGHT, let us invite our alleged enemies, al-Qaeda or whoever, HERE. Heck, Vietnam vets with deer rifles could remove al-Qaeda and the Mexican drug Mafia from the earth all by ourselves.

            Let ’em come. Our troops are not defending the US by dying in Afghanistan, and our politicans are TRAITORS for arming al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria..

            This “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” crap must STOP. Let the enemy come fight us HERE, and they WILL have their 72 virgins apiece.

            Support the troops. Bring ’em home NOW!!

          • Anon

            Not many conservatives say America is evil. Instead many say that Athiests, Liberals, Gays, Hispanics, Feminists, Professors, Muslims and government employees are evil.

            Fundamentally what is the difference between saying “America has problems, let’s try and fix it” and “America now has problems, lets go back to the constitution to fix it”? Everyone wants to live in a great country where people are prosperous and free, our camps just disagree about how to get there.

          • Jer RM

            That is all too funny, considering it is often the Right who are attacking the First Amendment when someone states in free speech something they disagree with. More so that they are making selective target on voter laws that will disenfranchise minorities and young voters.Funny how they keep pushing religion into school and government as long as it is their brand of religion. Even the funniest of them all is how the Republicans have expanded government as a percentage of dollars spent far above that of Democrats.

          • Alun Palmer

            Well it wouldn’t if they knew the constitution, but very few of them know any of it except the 2nd Amendment

          • working4change

            we hate so much… yep we on the right want $$$
            the left will never understand! they want the UN to rule the world and everyone to do as they are told. sadly they forget 90% of the cou tries in the UN are the enemy that want to push us into cities and control ALL the land n resources.

            we have one last shot 2014. every last conservative MUST VOTE! no excuses this time! the left will be vote more then once EACH in nov.

          • anarchduke

            I think Reagan was biased about gun control. Especially after he got shot in the lung.

          • Stan Ferguson

            “a Reagan Republican” You just identified yourself as part of the problem. One among the deceived.

          • Robert Altman

            We liberals still do…I think you are referencing the right wing nuts that hate the Constitution while at the same time trying desperately to convince you otherwise.

          • ronchristman

            I hate to break it to you Bob Danley but liberals/progressives believe in the Constitution and actually know what it means. They also love their country enough to want to make it better.

          • Mama62

            That is, better for all, not just a few at everyone else’s expense. That’s the difference.

          • working4change

            HA! Ha! ROFLMAO……. that was good one… next you will say they want to lower taxes n cut back on welfare programs. or better yet they want the USA to succeed lol Ha! I needed a good laugh……

          • Rick Captain Redtyde Robinett

            So you are proud of what “Reaganomics” did to this to this country?

          • GeoRip

            There was a time when the term “conservative” did not mean stealing the country blind. My father’s form of conservativism is long gone, although I thought I saw some of it in Ron Paul. Not so much in Rand, he seems mostly just opportunistic.

          • TR

            You said “not sure” so I assume you’re open to the fact that as far as history records, the following socialists were honest: Eugene Debs, Clarence Darrow, John Peter Altgeld, Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, Jack Reed, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacob Riis, Bernie Sanders, Scott Nearing, Michael Parenti, Dorthea Lang, Walker Evans, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Samuel Gompers, James Agee–an endless list including virtually all artists and writers

          • Eric

            Im not american and i dont beileive that we change the climate with emmisions but america obviously needs gun reform

        • heather

          arguing over you and you’re. Dumbed down and distracted….Just how the government prefers it.

      • Boni Biggun

        The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, Revised and Abridged Edition


        Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
        She exposed it all already, I would recommend watching her interview on youtube!

    • The only problem with The Plan is uneducated, dumbed down people will not produce wealth, just consume it. So the masters will not be so wealthy as they hope and could lose against not dumbed down people.

      • Dickens

        The ‘Masters’ could care less about money. THEY WANT YOUR SOUL!

      • K

        The masters as you call them, make their profit elsewhere. In the U.S. at least for now control is their main goal.

      • margaret Bartley

        I suspect the US will be mostly exploited for its natural resources. There is a good transportation infrastructure here to get those extremely abundant resources to a shipping port to move them to the part of the world that can afford them.

        Any actual work that needs to be done can be done by imported guest workers (thank you, Bill Gates!) until Americans get hungry enough to compete with their low-ball wages and make-no-complaints attitudes.

        • rootvg

          There are still jobs in the tech sector that haven’t been eaten up by the Indians and Chinese. Mainframe work is still done by great big dumpy white guys who can add and subtract hexadecimal in their heads. AIX work (IBM’s unix, about half unix and half mainframe but POSIX compliant) is still mostly white guys because the Indians and Chinese don’t understand it, they don’t have the experience. They cost half as much but make twice the mistakes.

          I’m currently hooked up to a consultancy to do AIX work in a bank that’s implementing cloud. It’s tough being on the road so much but it is a job and I’m thankful for it.

    • freeinhabitant

      You are 100% correct K, well said. The truth is, the “United States” is the SECOND union of states, the first union being the “United States of America” by virtue of the first 2 Organic Laws (Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation). George Washington was a liar and a fraud…and he was also a 33rd degree freemason. So for well over 225 years now, the “United States” has been operating (April 30, 1789 was the day George took that oath). So we have been led around by criminals for a LOOOOONG time and all it’s gonna take to bring down this corrupt govt, is a few more educated Americans. www dot edrivera dot com

      Check out that website if you want to know more and what I am talking about. peace

      • Bob Danley

        Now who can argue with that? What a fine example of frontier jibberish.

      • SirJamesSC

        Not correct. One of the greatest virtues of George Washington was his membership in Freemasons. However, your key bounce makes it an error. Washington was a 3rd Degree Master Mason. Not 33, as the Scottish Rite (a separate branch) wasn’t established in the U.S. until 1801, therefore he couldn’t have done the “higher” degrees. Another great virtue of his was his rejection of, and warning us against, political parties. We ignored that advice and are now reaping the punishment. Under our Constitution, ALL political parties are illegal on the Federal level.

    • Guest2

      Something else that might be worth looking into is the fact that ALL municipal governments on the continent do agree to and approve of the additives of chlorine and fluorine in our drinking water. These chemicals alone do enough significant damage to our mental capacities and they know it! Do you really think that the bottled water we buy is any better?Unless you are a biochemical analyst or similar, you may never know the real truth about them!

      • Geoffingeorgia

        well, the tin-foil hat crowd has spoken

    • Steev Richter

      your grammar and sentence structure go far in proving your theory. they seem to have gotten the “uneducated” part just right with you.

    • Daniel Williams

      Your punctuation. is: terrible?.

    • ReBelle

      You are exactly right!

    • Eric Rosenfeld

      An even better indication of the dumbing down of America than the examples of test questions given in this article are the comments below it. Even the top rated comment suffers from lousy grammar and an inability to employ rational skeptical analysis.

    • Thaddeus Besedin

      Dear K, Perhaps, as a show of faith in the sanctity of the old values of rigor and self-reflexivity, and without reference to how people are more docile now than – say – during the Middle Ages, attempt – just for fun – to use proper grammar and syntax. Thank you.

    • TreeBagger

      Down-voted for poor punctuation.

    • William P. Homans

      It also makes the dumbed-down more pliable consumers of non-durable consumer goods. “Don’t worry about the past, you can’t change it. Don’t worry about the future, you can’t know it. Just keep your eyes glued to the Tube and BUY OUR CRAP.” That’s the idea, sheeple….

    • Cecilia Trevino

      The uneducated,high on marijuana and totally dependent on government for their existence are the dream citizens of our current government. These types of people are the easiest to manipulate in essence Own because they sold themselves into slavery.

  • Graham

    I had to turn the page on the 1912 exam, but managed to get questions 1, 2 and 3 correct on the 2012 version overleaf. Item 4 was optional.

    If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, who won’t you see that day if you eat a red apple?

    How many hours are there in a twenty four hour day? Answer must be in numerical format (Eg: 24)

    What color is the Presidents official residence and why is it called the White House?

    4# (Optional)
    Write a one page essay on B5 paper describing what the Constitution means to modern America.

  • How many “reality” TV shows,
    based on following the day-to-day lives
    of the “Lard Assians”
    are required to highlight & make perfectly clear to you,
    that your labor is being exploited &
    that you are a dumb-downed economic slave from birth to death?

  • LeeAnn

    That explains why my Great-Grandmother, born in 1895, who only had an 8th grade education would be smarter than any of the twenty somethings today.

    • Polly

      And you can forget the academics. Read book “One Second After” in which a small NC town is the victim of an EMP. The story demonstrates that, in order for the community to survive, most people anymore don’t have craft or survival skills. Lawyers, corporate execs, actors, etc. had nothing to offer. Drive a nail into a 2X4? What’s a 2×4?

      • chris

        Is it half of a 4X4?

        • Me12

          No it’s half of a 4X8

          • humanfan

            Chris had it right you have it wrong. 2×4 is 8. 4×4 is 16

          • jaxon64

            this comment is absolute proof of Michael’s worries…
            PS: the X between the numbers means “by” as in 2 inches by 4 inches…so yes..a 4 inch by 8 inch is twice the width and twice the height ( the lengths are usually in feet of 8′, 12′ or 16′)…it is not a multiplication sign…sheesh–we really are doomed…

          • Chad Mayer

            Whether its a multiplication sign or a piece of timber its the same answer. It is half of a 4×4… You cut a 4×4 in half and you are left with two 2×4’s… Stupid Americans

          • chris

            But what puzzles me is why i would want to cut my 4 wheel drive vehicule in half or drive a nail into it..

          • Geoff

            Did you misspell “Vehicule” on purpose to be funny?

          • Chris Mayer

            Actually, unless you can cut a 4X4 in half with a knife, the blade is going to remove about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch…so it’ll be a 4 x 3-31/32 (4 X 3-15/16) ;) And yes…we ARE doomed… mein Opa kam auf dem Boot.

          • David

            Boards are cut at the actual measurement and then planned down to smoother grade.
            So a 2×4 starts as a 2×4 and approximately 1/4″ is taken off each side as it is finished.
            It does not get cut from a finished 4×4 (or even a rough one).
            So no, you don’t need a thin blade and a 4×4 will still get 1/4″ off each side during finish making it 3.5×3.5.

          • Geoff

            but it’s only 1/4 of the volume. so the question was answered correctly. A 2×4 is half the volume of a 2×8. It’s also half the WIDTH of a 2×8. which would much more likely be what someone would ask for than it’s volume of twice of both of it’s dimensions.

          • atown

            Volume is a liquid measurement

          • Geoff

            Nope. Volume is a measurement of 3 dimensional space.
            Most Americans learn that by 3rd Grade.

          • Geoffingeorgia

            ^Hence, why you failed the test to begin with.
            Volume is a measurement of 3 dimensional space.
            Volume is also a measurement of sound.

          • David

            Actually it is twice the height and the same width :-)

          • Dawgboy2

            LOL! I was thinking the same thing… good lord.

      • jim37

        A 2X4 is a 1 1/2X3 1/2 inch piece of wood.

  • rentslave

    A certain percentage of our population do not possess the necessities for such education.

    • Martin

      When a person who aspires to a college degree can’t make the grade to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, they become “educators”….

      • geepers

        I know some fine educators. Some people are born to teach. Don’t knock it.

  • geepers

    I had harder tests than that in the 8th grade. I guess I was lucky to be in a rural school district. It was a K-9 school. We were then bussed to a larger town for high school. I ended up in college right after I turned 17. So, it all depends on where you live and what the school system values. More parents need to get involved in PTA.

  • seth datta

    Its even worse in the UK. Ive lived in many different countries including the UK (where I was born), so unfortunately, they cannot compete in competition versus the rest. And I spend my days with doctors who are from the boomer generation and they are not as bright as the American of German/other foreign ones. Multiple generations bear the illusion of being educated when the opposite is the case. There is an argument that they are well regimented and indoctrinated, though.

  • SafetyViking

    Prima facie evidence that ‘Dumbing Down” has been happening & will continue. Idiocracy was a bit out there, but as far as I can tell, IS a fairly accurate depiction of what the future holds…

    • BruceWL

      My oldest Grandson is a math wizzard. He did a algebra problem on paper instead of using his computer and was chewed out for doing it. Makes me wonder how many students actuallt know how to get the answer without a computer.

      • Probably the teacher is unable to read cursive writing

      • SafetyViking

        You may have just answered your own question. Most kids don’t have the motivation to tackle a problem with basic tools & it sounds as though the school enables that. He sounds like a very bright kid…you must be very proud!

  • SafetyViking

    The wicked part of me doesn’t mind that people are getting dumber. I don’t mind taking advantage of the self-inflicted dumb.

    Bring on the thumbs-down/hateful responses. Just being honest…

    • Yes, but unless you are living in a shack in the wilderness you are – we ALL are – dependent upon other people.

      I would prefer not to have to rely on dumbed-down for medical and nursing care, fixing the brakes on my car, bringing electricity into my home, inspecting my food, etc.

  • Scott Hunt

    I kind of disagree with the premise. The questions are not difficult per se, they only require someone to memorize a fact or very, very simple math formulas. Memorizing facts doesn’t necessarily make someone “smarter”. I think this shows a shift in focus of education from memorizing facts to thought development, but maybe I am too dumb to realize what is going on.

    • Roscoe


      • zastrong

        Since when is a question like “describe the Battle of Quebec” or “define the following forms of government. . . give examples of each” about memorizing useless factoids? A good percentage of these questions were concept questions. Many of the questions require people to think beyond places and dates, but to know the why and the how. Many of these questions are critically important concepts – such as being able to know what the different types of government are and to be able to know how they function and give examples of each. If that one single concept had been taught for the last century, Americans would know that America is a republic, not a democracy. That’s an important difference to know and yet most Americans are too uneducated to know that we’re not a democracy. Our Founders considered democracy “worse than monarchy” to quote James Madison. Also, I’d be very interested to know how many of these questions you got right. So, unless you got them all correct, your own argument is shot to hell. (and I’ll admit, I missed a number of questions myself, so I’m not trying to say that I’m some fantastic scholar). Americans used to be #1 in every academic category back then. Today we rank in the 30s and such on most categories. People today know far less than our great grandparents. The public school system is an abysmal failure in every way measurable.

    • PiusAeneas

      Yeah, and there is no question about how long it should take to put a condom on a banana. Kids then were being cheated compared to our children.

    • jaxon64

      I have found the opposite. The questions not only require some mathematical formulae and memorization ( as all history does) but the questions specifically ask for deductive reasoning and calls for the test-takers to use critical thinking skills.
      Conversely, I have looked through my daughters highschool and college text books and exams and they all are devoid of the necessity of thought. Books full of facts and date ( and much of the history is selective or revisionist in nature)..of course the math is formulaeic but has no contextual aspect–just math problems on paper.
      When we hire new interns or I act as clinical instructor for many of the future medical professionals–it flat out scares me to think that I may be reliant upon their reasoning ( or lack thereof) skills for my well-being. These students or graduate students can spout off every obscure pathology or any part of anatomy and its physiology–but they can’t deduce WHY. They will recognize renal failure and all of its syptoms–even confirm the various lab values–but have no deductive reasoning as to causality…
      Simply put, the next generation is scary dumb when it comes to the ability to form independent thought and exhibit the basic human reflexive response of asking “why?”
      PS: I say this as an overwhelming generalization from experience and not as a concensus of everyone–there are some brilliant, inquisitive young minds out there.

      • Bong The Ripper

        Toss a four year old a smart phone and they can use it well.. If you tossed a smart phone to an adult who lived in the 1800s he would be lost. The comparison here is not even valid.

        • dixmaestro

          Teach an adult to use technology and they use their brain to operate it. They are capable of learning new skills. Kids now use the technology to be their brain. Had a friend whose husband was a draftsman. When the computer at his job went down, the entire project would have halted if he had not known how to use his brain and a slide rule. The young guy on the computer (I think may have been auto-Cad?) sat with his mouth hanging open and said “How did you do that?” And he was a qualified draftsman in the shipyard – but could not function without the computer.

          • Bong The Ripper

            It’s not fair to say that children use it as their brain. You need certain skills first. Reading, writing and problem solving.
            How long before we have self contained, self sustained computors that don’t go out on us? At that point drafting would be useless much like the information on this test. This is why I use the term valid. No matter how intricate, difficult or wondrous a thing is its use determines whether it’s valid, if you cannot use it the thing becomes invalid for the circumstance but one can also say it’s valid as a broken thing so validity is about perception too.

          • SandyToesSC

            proof that the phone is smarter than the user.

          • My Friend

            Your brain is better at using stuff because you were born 100 years later?

  • nd

    As a teacher and a parent, I can attest to this. My kids’ educational experiences include learning about recycling and how wonderful Islam is, wearing pink shirts to combat bullying along with math, where there is no right or wrong answer if you can explain how you came to the figure you put down on the paper. And other people are right. If you are stupid, have a “feel-good” mentality and sing kumbaya, you are going to be a liberal voter and fall in line.

    • Dawgboy2

      You are part of the problem, not the solution.

  • DJohn1

    My father moved us all over the place. His job as a skilled journeyman printer in the 50s was possibly the ideal position as he had a job waiting for him anywhere he went in the world.
    We started in England. I was born in the midst of World War II and had a whole bunch of supervision from grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
    I mention this only because I have been educated in many different education systems in my life. Starting in Kindergarten in Canada. Moved to Dayton. Moved to San Francisco, Moved back to Dayton. Moved to Long Beach, California. Moved back to Dayton. Moved back to England. Home schooled one summer to learn how to read by my Mother. Even went to trade school. This huge variety of systems was an advantage and a disadvantage. I experienced a whole lot of different systems.

    I can figured out and answer most of the questions on that list. Not all of them, but most.
    I mention this as background. In my late 30s I went to memory school for 3 days at a cost of over 225 dollars as part of my training. It is very valuable training.

    We are teaching our kids wrong. The key to everything is how we file things in our memory. Most people including myself are dependent on genetics for how we memorize things. No one in school gives us any training on how to input information into our brains. And that is basically what I think is wrong.
    The faster you use information obtained, the longer it is retained by the brain. I have actually taught my children chess at a very young age. I made sure they had a good background in language at home. I taught them to type at a young age.
    Children go through steps. Those steps mean that at a certain age they can assimulate language very easily. At another step it means they learn math very easy. The trick is to catch them as they go through these steps.

    Our public education system is clueless when it comes to most of what I have just said or at least it was when I went to school.
    One of my teachers was an absolute sadist. She enjoyed torturing and embarassing people in class. This was in the 7th and 8th grade. She was a drill sergeant and she drilled the class until they were ready to drop in memorizing the basics before they went to High School.
    If she had known what she was doing she would have been a very good teacher. She knew nothing about memorizing. She did have tenure and was immune from being fired. Though I think she probably needed to be.
    As a person that has many teachers over the years I can say she was a competent drill sergeant and incompetent in teaching the why and how of things.
    That drilling did give me basics in math, spelling, and other memorization things that others did not get. In that, she was valuable. It is never black and white. It is always a combination of good and bad in teaching.
    My talent is ideas. I see things differently. I often see angles that other people miss. One person described it as seeing ideas in 3-d. It is true. My memory isn’t that great. I have to fight to learn and have done so most of my life.

    The best training I have ever had was as an apprentice printer. I was trained by some of the best in the shop. This was at the late age of 26-31 years of age after service in the military. Most normally are trained between 17-18 years of age. It is a college education in a trade.
    Over the years it gave me a good income. Our trade went through a virtual revolution over 40 years. I had to re-learn the trade at least 6 times in that career.

    The trade started building ads in hot type on a metal saw.
    I ended up using a computer and graphic arts training.
    I never had a 20,000 dollar fee for college. SO I was far ahead of these college grads.

  • boatkitten

    I’m sure that all the students failed to write about “Sir Walter RAWLEIGH”. The person who created this test wasn’t so smart either.

    • Terrye Newkirk

      Raleigh had several variant spellings of his name (Ralegh, etc., as did most in the 16th and 17th Centuries, including Shakespeare (Shaksper, etc.).

      • Forward Russia!

        Actually Terrye I can tell you as a Brit, Sir William Shakespeare & Sir Walter Raleigh are BOTH spelt as above. Any variantion is just spelling errors of the time, they are wrong. Shakespeare did not write his name any other way…
        “Case Point”

        • Terrye Newkirk

          From Wikipedia: “The spelling of William Shakespeare’s name has varied over time. It was not consistently spelled any single way during his lifetime, in manuscript or in printed form. After his death the name was spelled variously by editors of his work and the spelling was not fixed until well into the 20th century.

          “The standard spelling of the surname as “Shakespeare” was the most common published form in Shakespeare’s lifetime, but it was not one used in his own handwritten signatures. It was, however, the spelling used by the author as a printed signature to the dedications of the first editions of his poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. It is also the spelling used in the First Folio, the definitive collection of his plays published in 1623, after his death.”

          So Shakespeare never wrote it that way. ;-)

          • R

            Using wikipedia is a reference only proves stupidity. I can go on wikipedia and type anything I want and create a page. Look in a real encyclopedia before you speak.

          • Terrye Newkirk

            I chose Wikipedia because I thought you could grasp it. Yes, I am stupid. That’s why I have an advanced degree in English Lit from a prestigious private university. Go be pathetic somewhere else. Next?

          • Terrye Newkirk

            Obviously, some of the commenters are the products of our current public school system. They’re the reason I quite teaching college. One can only stand so much. ::sigh::

          • Old_Nam_Squid

            The 12-volume Century Encyclopedic Dictionary (dated 1905 or thereabouts) proves that the above Wikipedia entry is quite truthful.
            Your ad-hominem attack — obviously without doing your homework — makes you look like the class clown.

    • chuck

      case in point… speak without knowing.

  • greanfinisher .

    To be fair, some of these exam questions were very poorly written so they could only invite errors. For example, I came up with $11.04 for Arithmetic Question #3, but I also included allowance for the ceiling & floor (since this was a hypothetical room). In Arithmetic Question #8, if the base was defined as 40 feet perpendicular from the top of the rope, it would have clarified things a bit. Perhaps they could have included a simple illustration to avoid any misinterpretation here.

    • jaxon64

      I did the same thing for question #3–but was also questioning whether they wanted just the 4 walls or also to include the inner top and bottom of this box….as to question #8, I just presumed that the 40 feet was perpendicular and the base length was at a right angle to the height-forming the right triangle ( which is how one figures it out)
      I would also have aced the physiology and spelling sections ( history and geography I would have been “passable”)–the grammar section would have probably gotten me repeating the 8th grade

      • greanfinisher .

        Well, they could have at least included simple illustrations with those particular arithmetic questions so as to avoid the questioning, assuming and presuming. As such, I think that the hardest part of those two mathematical questions was to try to read the mathematicians’ minds.

  • Of course America has been exponentially dumbed down and getting dumber each day. It’s not in the plantation owners best interest for the population to possess critical thinking skills because if they did, we’d have a guillotine party en masse for the banks, the CEOs and their Congre$$ional puppetry enablers.

  • Not paying taxes

    Back in 1992 I was an exchange student in the USA, coming from high school in Belgium…

    I was a top student in Belgium but not super intelligent… man… In the USA I felt like Einstein. (For those who don’t know, he was a very bright guy hehehe)
    AP Calculus was a joke. I could teach that class myself.

    I was even asked to move to AP English because the teacher told me after a week I spoke and wrote better English than some of her students LOL.

    And that’s 20 years ago…

    • Kat

      On a similar vein, in the ’60s, I was informed the schools in Alabama and Mississippi were the worst in the country. I attended first through eight in Alabama, ninth and tenth in Mississippi. Then, my family moved to Orlando. I didn’t crack a Latin or English book the last two years, coasted on what I’d learned in the so-called worst states. Most Florida courses were so easy, I never did assigned homework and yet performed well.

      • Mal

        Same results but from Alabama to California!

      • Veronica

        I took university classes in Mississippi and then in Ireland. I cannot begin to tell you how much easier it was in Ireland.

    • rootvg

      The Europeans were always better educated going back to the colonial days but we end up cleaning up their messes, geopolitically. World War I and II, that mess in the Balkans, etc. It never ends.

      • bizdoc

        Hmmmmm……they get us to clean up their messes…..guess they are smarter after all

  • Cronos17

    Piece of Cake, I’m home-schooled.

  • Cherie

    I think I need to study harder.

  • Chris

    I think America is dumbed down because they have allowed machines to do their thinking for them. So, they don’t have to use a certain faculty of the brain.. thinking, therefore by not exercising it, the brain atrophes just like any muscle. The continued result produces laziness. Being out of shape like that makes it hard to get back into shape. There is no pain in physical or mental laziness so there is no effort expended to gain alertness back (in this case) of the brain.

  • Tatiana Covington

    Lundy’s Lane? Oh, that. Who cares now about wars fought ca. 200 years ago?

    Eventually nobody will even recall they even occurred.

    I’m more concerned with the 23rd century than with the 19th.

    • Smart

      Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. We won’t be here in the 23rd century so why would you care about that either?

  • mleblanc138

    Yay, the Wasatch Mountains made it into the exam. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Wasatch Mountains form the eastern wall of most of Utah’s population and I live in Utah.

  • Diane Strong

    Students “that” can barely read? Students WHO can barely read. Even the writer makes this common mistake. Sigh.

    • Geoff

      Actually the use of “That” is acceptable, and “who” is incorrect, though “Whom” is the best choise

      • vball9sideout

        WHOM is not acceptable in this case. LOL.

  • hello

    I don’t see anything in that test that an eighth grader from an affluent area couldn’t answer!! When I went to kindergarten in the 1970s it was to play. My daughter is heading off to kindergarten this year reading, writing and doing math. The expectations are high…get inside a classroom before you make a blind post like this!

  • My our country is dumbing down! All this attempt at a standardized “all across the board” education is only making people more uniformly dumber to ensure equality for all with a bare minimum…

  • Gil

    Puh-lease! Any very old person will tell you few people went to high school and even fewer went to college. Not to mention how many who made into grade eight actually got good grades at that? Most men and women from 1912 would flunk that test. The notion that the masses are stupid and unwashed goes back millennia yet society goes on.

  • Nick

    In public school, from kindergarten to the 10th grade we were never taught a thing about the government. How sad. We just kept learning the same dumb crap every year.

  • astanhope

    Apocryphal. The photograph of the test is a Photoshop job and the test itself is incoherent as a test.

  • bigbossman71

    Here’s an equation for you:
    Even as the world’s population increases in number, the sum of the population’s IQ remains a constant.

  • VintageKitty

    I consider myself an intelligent person, but looking at that list makes me long to go back to school. I WANT to learn, and growing up nothing was challenging enough. I went to an advanced program, and it was amazing, but when we moved, no other school offered those programs.

    I wish we had free education like some other countries cause I want to go back to school so bad, but can’t afford it. :(

  • Janet C

    I have been hearing the sky is falling in regards to our Educational system for as long as I can remember. I can tell you for sure what my kids are required to know is well advanced of what I needed when I graduated HS in 1978. When my father who graduated from City College in NY under the GI Bill after WWII and then gained 4 degrees above his bachelors from various universities in engineering and math, looked at the Math work my son was doing in Junior year of HS in a public school, was completely blown away by how difficult it was and couldn’t remember if was something he had done in college or grad school. If Kids were taught those facts pretest, most would know them for the test, but who needs to know the shipping route from England to Manila in 2013?

    • dixmaestro

      Did your son rely on a calculator to do any of the work?? Big difference between the 70s when students were required to use their own brain, not some mechanical machine with a computer chip. Let your son do your father’s math without any technological assistance and see how far advanced he is.

      • Froward Russia!

        I work on computers and can tell you that people that think ‘doing it in your brain’ is better are short sighted and probably old.
        I get paid TWICE the average salary in the UK to do SQL / VBA which are glorified versions of algebra. Coding computers to do large scale maths is the future… i can program excel to do sums on 1 million different items in a few seconds…. do that with your brain.
        Ultimately, we learn to work and provide for our families while helping a bigger system… that system dictates what is required to get paid a certain amount – a shop clerk is always going to be the bottom rung of a short ladder so your smug comment of her $2 change is stupid itself

        • SandyToesSC

          You are a perfect example of an overeducated idiot who came of age after the Dept. of Education destroyed the concept of critical thinking.

        • The point of learning mathematics is not to do it fast, but do it right.

          Without understanding what you are doing, you can not tell if you are doing it right or wrong.

        • dixmaestro

          And when the power is out – how much will you accomplish without your fancy computer. We don’t always have computers handy to do everything in our lives. I don’t carry mine everywhere I go. Had a friend who was an engineer in a ship yard. The cad system went down – but he could still use his slide-rule and brain to figure out what was needed. Kept the place going for the 3 hours it took to get the computers back up and running. The guy with the university degree who was sitting at the next desk looked at his work and said “how did you manage to figure that out?” Oh that would be with his own brain, not a computer chip. Computers are fine in their place, but if you can’t figure out change for $2.00 using your brain, good luck when the power is out.

          • Mama62

            So in the world we live in today and for the future, how much classroom time should be allocated to teaching the use of a slide rule vs. learning computer skills? Knowledge of which subject will be more useful in our day to day world? A lot of folks who thing that 8th grade test is an indication of today’s lack of literacy probably doesn’t understand what is actually being taught in today’s schools. We can ‘t forget that as we shift the focus to math and science and away from the humanities, we leave out the lessons that must be learned from history to keep us from slipping backwards. We need to teach history and civics in a way that is interesting and meaningful. We need to be sure that geography is at least part of the discussion and that the arts are not neglected. Math and science is important, but so are the others, equally so, to create a person who is capable of absorbing a higher education and actually being productive beyond just work..

  • ruggerfist

    YHWH bless my teachers. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when learning was paramount. Especially bless Dr Kaylor who taught me of the tyranny of captured government he claimed we were held under and this was in the late seventies. He always said he taught from the shoulders of giants.

  • piccadillybabe

    If kids are not learning in school today, why are they in school at all? The costs of education are astromical and we end up with a bunch of kids that can barely read and write much less perform simple math calculations. Schools are basically serving as babysitters since both parents work and no one is home during the day. The teachers are also products of our poor educational system. Kids could learn more at home with a computer and some simple learning modules to get through the grades but since mom and no one else is home anymore, the schools are just babysitters and nothing more.

  • Rob

    Many useless facts are needed for this test. For example, very few people need to know how much wood is in a chord today. We have electricity and gas supplied directly to our homes. The importance of specific waterways and which states border the Ohio river??? Useless to survive and thrive in today’s world, especially if you don’t live near these waterways. It’s not important for me to know this information. I can hire FedEx or another logistics company to figure that out. We don’t have to do it all anymore, people. Our economy has EVOLVED past that. And before any of you wackadoos drop some line about our economy being in shambles, pick at time in the recent past, say in 2002, when you think the economy was great and tell me I’m wrong. If you do, you’re either a liar or living under a rock.

    And my kids are doing pre-calculus in 8th grade. This test as a real-world example of how “dumb” we’ve become is a joke. The sky is falling!!!!

    • LN

      I heat my house with a wood stove, knowing how much wood is in a cord (and using the correct spelling) is VERY relevant. I also have heat when superstorm sandy (or the likes of it) drops the hammer on everyone else.
      I can’t even begin to address the rest of this incredibly ignorant comment. Good luck to you.

  • Musivick

    the program is to have people driven by instincts and emotion (Limbic part of brain)

    rather than by higher thought area (cerebal cortex)
    see just how Deep the Dumbing Down really is !

  • Elizabeth

    I disagree with the consensus here… I think that most of the questions in the test are purely memorization. Although a few *could* be considered otherwise in a different format (such as an essay), these are short answer questions that seek a specific answer. They surely covered all of the material extensively in class and knew exactly what to say to get the correct answer.

    In college, I have a professor who uses a similar method, and honestly his classes were some of the easiest I took.

    As for whether or not I can answer all of those questions perfectly, no, not without a couple hours to study the material in question. I do have the skills necessary to learn the material and retain the information, but the subject matter of our education system has obviously changed. If our 8th grade tests were exactly the same as the ones 100 years ago, THAT would be pathetic. Yes, that information is still important, but the learning experience has to evolve to fit the world around it.

    I’m not saying our system is perfect, but I don’t think it’s as bad as some people are claiming.

    • dixmaestro

      I was in a store in Buffalo yesterday. My purchase came to $18.69 and the cashier rang it in with the $20.00 bill I had before I got out the words “I have the 69 cents here.” When I said it, she looked at me like I was from another planet and said “The amount of change is already showing.” She had no clue that if I gave her the 69 cents she would return two dollars even. So – is technology a good replacement for brain knowledge? I don’t think so. Even memorizing facts keeps your brain efficiency at a higher level. No different than sports – why stretch and warm-up before every game or practice if you know how to perform the skills? Keeps the muscles working efficiently.

  • Asa

    I bet the kids today get a medal for getting their names and the date correct ! Am I right? lol………………

  • Arizona

    WHAT do you mean the kids of america have been dumbed down,their parents were good at sucking off the government,the grandparents were good at sucking off the government,and todays kids are better then any generation in the past at sucking off the government,their going to make great slaves in china,the chinese won’t have any trouble training them because their head is almost completely empty,and they’ll do what ever their new masters tell them and won’t even bitch about it…………..

  • Arizona

    NOW as everyone has heard,you have to swear,that your willing to fire on the american people to get into the US MILITARY now,and be willing to fire on the members of your own family,this is what america wanted,you know, a blood thristy killer in every family……..who ain’t smart enough to come in out of the rain,..BUT IS A CRACK SHOT,…”AT killing someones children”……………….

  • Arizona

    HERES a piece of advice,.GET CLOSE TO THE LORD,you don’t want to go through tribulation,its going to be a bloodbath to end all bloodbaths of history,THE POPULATION of america went past the point of no return years ago,and DICTATORSHIPS are hell on earth,america is going to be destroyed by the good law abiding citizens,WHO WILL NEVER understand what went went wrong with dumbing down 4 generations of kids…………

  • Colin

    A few years ago, I enrolled in an Algebra class. The instructor stated that in his class that each student had to write a brief summation on how they arrived at their answer. It didn’t matter if the person’s answer was correct. It was far more important to know that the person was thinking. I walked out.

    I think we can see the dumbing down of our education by seeing what has happen to the channels that used to focus on history and science. Here are some articles:

    George Carlin did a classic skit on education:

  • Cray Morrison

    There’s no master plan, only a lack of personal responsibility and complacency. I was an idiot in grade-school and high school, wasted the opportunity provided by free public education by refusing to participate, instead, spending most my time trying to fit in and be cool, just like a lot of other kids because that is what the emphasis is on in this country the last 50+ years. Of course I got through 12 years of school not stupid, I just didn’t care about the grades.

    I was 10 or 11 when I realized the dangers of believing in organized religion, or believing in all that hogwash presented to us as fact in our History books such as Columbus discovering America, the first “Americans” at Plymouth Rock or that we live in a democracy when the government continually serves those with the most cash.
    Yea, so I don’t believe government wants stupid people, the corporations do, and they are who run this country. They want you to keep focusing on everything that doesn’t matter, the material things, the possessions and keeping up with the Jones’s because that is what makes the order in this world.

    What is true evolution for someone living in this world today is when he/she is able to pull his own plug from the “standards” of the time and be their own person, think freely. A nation of these individuals could throw down any corporate run government. We simply aren’t that nation, and the people in the board-rooms who run the people in government know this. And they laugh all the way to their private islands and mansions….

  • Chris

    I can’t correct grammar or spelling or basic logic failure by any person I know without being yelled at for being a smart**s. I don’t think it’s too much to ask someone to speak properly. Then if you want to get into math or science – forget about it. Conversations with people I consider smarter than average typically make me feel dumber these days. Great men used to give great speeches with well articulated and grand words and sentence structures. Now those men would insult most people with their “wordy” and “condescending” and “smarta** (asinine for those who appreciate those great men)” verbal slaughter of the masses’ poor uneducated ears. Luckily, kids today can write webpage coding, troubleshoot graphics card hardware and driver conflicts, and teach themselves anything they want with the use of youtube or I would have completely lost hope in our country.

  • j m1

    if you want to know about the education of america, go to the website it will tell you Alot. the education in this country is failing miserably and it does not bother our leaders; what a shame. if the education fails, the economy fails.

    • Michael Chastain

      “it will tell you Alot.”

      Seems the education system failed you too.

  • magneto

    On the question about the liver, note the sentence: “What does it secrate” shouldn’t that be “secrete” ?? :D

  • Zeus

    It isn’t necessarily that we are dumber today (we may be, but its not the only reason the test is harder). We need different types of knowledge to survive. Our students today learn the same subjects, but also have to learn about technology, expanded business knowledge, more about different countries…too bad we can’t go back and ask a student from 1912 to talk about the Middle East or Asia. Or learn varieties of software types for their computer lab. That stuff is more important today than random facts about rivers.

  • gjones

    If I remember right, there’s something in Agenda 21 that calls for dumbing down kids to reduce industrialization. So, with MAP-21 signed, it’ll probably only get worse.
    I like ‘grammar 7’, “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver”. That’ll sure never fly nowadays.

  • Theskyisfalling

    “But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen.”

    Try this:

    “Once in a while a historical factoid comes along reminding us how far we’ve fallen.”

    I doubt the author could answer any of these questions either.

  • C’mon people

    Could it also be that students are learning a lot more these days than just reading writing arithmetic and a little science. I am 31 and kids today are learning things that even I didn’t have to learn. It’s becoming information overload as opposed to the government wanting to dumb us down. Not everything is a conspiracy. There is too much information and too many concepts and not enough time to master them all. That is why, I believe, students are graduating without basic skills.

  • Forward Russia!

    (I’m from UK by the way…)
    For those talking of your own kids poor education in the states: TURN YOUR TV OFF AND PUT THE EFFORT IN YOURSELVES!
    We can’t rely on the state to purely educate children, the real risk is a lack of questioning. Questions lead to more questions that lead to awkward answers for people in power. Don’t let the state bring your kid up as a drone, go to museums, help them to enjoy learning and take pride in what they achieve with your support. Motivate them to keep clear from 153 hours of tv a week …it’s this dependancy on the state to educate, and media to entertain, that leads to generations of young people struggling to cope with the modern world, hooked on happy-pills because they’re uncapable of seeing hope in the world.
    To many people in the UK discuss the governement like they flick the switches of our happiness on and off. I do believe a more equal state of play would improve everyones lives, and we are in dark times in regards to leaderships – Oblah blah in America is a disgusting waste of a nobel peace prize as far as the world can see, he’s done nothing peaceful in his leadership.
    Ultimately, the US lacks ‘dangerous thinkers’ – people that will follow their idialistic hearts and make real change.

    • Kadja2

      Dammit you’re right!

  • DadlyEdly

    While I agree with most of the article, the idea that you can deduce the intelligence of the president based on the content of the State of the Union Address is a fallacy. The presidents speech is designed to be understood, usually by people other than himself and then approved by him.

    If you are wondering why education is getting worse in this country, look no further than standardized testing that encourages it. “No Child Left Behind” encourages states to write tests that every child can pass by defunding education in states that have less than a steadily increasing pass rate (eventually reaching 100%,) and then having teachers teach to the test. It’s unworkable. If you demand that every child pass the test, regardless of what they know, have learned, or are capable of learning, and then teach to that test, you will not get an educated population.

  • Anonymous

    Every question was extremely easy and I’m in 8th grade. And a survey from OK doesn’t mean squat about the country.

  • Gary

    What a great test. I know some of the necessary information has changed, but still, medicine, math, geography, history, English language and the other questions that we didn’t see that were administered by the individual teacher. I’m impressed and depressed at the same time!

  • blah, blah

    agreed! its part of no plan. it has evolved this way. Kids on Asia/Middle east are smarter than white kids here. Off shore countries are more academically inclined.

  • AbdusSalam Yahyaa

    I wonder if the dumbing down of America is not just because of a need for the Gov to control the people, but instead, it is a result of our junk media culture, where the tv has replaced books.

  • putupjob

    It has been noted that the “greatest generation” had built modern urban america and had fought world war II that had manufactured tens of thousands of planes and tanks and thousands of warships. And the people of that time had, on average, an eighth grade education.

    Reading the exam from a few decades earlier, it was “that kind of an eighth grade education”.

    The dumbing down of America is near complete.

  • Chris

    Americans are not stupid. White Americans, that it. The USA seems dumber because you are trying to accommodate dumber people in your schools and public life. This is an expensive failure.

    White American IQ scores are 100 – 105, on average. This compares well, globally. Black Americans average 75-80, and Mexican Americans average 80-85. These averages are constant, not changing with education or income. (Not that Americans will ever be told this by their craven government.)

    Black children from the wealthiest families still average IQ scores close to 85. This is far lower than the average for white (or Asian) children coming from the poorest corners of the Earth, with generations of grinding poverty, war, and malnutrition behind them. ‘Dumb’ caucasians and Asians are still leagues ahead of ‘smart’ blacks and Hispanics.

    God help America for letting low IQ ethnic groups have the vote. You get Obama as payment for all your efforts to help them. And your children suffer black and Hispanic brutality on a daily basis.

    If you love your children, change this.

    • Kadja2

      One cannot change two things from a keyboard: bad teaching practices and bad parenting.

  • fat_cyborg

    Times New Roman font was made when?

  • madisontruth

    Today’s extreme right wing political party wants it’s lemmings to be compliant and willing subjects. Questioning official policy is tantamount to the actions of a traitor.

  • Michelle

    At the beginning of the 20th century, only 50% of white children were enrolled in school. The numbers were even lower for black children. It would be a fallacy to say that this test represents general knowledge at the time. I wonder what the results would be if we compared only the top 50% of our current students. I’ll bet they’d be more favorable.

  • Carla

    We are not dumber, none of the questions on the test are relevant to know in order to get by in today’s world. The idiots in 1912 wouldn’t know how to post this comment if you set and iPad in front of them. They wouldn’t be launching a rocket to the moon this very night. We are much more intelligent know. Some people just chose to be ignorant. The world is at our fingertips and we are killing each other over oil and gods.

    • kerston

      “We are much more intelligent know” I think you meant “now”

  • Cali Will

    Skip ahead to 5:00 minutes into the video I explain “Standardization” ie what No Child Left Behind has done to education.

  • Badgerbadgerbadgerbadger

    But… they spelt endeavor wrong in the spelling section… Who’s dumb now, 1912??

    • kerston


  • Guest

    “endeavor” is misspelled in the spelling portion – thought that was funny. Otherwise, article is 100% spot on. I work in educational testing and let me tell you – it is incredible the difference between now and just 20 years ago.

  • Bruce C.

    Believe it or not, I think that people associate anti-intellectualism with affluence and laizze-faire freedom.

  • Janet W.

    The METHODS Of teaching, influenced by European post-modernism

  • Janet W.

    The progressive METHODS of teaching influenced by European post-modernist intellectualism need to be looked into and challenged. Read an excellent article, “The Comprachicos” to understand and combat.

    Also if we ever had “public” schools, they surely are no more. We have GOVERNMENT-run schools, and this should be what we call them outright as they are, if we are EVER going to see meaningful change — assuming this is exactly what we want. Support home and free market education. Take your children back from the government. Take your freedom back — for you and for them. Leave your future generations a legacy.

  • frank

    I don’t know the exam seemed pretty easy to me.

    Keep in mind giving the exam to current students is not a good comparison if they did not study the material.

    Imagine you studied the material on the exam. Do you think you could pass it?

    • Sam Cane

      That’s true – however I still think – based on other information besides this test – that education has been lowered in an effort to include as many as possible. Back then if a kid didn’t get it, they could become a common laborer. Education was for those qualified to achieve it. Another thing is the lack of fill in the blank testing today. There is a reason slackers hate coming up with the answer from scratch. The subject matter has to be in deep memory.

  • A sad college student

    I love how the moron who wrote this complains that he’s dumb, and its someone else’s fault.
    Maybe if we didn’t have so many religious nutjobs demanding creation be taught in schools, we would be better at math and science.
    And by the way, if you follow the link to the posting of the original exam, it says “Don’t use this to compare skill, different information was relevant at the time.”

    • Jarrad Williams

      LOL!!! “Demanding that creation be taught in schools….” Since when have those demands been adhered to in public education? Those demands have no affect on the results of what they are currently NOT teaching properly. You’ll have to come up with a better excuse than that.

  • A sad college student

    (Also, the liberal northeast has tons of fantastic schools wheras the religious/conservative south is where all these shameful statistics seem to be coming from. Sooooooo stop blaming “liberals”.)

  • GoldenEagles

    “Let that mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus” Remember that?

    Reverence unto God is the light that carries intelligence and power into the mind of man. The more the mind absorbs the spirit of mockery unto Christ, the more in shadow does it dwell.

    This American culture swims in an ocean of such mockery and disdain. In this dark and polluted thinking space the people cannot see beyond the tip of their own nose.

    This used to be a reverent nation. And that was the key to her genius. It is a reverent nation no more. And that is the key to her downfall.

    The first step to reversing this situation, and establishing a reverse current of Light in every problem area America faces, is to restore the institution of Prayer to the Public Schools.

    Yet, where is there any hope for taking a step in the direction of national salvation, when in a group of people like this, who would be expected to have this level of attunement with the Light of Conscience, and yes, I am speaking of this group, that in 139 comments thus far, this principle has not even been alluded to.

    I say to my friends, when you swim in the polluted pool of the national culture, your vision is no more penetrating than those who are pouring the pollution into the national culture. And that is a problem.

    I dare say, that if anyone here had the gumption in their heart to stand up and agree with me, he might start to move in the direction, but would quickly sit back down before opening his mouth for FEAR that he would be considered a moron along with me.

    And that is why Christ said, blessed are they who are not offended in me. They are blessed in this respect at least, as they have no fear, or least their allegiance to truth is powerful enough to overcome their fear.

    Gauge the extent to which this step in the right direction, is possible in America today. Give it a percentage value.

    I will give you my percentage value. ZERO PERCENT. To the extent that there is no hope of taking a step in what is actually the right direction, to that extent is there no hope, none, for the Saving of America.

    If you don’t mind the overused metaphor, people will continue to play their games upon the deck of the Titanic, until the very day that the angle of that deck becomes so steep, that they will all be swept over the railing, and into the sea.

    No one had any idea how to patch the hole in the side of the boat.

    The Pillar of Light, 12 feet in diameter, rising into the sky as far as the eye can see, from its point of origin in my front yard, attracting the immediate attention of the national and worldwide media, will help to get the people’s attention to the truth. Though it will not be enough by itself. The onrushing storm will play an important role in that respect.

  • Adianis

    public schooling in america is extremely dumbed down. i attended a private school and could easily answer most of these questions by 8th grade, and when i went to a public high school i was shocked to see what kids learn in 9th grade i learned in 6th. Teachers literally go too slow and spoonfeed the children, treating them like idiots. IMO this is degrading.

    Also, it says right on the source link not to compare then and now.

    Nice job, idiotic website. Learn to read.

  • Sam Cane

    and this test was all fill in the blanks – or better yet, pen the answer in however many words needed.

  • Jakob

    It’s funny, because we HAVE learned most of this in school. Not only that, the general IQ is somewhat higher now than it has ever been. This is also a bit unrelated, but there HAS to be Socialist ideas within the Laissez-fair system of economics (Capitalism). Cops? Firefighters? Minimum wage? Those came from the government; therefore, it is a product of Socialism, or at least, as much as your mind can fathom. Read the Jungle, and you will know exactly what I mean. The working class will become slaves. In other words, you think your freedoms are limited now? Open up a history book some time and you will see just how well your standard of living is. By the way, Ronald Reagan was NOT some deity. His occupation before he went into politics was an actor! One could say that he won because of his popularity in that business. HE is also the reason there are so many homeless people, considering that he had closed down a lot of the asylums. Reagan was an imbecile, and people should start coming to terms with that. Oh, and by the way, Communism was created as an outcry against Capitalism because the latter was used to oppress the people back in the mid 1800’s. Aforementioned, read the Jungle. It is based off true events. I also must disclaim that I am NOT, in any way, advertising Communism. Everything (meaning every political idea or economic idea as of right now) has its flaws. As of right now, there is not a single way of running a country politically or fiscally that would be perfect, and Capitalism isn’t the closest to doing so, either. But neither is Communism. None is closer than the other.

    • Michael Chastain

      “the general IQ is somewhat higher now than it has ever been.”

      No it’s not. Average IQ will always be 100, by definition.

  • David Sims

    Test question. Gravity is an inverse square central force acting between two masses having a magnitude F=GM₁M₂/r², where G is the gravitational constant, and r is the separation between the masses. The two masses are initially at rest separated by a distance r=d. Find how much time will elapse from the moment r=d/2 until the moment r=d/3.

  • Ray Bottorff Jr

    Ok, first of all, just because a eight grade test asked questions in 1912 that they do not ask of students today, does not necessarily mean society has been “dumbed down”.

    Remember in 1912, you were just as likely to have dropped out of school by this point as you were to have gone to college. The majority did not even graduate high school. This was a “superior” education system?

    Also look at those questions. They focus a lot on wars and rote memory. Nothing in these questions hint that the persons who knew the answers were actually smarter than we are today. They just were trained to remember a fact, that is all.

    And there is also a lot of questions that could have been asked, that I guarantee they would have never learned. Would they learned about Susan B. Anthony? No women could vote in Federal elections in 1912. Would they learn about Frederick Douglas? Doubtful, and it is more likely the “science” of phrenology would have been mentioned as to why African-Americans could not rise out of poverty after slavery. Would they know about anything that happened in China over the previous 100 years before that date (Opium Wars, Boxer Rebellion)? much less how their ancestors invented paper, gunpowder, or printing? Would the slave trade been discussed (yeah right)? Or the what had happened to the Native Americans (only in so far as the Western man “civilized” them)?

    And so on.

    This is not a refection of anything of anything, except what was considered priority learning in its day.

  • Alakna

    There is a big difference between memorizing facts and dates (as in this exam and the survey examples) and critical thinking, creative problem solving, and preserverence. As a 6th grade teacher, I can tell you I see amazing examples of young people meeting and exceeding these challenging expectations: writing entire novels, designing and building sustainable buildings, debating the strength of a campaign or argumentative essay. That is what is needed in today’s world. Facts and dates can be looked up, but these skills are much more marketable, versatile, and valuable to a productive and fulfilling life. I hate when people bash the American Education system based on abstract data and standardized tests. Spend a day in a classroom. You’ll be singing a different tune.

    • Kadja2

      Yet most teachers are forced to teach to those standardized test and if the students fail despite all of their efforts, it can cost the teachers their jobs and the students to be held back. Many quit within 5 years of being in the field over this. This is why they need to scrap the testing except to use it to measure what the curriculum needs to be focused on for the next year–not to penalize students who may fail due to things like test anxiety and such. If anything they need to bring back the California Achievement Test because it was only given every few years to determine what needed to be taught over the next cycle.

  • Opinionater

    Whoa whoa whoa. There is a difference between the acquirement of knowledge and the actual measure of intelligence. They are closely intertwined, but one does not have to know where a country might lay on a map in order to be intelligent.

  • Specialteacher

    I get very irritated when people assume that we should be teaching the exact same material that was taught 100 years ago. Why does any 8th grader today need to know what waters a ship would pass through to get from England to Manilla? Also, many children then didn’t even finish eight grade. If they did, then this exam was their final to demonstrate all the knowledge they had gained from 8 years of schooling? Seems like very little knowledge to me. Not to mention that the children I teach, children with special needs, would not even have the right to an education. Now, I certainly have issues with our current educational system. There is absolutely too much federal government involvement in public education. But going back 100 years is not the answer.

    • Kadja2

      I do not think it means to teach the exact same material but to use material in regular classrooms that will lead students to use deductive reasoning. It certainly doesn’t hurt to teach them Geography by using the example you complain about either.

  • Alisha

    I think saying it’s rare to find a student reading a book not required for school is incorrect. I’m in 8th grade & while I do agree we’re being dumbed down, I love to read. I don’t have a cellphone get confiscated in class; I have /books/ confiscated. While I don’t think they’ve gotten books taken in class, the majority of my friends do, in fact, love to read.

    • Kadja2

      Keep on reading kid! You’re going to do great! If the teachers are smart, they’ll pay attention to you and respect your opinion!

  • Josh Pennington

    I contend that todays 8th grader can do more than this test… so they are not dumbed down.

    • Josh Pennington

      For instance, the rope and building question is simple pythagorean theorem… which is basic algebra / geometry. The rope is the hypotenuse… so 40^2 + 30^2 = The square root of the answer. An 8th grader can do that. The only thing I see them struggling with would be the History/Government section, simply because History is ever growing… todays kid has an extra 100 years of world history to learn.

  • Heather Crabbe

    Here’s the thing. 1st of all, no, I cannot complete all of this test. However, if I were to study all of the information in a course, I would certainly be able to do so, as would many other Americans today. 2nd of all, in the early 1900s, a relatively small percentage of the population finished (or even went to) high school. Most people went to work in laboring jobs as soon as they were able to, many of which are unavailable today, or require a much higher level of education. With a greater influx of students into the secondary levels of education, a “dumbing down” of the curriculum is inevitable. 100% of U.S. citizens below the age of 16 are required to go to school. Expecting all of them to reach the same exacting standards of the educational system geared toward the less than 10% who graduated from “high school” in the early 1900s is absurd.
    3rd of all, much of today’s curriculum is geared toward critical thinking rather than the rote memorization favored in the past. Thus, being able to solve problems, think creatively, be persuasive, etc. are seen as more important than knowing who settled Georgia, which states border the Ohio river, or how to diagram a sentence.
    However, it is of course troubling that much of the U.S. is behind other nations with regard to science and mathematics proficiency. There is no easy fix for this; the schools are underfunded, teachers unappreciated, and students unmotivated. Of course, we also spend so much time watching TV and movies and playing video games or on the internet. However, to suggest that a test geared to only a tiny percentage of the population almost one hundred years ago should be a benchmark for 100% of the population of 14 year olds today is misleading.

  • Teacher

    Anyone who knows anything about common core knows that these skills are way below eighth grade level. If you were educated, you would know that. Placement value in decimals is taught in 5th grade… Parts of speech? Pronouns? All elementary level skills. Comparatives and superlatives? My fifth and sixth graders would ace this. However, you are correct that history and science are not emphasized until 8th and 8th grade.

    • Teacher

      8th and 9th grade (correction)

  • Hegetarian

    //Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent// Our currency has become so devalued that kids these days have never seen old George :/

  • gmalarki

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength

    –George Orwell, 1984

    I am not shocked because I inherited some old McGuffey
    readers back around 1965 when I was 15.

    The first 5 selctions selections from McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader, 1866, Sargant, Wilson, & Hinkle, Cincinnati:

    The Grotto of Antiparos—Goldsmith
    Description of a Storm—D’Israeli
    Industry Necessary for the Orator—H.Ware,Jr.
    Schemes of Life Often Illusory—Dr.(Samuel) Johnson
    Death of Little Nell—(Charles) Dickens

    Skimming the Table of Contents

    A Poitical Pause—(Charles James) Fox
    Speech in Reproof of Mr.Pitt—(Sir Robert) Walpole
    Reply to Sir Robert Walpole—(William) Pitt (the elder; later Lord Chatham)
    Speech Before the Virginia Convention—Patrick Henry
    Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa—The Bible
    Massachusetts and South Carolina–(Daniel) Webster
    Folly of Intoxication—(William) Shakespeare
    Origin of Property—(Justice Sir William) Blackstone

    I got arguments from people old enough to know better who contended that book would not really have been used in Sixth Grade.

    To bring about ”the new sociaist man” requires people willing to let the “Great Noble Holy Perfect Leader” do all their thinking for them. If people know too much, they are likely to start to think for themselves and thus the narcissistic would be total leader will have too much difficutly controlling them. And passing off absurd lies
    like Marx’s exploitation the, equality of income is the key to prosperity, or the government can provide free health care for all by only taxing “the rich.”

    For what it is worth, it appears the book had been owned by a Harry Berg then sold or handed down to Charley H. Rarey of Kenoton, Ohio in the early 1880s.

  • frankly2

    The math is grade school stuff but I like the emphasis on history and government.

  • Derp

    Tests are only hard if you don’t know the answers. I’m sure if this stuff was taught and studied nowadays, the kids could pass it.

  • kelly

    In 1912, there weren’t even child-labor laws. If you were in 8th grade, you were lucky, and that was likely your last stop, especially if you were female. If you were lucky enough to still be in school, then it stands to reason that you were in a domestic situation that allowed for academic pursuits, i.e., your schoolwork would be your main purpose at that point in your life. The world is very different now: childhood and adolescence are understood as lasting longer (our lifespans have increased, so longer “incubation” periods in development make sense), and technology has brought about a global society. Certainly, some children are spending time watching television mindlessly or doing pointless things on the internet, but we live in an infinitely more social world. Children have far more varied information to take in than was available to children in 1912. There really is no comparison between an eighth grader in 1912 and one now—median marital ages have gone up, etc.

  • Nick Cifonie

    Maybe the author here couldn’t pass this, but I would, and so would my kids.

  • Malia

    Yes, entertainment has something to do with it, we certainly waste a lot of time doing essentially nothing. But just to keep everything in reference – how many of us have “crammed” for an exam right before hand. You study the topic the test will be on and only remember a fraction of it. 8th graders who knew they were going to be tested in this material would study for it. They might not remember 100% of the answers the next year, let alone as adults. Just saying.

  • BK

    With each diploma…. A modified copy of the shirt shown ,with the arrow pointing UP, should be awarded…..

    This article was fantastic. I loved the copy of that test… I will take it myself to see if I need a shirt!

  • GreatNewYear

    The future never looks bright.

    People have been saying the same thing about our youth for the past 100 years.. Guess what? It doesn’t matter.. WE are the most innovative country in the world.

  • CV

    It is inconclusive to state that because one exam which focuses on memorization of answers can serve as proof of the downing down of American education. If we compare the amount of information from that era, our society has grown in terms of understanding the natural world and applying this knowledge to the creation of goods that benefit man kind. It is important to understand that there is a problem with the educational system, but to do a generalization based on and old exam in order to appeal to and audience is erroneous.

  • seachelle777

    what would the students of today do if more was expected out of them?? They are trained not to think too much, apparently. And they dont have to go far to find answers–google. The ability to think analytically and be logical is not a sought after ability in today’s young people…they could care less. Mommy and Daddy are buying it for them, google is looking it up for them, Mcdonald’s is making it fast for them, they get a trophy JUST for showing up…..their brains are mush…why would they make effort if they don’t have to?

  • Hannah Dougherty

    This is an urban legend…the only idiots here are the ones who believe it and of course the guy who wrote it without properly checking his facts.

  • An Informed Person

    I cringe with you, this is also an economics/class thing. My
    grandfather, who was working class, quit school after the fourth grade
    to work in the factory. My grandmother, from a farming background, was
    in the fields by the time it would have been her eighth grade year.
    Neither ever had the privilege of going to eighth grade, much less
    taking a test like this. I’m sure neither would have passed.

    1912, school was not compulsory, most people from the working class did
    not make it through high school, and those who finished were from a
    class of people who had time to study and to give their kids advantages.

  • Gail Knapp

    “The good old days” are a fiction. The children who may have been able to answer the questions in this test did not know how to run a computer or the steps in the scientific method. Real education is not about memorizing facts but knowing how to think.

  • SocraticGadfly

    So, what percentage of 1912 students got this right? You don’t say that.

  • TNT

    Spelling: Eneeavor?

  • Shane Anthony Marcotte

    Can I see the answers?

  • Have to share it! When we had to learn, what happened? Well their are many smart people that blame the Government, and most are right. It seems with conduct befitting a felon it was decided to declare war on its own people! Such a Shame.

  • guest

    You know to the answers that you put up says in like the first few lines that different things were emphasized in 1912 and this test shouldn’t be a metric to compare past and present students.

  • John Jamison

    Sounds like a faked story. The math questions were all over the place. Figuring a hypotenuse (rope length). And figuring out interest rate relationships. Why would that be on the same test. Something is missing with this story. I would say, common sense.

  • AJ Holt

    I have been saying this for years. And it is sad. I struggled with math all through school and I can not stress enough to young people how important it is. I manage a small retail store and teach everyone of my employees how to count change back. If I catch them pulling out a calculator to count change back (because they entered the wrong amount in), I stop them and count with them.
    And don’t get me started on applications. I was taught how to fill one out as a sophomore. It amazes me how many people (both young and “middle aged”) do not know how to fill them out. Its a sad sad time in our country.

  • mcrazie16

    They want us smart enough to operate their machine but dumb enough to not ask questions!

  • Michael Chastain

    Looked up some modern middle school exams. Here’s a few sample questions:

    All of the following are membrane-bound organelles except:

    A. Nucleoli
    B. Chromoplasts
    C. Mitochondira
    D. Endoplasmic reticulum

    The number of red frogs exceeded the number of blue frogs by 80. The number of green frogs was 20 less than the number of blue frogs. If there were 120 blue fogs, what was the sum of the reds, the blues, and the greens?

    Name the only Great Lake that lies entirely within the U.S. borders

    Which of the following best summarizes the contributions of Muslim scholars to the development of science in the period circa
    700–1400 C.E.?

    (A) They worked in isolation from the Chinese and Indian scholars of the same period.
    (B) They made advances mostly in medicine and the life sciences.
    (C) Most of their works became known to European scholars only in the 19th and 20th centuries.
    (D) They preserved the scientific tradition of the ancient world and expanded it

    Kids learn all kinds of “hard” stuff. We just forget it 15 minutes after the test. I’m sure the kids in 1912 did too.

    • reality_smack

      Thank you! I feel better now.

    • Michael

      No kidding. Most of these math and science questions were covered by 6th grade for me. This test in 8th grade would have been a complete joke.

      • justaboyinsanfran

        Lying liar.

  • unclesam

    I find it fairly ironic that this article is talking about the dumbing down of America, yet the proof is in the rhetorical comments below where people are trying to show the reasons for the downfall. All the two party system is good for is finger pointing and blame. That has become the essential purpose for the powers to be to keep it intact. “Argumentative Discourse takes you farther from the truth.”

  • Brad Hamilton

    I thank you, Michael, for bringing this test to our attention, supplying the answers and pointing out the horrifying deficiencies in the American education system.

    However, as a stickler for proper grammar, punctuation and clarity, I feel compelled to opine that some of your sentences need work. You might not appreciate my making this suggestion. When I’ve done so in the past, the offer frequently goes unappreciated. Indeed, it often earns me nothing but scorn.

    Still, I call your attention to one example:

    We have millions of kids “graduating from high school” that can barely
    read, that have almost no ability to speak in public, that cannot write a
    decent essay and that cannot balance a checkbook.

    A better version:

    are millions of American kids who graduate from high school who can
    barely read, who have almost no aptitude for public speaking, who cannot
    write a persuasive essay or balance a checkbook.

    My explanation:

    have” is not clear. Who is we?

    The phrase graduating from high school
    refers to a fact — it should not be put in quotation marks as a means
    of questioning the graduates’ skills.

    When referring to a person, one
    should use who, not that.

    If one is not mute, lacking other means to
    vocalize or suffering from an incapacitating psychological
    malady, one has the ability to speak in public. You appear
    to mean that American children are not proficient in public speaking.

    If one’s essay contains no profanity, vulgarity or sentiments that
    might cause public outrage, the essay might be considered decent. What
    I think you mean is that children today are less capable of writing a
    successful essay than in the past. As the common objective of an
    essay is to persuade the reader, I suggest that persuasive is more
    accurate than decent.

    –Brad Hamilton

  • May

    Notwithstanding that the eighth grade test most likely only involved white young men who received more intensive education and probably lived in an affluent environment.

  • Jen Kurtz

    Wow, I am so ashamed of us. I graduated 13 years ago, and I feel like my peers would have been able to answer these questions. This is so sad, and scary.

  • David

    I’m sorry, but these questions are not hard for eighth graders. They may have different questions, but the concepts are the same especially in math and biology.

    It doesn’t mean we can’t make our schools better, but they are not dumber than this test.

  • Veronica

    I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I went to public school (in the south) and my 8th grade tests were much more difficult than that.

  • Veronica

    I don’t know if I’m the only one (actually, I know I’m not), but I went to public school in the south and my 8th grade tests were much more difficult than these.

  • Garrett

    sure, there are a few i would have trouble with, but most of these problems were pretty simple, im confident i would have passed it at least

  • falzf

    It all sounds very bad until you remember that the percentage of Americans who made it to the eighth grade in 1912 compared to the percentage of Americans who make it to the eighth grade in 2013 is significantly lower. In 1912, child labor was still legal; many poor children worked in factories–often 12 hours a day, six days a week. In other words, those who made it to the eighth grade in 1912 were an elite group.

  • Fuzz

    Did you read the very first paragraph on the page you linked to? Here’s what it says:

    “Obviously it tested some things that were more relevant at that time than now, and it should not be used to compare student knowledge then and now.”

  • Michael

    In seventh grade, I was doing pre-clac, physics, and chemistry. The material shown here is really, really basic math. That’s taught around 5th or 6th grade these days. Sorry to break up the circle jerk.

  • Michele Hogan

    “Our young people are also horribly deficient when it comes to math and science. At this point, 15-year-olds in the United States do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math and science literacy.”

    Not entirely true. Massachusetts and Connecticut students were toward the very top of the scale here, up with Singapore, Taiwan, etc. One problem is that we speak of “American” students and schools, when in fact our educational systems are local and state-wide, not national.

  • JD Williams

    No wonder we had inventors, entrepreneurs, writers and thinkers of that era. How simply, incrementally,Why did we, with all the best intentions in the world, dumb down our society?

  • Foxy

    The demographics of 8th grade students in 1912 compared to the demographics of 8th grade students has changed dramatically.
    Those who compare our test scores with other nations in the industrialized world does not considered America demographics compared to the demographics of other countries. An estimated 10% of our learners are ELL. The United States has the highest immigrant inflow (more than double the next highest country, Germany). We test all learners, including our special education learners. The United States has some of the strongest laws in the world protecting the educational rights of students with special needs. That means even if you struggle with math you can still earn a high school diploma and even go to college. IDEA and its precursors (special education law) weren’t passes until the 1970s. Students who would now be eligible for special education services would not have gone to school (in most cases) and therefore, would not have taken this test.
    Seriously folks, do the research before you you compare the US education system to other countries (P.S. China tests Shanghai. That would be the US equivalent of test test Cambridge,MA and using that test data.)

  • Beau

    This is pretty much on par with my eight grade tests? I went to a public school in Louisiana. The only difference is that we had that length of test for each subject, instead of a combined one. And we had different subject tests on the same day all the time.

  • derp

    “Today, it would be a real challenge for many college students to correctly answer most of these questions correctly…” *slow clap*

    • Tim Moore

      For an article about education, I found this sentence hilarious. Jumped out at me right as I was reading it.

  • Jay

    While I agree a lot of 8th graders would do poorly on this exam, I think if the curriculum was based upon these questions, it would be a fairly easy test for even a 6th grader. It’s just a matter of curriculum, we have 16 year olds doing advanced calculus that only the highest of university scholars would be doing back in 1912.

  • Renee

    How about a little parent accountability? Parents have far more influence than any school or teacher.

  • rick mage

    So much for human evolution…

  • Catherine

    I am a public school teacher, and I completely agree that education has been dumbed down considerably. Even beyond school knowledge I have noticed a significant decrease in basic life skills. I have HIGH SCHOOL students who can barely read an analog clock, many who cannot do simple math without a calculator, and have seen several who cannot figure out how to measure out 1 cup of something using only a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Truly sad.

  • rick mage

    Oh, I will also say that the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers were written so that EVERYBODY could easily understand both. There were no need for these worthless Constitutional lawyers that we have today. Everyone understood them both, even the eight graders. In fact, I dare say that the eight graders understood our Constitution more than the criminal Supreme Court justices who we have serving today…

  • Renee

    This really shows how poor writers research their subject matter. I tutor many 8th graders, and they are answering questions leaps and bounds above this. Just today I helped a 6th grader with his homework: drawing lewis structures of compounds complete with resonance and bond energy. Don’t believe the hype: our kids are on an accelerated track!

  • Kimberly Deville

    I think that you also have to consider that more than half of the population did not attend or finish school in 1912. The students taking this test were not just any old people. Only wealthier people saw the value in it. so, comparing today and then is not a very fair comparison. My grandmother was born in 1912 and had quit school by 13. No one even tried to stop her her parents were fairly well off and owned a large farm. School did not change her life no doubt things need to change, but not by portraying the past falsly.

  • Ian Osmond

    The average person wasn’t expected to go beyond sixth grade at the time. The only people to go on to eighth grade were the highest achievers — and specifically, the wealthiest highest achievers. We also don’t know that the eighth grade students were expected to know ALL these areas — that’s a master sheet, so it could be that, for instance, only the pre-med students would have taken the physiology section.

  • Ashley

    This is a great article, but to be devil’s advocate… isn’t there scientific evidence that our brains rewire themselves because of the information that’s available on the internet?

    Our brains will keep what is needed; if we can look for a map of Iraq online in less than 15 seconds, then our brains will erase that knowledge and use those neurons for something else. Our problem is more our dependence on an “external hard drive” for our brains: the internet. The most important lessons to be learned these days are how to determine the credibility of sources.

    Information is EVERYWHERE, but finding the right information, knowing who’s delivering the information, and whether or not that information is biased is what our generation needs to learn most.

    • sam t.

      such as why would a person write an article with a doomsday tone? to attract internet traffic to the site, where he’s trying to sell a book called “this is the end?” thinking critically is more than memorizing facts.

  • Jessica

    There are a lot of smart Americans. The administration of schools are the problem. There needs to be more remedial classes, and offer tutoring for those that are struggling; as well as helping the parents help their children :O I know a lot of smart people, but because America has become a Police State (yes we are), a lot of these people are looked down upon because they are not the norm. They think different from the average norm, and are therefor told not to think for themselves and to shut up or they will go to prison. How dare they be able to read a double blind clinical study, and determine the results from raw data. There are brilliant people in my family. I learned Algebra with no teacher… just a book and trying out problems. My daughter was ready for 4-5 year old class just from me teaching her at home part time for at 2! It’s not the citizens, it is the administration. Homeschooled children tend to do exceedingly well. Probably because they are not being harassed by the masses that are incapable of understanding this, and they are the ones in charge :O Makes you think, I hope.

  • anon

    “to correctly answer most of these questions correctly…”

  • Ahubz

    This test is relevant before google, but now? This kind if information is useless, and most of it is easy. This article is awful and is all anecdotal speculation. Schools today should teach children problem solving, not memorization. They probably don’t, but comparing them to 1912 is kind if idiotic.

  • EA

    I like how in the answers link, the heading says, “should not be used to compare student knowledge then and now” and the person who wrote this article totally did that…Hmm people really have become stupid…

  • Aleathea A Simmons

    I recently was disturbed to learn that in some States, they are no longer teaching our children to write in cursive. How is this even possible???

  • Jon

    I don’t get what’s so hard about this exam…? It wouldn’t have been difficult to pass this in 8th grade…

  • Naslam

    Most adults in the US have no idea what the answers to this exam are. The great decline is here. The Empire is over.

  • reagan bater

    Wow so many Reagan fans out there,lol. I live three miles from his library. During the Bush gulf war 1 over 3000 US war planes were destroyed on the ground that Ronnie gave to Saddam,lol. You won’t see videos of that, and they were not old obsolete planes either. More than half of his tanks were US tanks!!!Yeah people are really stoopid these days. They believe what ever they see on TV. Ronnie was in the top 3 worst presidents of all. He vetoed putting sanctions on south Africa amongst other notable Alzheimer moments,lol. What a stooge he was. In the conservative dream world ,ronnie represented a world that never existed. My favoritewas how he was going to make us all return to ffamily values,lol. Can ya see that? The family values police knocking at the door! My favorite Reagan quote,” ketchup and relish are to be considered vegetables in the school lunch program” bwaaaa hahah, good ole Ronald’ Let them eat cheese’ Reagan. The only reason he was popular was because he had a knack of explaining issues to the people as if they were children. The great communicator they called him, because you people are are like children. Empty minds waiting for input.

    • Kenneth Browning

      You can’t forget the hypocrisy of his fans either. If it were up too them, they would kick every illegal out tomorrow. They often ignore or are ignorant to thefact their childhood hero granted amnesty to millions of illegals. The one’s who do know, they blame the failures of his immigration reform on others, which just leads to more hypocrisy, considering they’re the one’s always whining about blaminfg things on others.

  • andyandy123

    I did most of that in 8th grade, actually. In fact, I knew significantly more about science and math. The math here is simple arithmetic, but we were doing algebra and geometry. The science is human physiology, which we covered in the first month of 8th grade science….saving the remaining 7-8 months of school for additional science, including the physiology of insects, reptiles, and mammals beyond just humans…..even down to the cellular level and beyond. Things that weren’t even discovered in 1912.

    The geography and history type questions aren’t easily compared to current day because those topics are memorization and are entirely dependent on the curriculum and what the kids are taught. That’s not to say current kids are being taught less, because they’re not. It’s because they’re being taught things that are just as difficult and obscure, they’re just different tidbits of information.

    P.S. The subjects of physiology, geometry, math, history, English, etc. have not changed much since 1912. On the other hand, science has. DNA wasn’t more than a mysterious spec under a microscope until after 1912 and the double-helix was completely unknown until 1953, let alone any of the tons and tons of functions and behaviors of DNA. I bring that up as one single example of the metric crap-ton of things that 8th graders learn these days that weren’t even known in 1912, let alone had a portion of the lesson plan.

    So what? Well, stupid, useless questions like naming the body of water between the UK and Manila are still present in the curriculum, they’re just more relevant to kids these days. More importantly, they have to know A LOT more material and a lot more complex material these days. Just try and ask these “genius” kids from 1912 to match base pairs of DNA, draw out the Lewis structure of a molecule of H2O or of a single atom of ionized potassium, or draw out the Krebbs cycle and identify the major points of ATP generation.

    Also, there is only so much information you can pack into a school year – as this cutting-edge and important science information is put into the lesson, who the hell cares that 8th graders may not be taught the capitals of states touching the Ohio river? (state capitols, by the way, is taught in FIFTH grade these days, not eighth)

    P.P.S. If it matters, I’m in my twenties and got my grade school education entirely from the public school system. , I’m not too far removed from the system as of yet, so everything I typed is a lot more relevant than that from most of the old farts in here who can’t remember what they had for breakfast, let alone what they studied in 8th grade.

  • Lara Henley

    I can’t help it. I noticed that the author of this article used improper pronouns. When referring to humans, one should use “who” not “that”…example, “…we have millions of students…that…” – uh oh!!! Times have indeed changed and we don’t spend as much time thinking deeply. That is sad. Educational opportunities are largely absent outside of school which creates an uphill battle for teachers. I certainly don’t attribute it to a master plan devised by some evil omniscient puppet master. Perhaps it is more the result of an overly affluent culture with a terminal case of affluenza! -a word I just recently learned;)

  • Americans are proud of their stupidity.

  • Newark Prudent

    As a liberal, I passed this test with flying colors. (Come on, Pythagorean theorem?) The mountains and battefields only half tripped me up.

    But I mean, who cares about all this specific knowledge and foreign countries and dorky stuff, right? We know in our gut that America ain’t nothing but pure elbow grease. Rest of the world is ridiculous, right? Nevermind that we need allies…

    *okay, ducking the eggs and tomatoes, retreating with my glib northeastern sarcasm here…*

  • William Byrd Wilkins

    Yes, I agree. I just finished teaching my first semester at a small college and I was shocked by the low levels of literacy. Thank you for this article.

  • Robert Altman

    I read the whole article and studied the exam. This article is just not correct. The test has absolutely no higher order thinking skills involved and can be passed with simple skills. Today we expect students to not only use the skills but to apply the information to problem solving and real world situations. The Common Core Standards address using multiple intelligence and critical thinking skills along with collaboration and team work. The exam you see in the article is great for factory workers but lacking in terms of building a new and more efficient jet.

  • Samantha

    Apparently the author does not remember eighth grade; this seems like something my classmates and I could have passed. The thing is that as we get older, our brains tend to forget many facts that aren’t essential to our daily lives. That is why parents who help their children with their homework won’t remember everything their student is being taught, or why you won’t remember the answers to a test from eighth grade.

  • J

    Thank you psychiatry. Took over the public school system in 1963. Get rid of those criminals aka big pharma and we will have sanity once again.

  • RickMK

    I expect to be seeing the government pushing just this sort of article now, to justify Common Core!

    now using that problem as an excuse to justify their radical swing to
    the opposite extreme, expecting children to do more than they’re capable
    of doing. What they want a nation of worker drones, not a cultured
    civilization who see value in things like art and leisure and having fun
    as a family (which is not good for business).

    would avoid talking about “dumbing down” any more at this point! Opposition to that only helps the government in their current push to increase their terrible meddling in the education of children now.

  • hungrimoon .

    The american education system has always been about indoctrination , not developing true human beings. When we fail to teach children how to look at the world in a real and meaningful way, we are showing our disrespect for them and limiting their future. The children of 1912 KY may have graduated with a significantly greater collection of facts regarding the world, but let’s face it, 1912 Ky was a extremely racist state founded on slavery, genocide of native people and the theft of their land. Where was this being acknowledged much less being taught. Were the children of 1912 being taught that we are all God’s children and are all equal. I DON’T THINK SO! Sending these folks out into the world without ever having given them the chance to adequately evaluate the world for themselves is the same disrespect for them as was manifest in slavery and genocide. Today’s youth may be significantly less informed as to “facts” but on the whole are a lot wiser to the true condition of this sorry nation, This is not due to any diligence on our part or any attempt to right things, but rather to the overwhelming and undeniable state of our world today. There may be a “dumbing down” of school graduates today, but I dare say they are wiser than the folks of 1912.

  • Bobbie Jo Dawson

    My daughter goes to a public school, and my son will be joining her next year..however I have always believed that it is just as much my responsibility to teach them at home as it is the schools while they are there..If I lived in an area where there were more opportunities for socialization , I would home-school.. It is very sad that we just sit back accept what schools teach as adequate.. this is just more proof that they are lacking..

  • papamccain

    The brightest, most knowledgeable kids I have met all had one thing in common, they were home schooled.

  • Scion

    Yeah, and “school” back then was mostly just beating the students and forcing them into rote memorization; there was no art or music classes, no teaching of evolution or new historical perspectives, just a load of useless information. We have not been ‘dumbed down.’

  • Jody Correro

    Lenin, and Khrushchev later, said the destruction of public school education would help to lead to the United States’ implosion!

    • Steve Pelto

      Are they still waiting on that?

      • Jody Correro

        How the heck did you find out?

  • Selcen Onsan

    2. things: Yes, we are dumbed down by media and education today, even compared to other countries, but 2. this article is a gross exaggeration. Many 8th graders could pass this test today. I was learning how to take the SATs in the 8th grade.

    People have a tendency to look at younger people and assume they are dumber than them. Most 8th graders are closer to the laws of physics, the breakdown of our government, the occurrences in our History, and algebraic equations. Most teenagers can write a poignant speech that you feel like “you could write.” Why? Because age has made you so arrogant and entitled you feel like you were “so young back then” but if you really thought about it you’d realize you’re not remembering what you knew in 8th grade, you’re remembering what you knew in 5th grade and actually just dumbing down an age group based on assumption and skewed perception.

    The “the olden days were better.” “the olden days were smarter.” “the olden days were more honest.” “The olden days were more pious.” cliches have been around since before the biblical days. It’s just a mentality that encourages a fear of change.

  • CRHain88

    This opinion is misleading. In 1912, 8th grade was typically the last year of school for students. Has America dumbed-down because we added four years of education, or are we trying to teach kids an extra four years worth of knowledge? Math and English have been around for ages, but what about Computer Science? What about Biology? Chemistry? US History? World History? Geography? What about Shop and Home Economics? I’m sure Home Ec evolved from how to run a household (finance and all) to it’s current iteration that now leaves room for an entire economics class which also covers business economics.

    The amount of information we need to know to get by in life has changed a lot in 100 years, so I don’t think finding an old test proves a failing education system. It doesn’t even prove that we didn’t need to learn as much. All it proves is that this is what they were learning in the very-late stages of their education.

    • Steve Pelto

      Correct. We also don’t know what percentage of Kentucky residents passed this test.

  • John

    The results do not surprise me at all.

  • tonymengela

    If someone didn’t know that, are they stupider? It’s “are they dumber” I think you answered your own question

    • Steve Pelto

      I understood what he meant without your translation.

      By the way, you missed periods after dumber and question, and you don’t need the quotation marks.

      Have a nice day.

    • NF

      I do concede my grammar was slightly incorrect in my response to this article. Although my English isn’t perfect, and neither is yours, it is not significant enough to detract from the purpose of my comment.

  • Danny Motta

    All the arithmetic is pre-algebra, pretty simple really.

  • BlahBlahBlahBS

    don’t think this test is nearly as hard as the author is making it out to be. The test is over things the kids, most likely, recently studied. I took plenty of tests just like that in school and did well on them. Were you to give me those same tests today I would probably fail them because I did not retain the information. Not because it wasn’t taught to me.

  • Lemur

    They misspelled Endeavor, so apparently not too much.

  • Lemur

    Actually, that test above is so typo ridden that it’s becoming sad that the stories author neglected to actually check their source du jour.

  • Tink

    I agree with what has been said here. Yes, the dumbing down of America has been part of a greater plan for the cabal’s dream of a New World Order. As for the author of this article, I just wish he’d learned that it’s “kids who”… not “kids that.”

  • Karl Spencer

    If you want to feel even dumber, look at the requirements to get into Harvard and Princeton in colonial times. None of those attending now would even qualify to enter back in the late 1700’s. Thank you Progressives!

  • Nick

    Has anyone considered that we aren’t getting “dumber”? I agree that it is a shame that our kids don’t understand how their own government works, but I think we’re wrong to label them as dumber.

  • Guest

    I don’t really see anything here that my kids hadn’t covered by the 8th grade. Not to mention they go over way more information. My daughter is in the 5th grade and taking Latin. I don’t get this.

  • Jacques Gauthier

    The history question # 1 makes no sense. The people of New Guinea, Japan, China, Eastern Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Native Americans on the West Coast and the Polynesians have always seen the the Pacific Ocean. The first human to see the Pacific Ocean has never been recorded. As for the other places in North America, various tribes of Native Americans were living there and whom ever first saw those places has been lost to history.

    If they meant the first Europeans to see those places the answers given in 1912 would have been incorrect because students back then wouldn’t have been aware of the Anse aux Meadows viking settlement in New Foundland. There other European artifacts that pre-date Columbus that have been found in North America. Minoan and Celtic carvings on rocks for example.

    Students of 1912 would have some trouble answering questions about the world wars or computer programing questions.

  • EJ

    Maybe I just went to good public schools, but this doesn’t seem much different than exams I received in 8th or 9th grade (depending on the courses in which I was enrolled).

  • Ryan

    I’m not sure that I would say our exams have been “dumbed” down; rather, we have switched what we place emphasis on.

    If you read through the questions, the majority of them tested the students’ ability to memorize information. According to Dr. Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains recalling information is actually one of the lowest levels of learning.

    I would argue that schools are now attempting to put more of an emphasis on the higher modes of learning. I would also argue that being able to remember information is much less important than being able to apply it, especially in an age where literally have information at our fingertips.

    Therefore, although there are problems with our current school system, I would not say that it has been “dumbed” down compared to 1912. In fact, I would say it has been improved.

  • patriotgrandma

    You CANNOT enslave a BIBLE READING people……….God.

  • Tammy Allen

    I don’t agree with this at all. Just because someone can’t remember a fact doesn’t qualify them as dumb. My daughter school teaches much more advanced information than this. She have physiology in 5th grade. This is a public school. In addition to facts they are taught logic and critical thinking skills. It’s not the schools it’s the parents. It always has been. So many children are growing up on their own. Teachers are expected to teach children things they should be learning at home. Reading starts when they are infants. You have to read to them and they need to see you reading as well. Americans are lazy at parenting. Yet I know their are parents that work two and three jobs. The economy makes it very difficult for parents. The middle class is being crushed. Or had been. I am a single mom with 2 jobs. I managed to raise a very polite intelligent child whose now 12. I know I’m not the norm in terms of commitment to my daughter. I have sacrificed many things to provide for her. I’m not perfect by any means. What I see being taught in school is far more difficult than this test. We have between 30 and 40 kids per classroom. Teachers are overwhelmed. The curriculum is quality. The schools lack money and children are more poor. If anything the slashing of education budgets is the main culprit.

  • paultunes .

    i wonder how universal this type of test was? do we have any idea how many children passed this test? i doubt the teaching of subjects in the test were taught in schools made up of minorities. i get the point that in some areas students in the past may have had a better grasp of subjects and we need to do a better job of educating our young people. education can’t be just the responsibility of teachers either. also it should be noted the students would have likely been racists who thought any people of color inferior. thought mentally ill people should be locked up and put away. would not have treated homosexuals very well. thought alcoholism a character defect. so how smart were they really?

  • John H

    Time out here. While I will agree that people are not as highly educated as they once were, to be fair, most college students from that time period probably couldn’t answer those questions either. These questions were things they learned in class, were tested on, and then they probably immediately forgot the information. That’s the problem with the education system. The information we are taught is not applicable in our daily lives so it is forgotten. How about teaching kids how to apply those meaningless facts they’re forced to memorize in school?

  • Are you serious?

    Are you serious? How do you explain our rising IQ’s; the Flynn effect. Each generation is smarter than the last. What school did this test come from? A normal school? Do we know how the children did on it.

    You forget that children are tested on things they have been taught not just random information. I imagine you would find it difficult to take any school test because you haven’t been recently taught the information. This effect is easily shown on tv shows like are you smarter than a 5th grader.

  • jokelley

    I realize the person writing this isn’t very smart but those questions are not hard and yes, my kids could answer just about all of them. I don’t know that they study the dimension of cord wood today, but my kids could answer an lot harder questions than these. No doubt our public schools are in trouble and could use help and our kids need to go to school longer days and longer school year to compete. My kids all went to CT public schools and on to higher education.

  • paladin1954

    We can all claim that there is a “dumbing down” of America, but the test above, other than the mathematics, and in some instances that too, was taught by rote. The subjects were based on established guidelines that the student had to recite in order to pass to the ninth grade. It was memorization of facts, not a complex understanding of the subject matter. Too many times we take articles such as this as proof for the failing of American education, but I contend the following: the people who grew up during those years could not competently cope with the learning environment presented to students today. True enough, some schools and systems fail at the education of our young based on student expectations, Unfortunately, there are many children who end up not reaching their potential. One must realize, however, that even the least schooled today, has a better understanding of their environment that students of that time. So they can’t tell how many supreme court justices there are….big deal.

  • Kenneth Browning

    Maybe we should try and model our education after a place like Finland, who have the best education system in the world. But then again, some tea but will slap the world ‘socialist’ on it and all the brainwashed, indoctrinated conservatives will have another hissy fit.

  • SAC

    I am a teacher and I do not agree. Many of these questions, the students will see, maybe just worded differently. The “dumbing down” of America is not to be attributed to the test that teachers write, but how about the kids watching TV and playing video games?

  • boiler

    Know that in 1912 only 6% of kids finished high school. If you look at their “sample” questions that are used to assume some sort of intellectual superiority to today’s kids, more than 6% get each one correct. Pose those same questions to the top 6 or even 10% of the students and your results would be quite different. The US system of education assumes all children are willing and able to attend college and proceeds accordingly. Even the current assault on education using the PITA scores don’t account for the reality that other nations are not testing 100% of their student bodies while we in the US are. When you break down our schools performance you find that places such as Connecticut and Massachusetts out perform most other nations and we don’t begin showing failing grades until big states with little resources devoted to education (See FL & TX) are included in the results.

    You’re all falling victim to a statistical shell game made to prey on your preexisting assumptions and ignorance.

  • Joanna Kelly

    How about this… instead of expecting schools to exclusively teach our children and entertainment to babysit our kids while we do whatever it is we are doing, we take time to teach them ourselves?
    Everyday, in everything, there is the opportunity to learn. As a child, my mother got us workbooks to use in the summer and instilled in me the lifelong need to learn.

  • John

    seen this exam before. I’m a little skeptical of this: it isn’t
    disclosed what the passing rate for the exam was in 1912 or any other
    year. All this really does for us is let us know that a fairly
    challenging exam was being given somewhere in 1912. Furthermore, a quick
    google search reveals that we have very little information on education
    statistics from that time so it’s really hard to say what the
    significance of all this is. Unfortunately articles like this really
    only foster generational antagonisms. Older people like to point to
    young people and say “Look how unintelligent you are! You all can’t use a
    monkey wrench let alone identify the country where the Suez canal is
    located.” The truth is that many of the questions on that test are
    questions about facts, formulas, etc. –stuff that can more or less be
    memorized. True intelligence is more about being able to solve problems
    or overcome challenges with limited resources. I think that’s what
    really matters. Also if you look at some of the questions such as “Who
    discovered Florida?” You should realize that there really isn’t a “true”
    answer. Sure, people will say Ponce de Leon but that’s not true. Ponce
    de Leon is really just the most famous European explorer of Florida but
    there is ample evidence that other Europeans knew about or had even
    ventured onto the shores of Florida. Basically what I’m saying is that
    the test isn’t really even that good of a test to begin with even while
    being challenging

    The truth is America has always been full of a bunch of idiots.

  • Fayclis

    Not surprised. In Ontario our education has been dumbing down for a solid decade so the current Liberal government can boast about the great job they are doing in education. As usual it “looks” like they have borrowed the idea from others who have gotten away with it before them.

  • Sean

    This test isn’t actually harder than my 8th grade curriculum. Much easier actually, just a very different presentation of the material to be tested on. Maybe conspiracy nuts are just dumber these days.

  • that bloke from aus

    This test is actually not that hard, with the exception of the america specific questions (aka the majority of the history/geography sections) which i would fail miserably on being australian. outside of those actually seems fairly on par with our grade 8 exams here with many questions able to be answered by younger grades as well.

  • boiler

    The more comments I read the more the phrase “dumbing down” seems to refer to a change from white european centered history to one of diversity. Not exactly dumber, just different.

  • London

    this is exactly how my 8th grade tests were #British

  • jimmy

    Most people did not attend school through the 8th grade back then. A few years for reading and arithmetic and it was off to work.

  • Thaddeus Besedin

    The equivalent requisite information that must comprise competency in its domain of relevancy has increased with time, but the breadth of one’s awareness of domains of possibility has decreased. We marvel at the wonders of science, or the magic of digital media, but we only operate access points. We do not feel compelled to invent or challenge ourselves intellectually, lacking the urgency. The atheism of our secular phase has shifted cultural-commercial focus from concerns for mind and spirit, albeit when the consequences for failure were often fatal, to the maintenance of the body and its safety. Athletic celebrities and actors are unduly and obscenely rewarded beyond any scientific pioneer, simply to be utilized to administer deception and pander to escapism. It is the most damaging propaganda the world receives. Have there been changes in the magnitude, complexity and rate of neurological processing and modulation during cognition/speech? 1912, conveniently, was a time of reform and dissent, untainted by cinematic conditioning of awareness through passive information acquisition. Cinema is responsible for creating a culture of passive recipients of preponderant information who willfully commit themselves to be penetrated by the imagination of the wealthy and narcissistic, coercing cooperation as a response to feelings of alienation – by not accepting discourse that has been contaminated and commandeered by shallow, superficial, cursory, first-order, narrative-bound, self-oblivious content._______________________________________________________________ Anything has changed at all. One may even indict photography and telephones for their pragmatic provision of the initial schematic for the morale of post-literacy, although during the mechanistic-positivistic age, behavioral, pedagogic and epistemological pathologies of volition and attention span were offset by an improving nutritional breadth, new medical breakthroughs, public health awareness, inexpensive sanitation and hygeine products, inexpensive and competitive printing and, primarily, activist literacy programs supported by expanding public education, instilling prestige in reading and writing (if only to operate precision machinery or die on the front lines).

  • Thaddeus Besedin

    Most of the precipitous decline in aptitude and adequacy constituting the post-modern leisure-media crisis itself is concomitant with the advent of computerized learning methods in the 1980s. Reinforced – from early childhood – by hours spent being functionally conditioned through scheduled escapist television and video gaming, an aversion to non-active media (books) and to the active acquisition (as compulsory education recipients) of [paternalistic] classroom lecturing is engendered by weak, inconsistent, over-permissive parents (80s pop/hair metal fans). Children are missing incentives for obedience and parents are therefore losing the respect of their children for their role as model-providers. Materialist girl parents resent their children for robbing them of a future fulfilling orgiastic youth fantasy. This subtext propagates the myth of inherent childhood and the right to youth, although the definition of “childhood” itself has changed radically during the past 100 years. The cumulative consequence becomes anxiety, masked with antipathy, toward non-electronic means of knowledge acquisition/cultural access. Learning is self-motivated, and apathy is learned.

  • William C Michael

    It’s not the government’s fault that you or your children can’t answer these questions. This is not hard at all…you simply haven’t received a good education.

  • Anna Cordia

    This test isn’t that difficult. Seriously. I had to deal with trickier words than the vocab on this test during my 5th grade spelling bee. Plus, most of the kids who were in school in this time period – at least those who made it to this grade level without being pulled out to work – were usually financially well to do. They had highly educated parents and no demands on their time other than receiving an education.

  • Soo Sheezy

    If America is being “dumbed down,” then this test really isn’t a very strong piece of evidence for it. ASide from the math section, almost all of the other questions require few skills outside of recalling information, which isn’t a particularly high-level cognitive skill unless you’re competing on Jeopardy. I think people too easily lament America’s poor test scores or educational plights on flawed comparisons like this.

  • ken

    One problem with educating people today is that there is little consensus on what is really important. Also many people have concluded that there is little need to remember anything if you can just look it up when you need to know. The process of logical thought combined with curiosity will gain a person a usable education, and that kind of education does not always reside in books and schools..

  • I Troll Libtards

    You can thank liberals and big government for this. Unlike other countries, we try to shove education down peoples’ throats whether they want it or not. They then resist and teachers spend most of their day disciplining instead of teaching. Then the bad parents come along and blame the teacher for their kids’ bad behavior and lack of respect. And there’s literally NOTHING the schools can do about it so we’re stuck.

  • smartass17

    When I was in school the education was a lot better ,the reason are many,we stayed in after school and our parents seen to it that our homework was done,Also today parents grab the kids after school go to a drive in for dinner ,come home and they all go different ways in the home the kids go to the computer and play games ,bottom line it is not the schools job to bring these kids up,it has to be up to the parents to follow up,Ps/This is not just in america it’s all over:

  • Stephen Board

    Don’t you dare try to blame TV and video games for making the country stupid. I asked my little brother all these questions and he was able to answer all but 3 of them. He answered all of the questions that ‘most high schoolers don’t know.’

    Did I mention that he plays video games on a daily basis?

    You know why kids today are ‘getting dumber?’ The shirt answer is they aren’t. Kids today are being taught more complex things earlier than they ever were before, but they aren’t pressed to actually remember these things past the exam. There is no accountability for actually remembering the things they are taught.

    I guarantee you the children who couldn’t answer those questions were in fact taught those things, but I’ll bet that was only the second time those kids were asked those questions.

    I will however give you the internet to blame for the proliferation of poor spelling and grammar.

  • Anna

    I wrote this on facebook, then I thought… this would be more relevant to post on the actual article.
    Sure, it’s difficult but how much of it is applicable to the “real” world. Has America become a “dumbed down” nation? First of all, dumbed isn’t even a word. I can barely get through the title of this article.
    What are our teachers teaching now? Critical thinking, problem solving, communication, creativity, life and CAREER skills, technology and I could go on for days; which I only found a few problem solving questions in the arithmetic section. Any 8th grader can pull out their droid/iphone and find these answers within 5 seconds. In what job or career can you NOT have a technological device on you? Think about all the jobs that require technology. Let’s take a job in the service industry, like a waiter, that many think doesn’t require technology. Are the servers asked to calculate the sum of the items bought at each table they serve? No…. are they asked to calculate the 20% gratuity… no. We live in an age of technology, there is no point to teach factual jargon. If technology is destroyed we are destroyed but until that time….this article is spurious.

  • T Rose

    I’m from MA. I went to private school until 8th and public high school. My education through 8th coupled with freshman honors biology and history could answer these questions in 1995.

  • 24with2degreesanddebtfree

    I’m an 8th grade teacher, and I will tell you that most of my students will have learned most of this information by the end of the year. They may not have retained it, but it is still on the curriculum, and they are still being tested on most of it. I myself remember learning about most of this stuff in school, and I’m only 24. If you don’t, maybe you were too busy trying to get out of work or you weren’t fortunate enough to go to a good school. If you think this kind of knowledge is important, than take some personal responsibility to educate yourself and your children. Don’t just sit them on front of a screen! That is the real change that has happened–we spend more time with electronics and less time with books than we did on 1912.

    • Do you ever, or have you ever, seen a student left back because he/she simply did not learn or was unable to pass a test?

  • Edward G. Robinson

    That exam was probably given at a segregated school that wasn’t forced to cater to the needs of academically weak groups. The end of segregation was the end of good public education in America. Everyone with half a brain knows that, but we’re forbidden from publicly acknowledging it.

  • Dvir

    Provide a solution

  • guest

    Please use “we’re” not “were” when trying to make an intelligent statement.

  • Tony Domanico

    well i’m 28 and a high school drop out and i can tell you this. I either can or could answer most or all of this through what has been taught in my grade school classes for example the rope is a simple a squared plus b squared equals what. that is text book, as well, we also went over forms of government and geography as for specific wars and battles we went over that, however, what is deemed unimportant is forgotten with time. battles that might have held great significance at one time can be seen as a racist blister on society(I am not advocating forgetting history merely relaying a point)

    • Tony Domanico

      clearly i failed grammar lol

  • momoftwins

    Well I sucked…I only knew 1/3 of the answers. However, my son knew 90% of them & he is in 8th grade. Yes we as a whole i feel are dumb down but, lets have hope in our youth & push them to do & know more

  • Meh

    Yeah, I could absolutely pass that test. My apologies for being educated : /

  • Ohcomeon!

    {Bangs head on table} – My third grade daughter is learning several of the concepts found in that 8th grade test. Dumbing down? Maybe because as adults you forgot those answers does not mean our children are being denied them. If anything, I see more concepts being pushed down grades from where I learned them as a child. For example, my daughter was learning multiplication in second grade whereas I remember learning that concept in 4th. Adults are the dumb ones in this article, not the children.

    • Um, maybe where you are, but here in NC, the multiplication tables are no longer taught….at all.

  • Joe Cassara

    Much ado about nothing.

  • Will Sonak

    I got 55 out of 57 with out trying. so I guess I’m not a dummy. It’s easy read books

  • Dlcb1

    This is actually very similar to the tests I give my 8th grade students, except they have more like 40 questions per subject, not 10.

  • Chuck

    Since when are Oklahoma’s high schools an accepted benchmark for the American education system? Last I checked, they were ranked #43 out of 50 for the nation.

  • Troy James Martin

    You know what you get out of rote memorization? It’s called KNOWLEDGE (the last time I checked.) What do you use to replace knowledge? You can only get wisdom from experience, which can’t be taught in any school, so what is it you think kids are actually learning in school, if not to acquire knowledge?

    Teaching critical thinking is good—that’s called “the Socratic Method.” But without knowledge (i.e. facts), there is nothing about which to critically think.

    Your argument remains incoherent.

  • Larry Manchester

    I would be interested to see the correlation between the student use of technology in schools to the decrease in knowledge/education of the average student. I think technology used by a teacher to give a better idea of the subject matter makes sense, but I don’t think it’s helpful for a student to have a handheld device where they can just “google” an answer to any question they may have without thinking about it first. I was brought up to use your head first and then reach for the calculator,

    While writing this i got an eerie thought…so by “google-ing” an answer to something and relying so much on that tool for truth, is that the same as being hand fed information and trusting that source so implicitly that you don’t try to verify it. Maybe that’s where we’ve come to as a country is not our inability to trust, rather our ability to verify something when we are told it’s truth?

    • Troy James Martin

      Very, very true! How would one know when “Googling” that the answer one receives from such an inquiry is indeed correct? Never, NEVER rely on casual, assumed authorities when determining facts. Always check sources! I have seen so many bogus reports and claims emerge from people casually “Googling.” When will we (ever) learn?

  • Troy James Martin

    Oh, and you might want to know which are the three largest states when you have to figure how much gas you will need to drive through one of them (Texas, for instance). That sounds very practical to me.

  • Vivian

    I know one of the reasons we’ve been dumbed down. I know many may not like to hear it, but ever since we took anything at all related to Christianity out of our education system, the US had gone from the top to the bottom. It iterates me how I could be so much smarter. I was homeschooled for a major part of my education but I’m still not at intelligent as I could be, and that infuriates me.

    • Joe

      That much is clear, if you think including “Christianity” is going to make kids smart. You’l note statistics that say all those ATHEIST Asian countries are doing MUCH better than we are. You clearly lack critical thinking skills.

    • I didn’t see any Bible questions on the test, did you?

  • M

    Maybe it’s just me, but these questions don’t seem very difficult. They’re a little dated (clearly), but answerable by anyone who learns the information in their schoolbooks (if they have decent schoolbooks). The arithmetic is just basic pre-algebra.

  • M

    Yesssssssssssssssssssss! Great response!

  • Blain Feaster

    Ok I will admit I’m not the smartest person by far but can someone explain why we fight amongst ourselves over what’s wrong with our nations wether it be the us the British islands and so on why not band together fix what’s wrong with all of these great country’s and then fight over who should have a say as to what we do after that just wondering because I know I’m at least contributing to the stuff I belive in so why doesn’t everyone do that and then fight online about who’s doing more for there country I mean just a thought

  • Jman

    8th graders are asked far more difficult questions than this test, especially in math. the author doesn’t have a fecking clue what he’s talking about clearly. he’s going to pee on the education system based on a few factoids. clearly a journalist and not a scientist. don’t buy it.

  • Beau

    I was one of those “weird” kids who voluntarily read books that I wasn’t assigned to. The incredulous looks I got from my fellow students, and the questions I got as to why I would want to read, when I didn’t have to, were all amazing to me.

  • goodteacher

    Until the federal and state government stays out of education, it will only get worse. Mark my words, standardized testing has become a tool for the government to convince people like you that we need to privatize education…. a solution that will only result in segregation to the extreme.

  • HRD53

    eh, even they weren’t perfect. If you look at the spelling portion of this test, they appear to have misspelled ‘endeavor’ as ‘eneeavor’ so if you want to nitpick, they weren’t immune to simple obvious errors either. I would say the average person today is more intelligent to folks back then (And IQ scores would back that up). There was much more illiteracy back then… I will admit, however, that folks back then seemed to have a much better grasp of *practical* knowledge.

  • Brian C

    Really? Dumbed Down? Just because we don’t hold irrelevant information doesn’t mean we have become dumbed down. Also, the way many questions were worded would be in itself horrible grammar by today’s standards. Considering that most people reading this article probably haven’t been in eighth grade for at least 10 years if not double that, I can see why many people would find this test difficult. Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Finally, since 1912, I would speculate that there is no reason to have such a diverse education as sampled above.

    • If you consider the history of our nation to be “irrelevant”…how about you just leave? We won’t cry.

      • Cameron Bradley

        Sorry, I can’t find where the responder said that. Please help.

  • jon

    while some of it is true, some if that test is FAR easier than today’s . . . take the arithmetic examples . . . that’s 2nd or 3rd grade math nowadays . . . advanced algebra, geometry and in some instances calculus are being taught by the 8th grade . . . to make room for the abundance of new math and science that needs to be learned . . . and computers . . . and so on, they have to shorten some things like geography and history . . . and while that sucks, there are plenty of ways to get that information when needed without trying to remember all of that and forgetting it anyway

  • flankton

    to deny that we are dumber now is just dumb. the first thing morons go to is denial. neanderthals. i could answer almost every question, but i am a doctor. the average human has no more capacity for intelligence now, than it ever did. Just more access to the answers. The egos nowadays are unchecked and horrific as a result. morons with egos can get further now than used to be they would be just peons, or poor farmers, their whole lives but at least they would produce something useful, now they can actually take some of MY money, and buy capri suns with food stamps. technology, she is a double edged sword

  • College Student

    Many of these questions serve no purpose and are just a result of rote memorization, which is proven to be the least effective style of learning. I am a history major and even I fail to realize the importance of William Amherst leading the British during the Battle of Signal Hill. Also being of the time is an advantage seeing how the one question asks about largest states. Today, most Americans would probably lead that list with Alaska (which by today’s standards is the largest state) however, for the kids taking this test, Alaska was not yet a state. As for American education being on the decline, I have mixed feelings. I do not necessarily agree. Most of theses countries that are ahead of us in the STEM fields send their students to America to get their education then return to their homes. That would indicate that we still have one of the top educational systems. I feel the reason we fall behind these other places is that we try to make everyone well rounded and force them to study in areas that they will not use in their professional lives. Whereas these other countries, at a very early age find their students strengths and set their education up to specialize them in certain fields. So this debate about American students is somewhat taken out of context and not fully understood.

  • Teachforchange

    Ridiculous assumption by the author and commenters. Because your ignorance prevents you from believing you can pass this exam, you believe an eight grader can’t? Poor Logic. Look at the common core standards that guide instruction today in the U.S. 4th graders are multiplying fractions, and middle schoolers are citing primary sources effectively. Further, know your info. Certain statistics rank us out of the top ten in educational performance internationally. Remove our impoverished and we are number 1. several countries in the top ten have less then 5% of their populations living in poverty, and they all have homogenous populations. Quit tearing humanity down! Education has made great strides and improved billions of lives. We are communicating electronically, internationally, in real time thanks to our intelligence and growth. Students today are skilled, which this test fails to assess. This test assesses content knowledge not applied. Go Humans! Be Proud! Enjoy your cushy lives! You’ve earned them!

    • Skilled at what? Smartphone usage?

    • Cameron Bradley

      Amen! The real truth lies in real schools and talking with real kids. The truth is that there are some awesome kids about to take over this country, and they’ll be ready! Information, although available, seems so elusive in this form of journalism. My favorite part of my day is working with my seventh grade students, who outperform many of my older students and are eager to learn. Hope is out there, people. Go out and meet it face to face.

  • Dustin Rynders

    This article is one-sided. The amount of information and knowledge that one has to learn — in our time — has increased dramatically. Many of us have to know how to do things that people in 1912 would have no idea how to perform. We do not know less — there is too much information for any one of us to learn everything. I do agree that there are many adolescents who should not be allowed to graduate high school — blame our education system for passing students who should be held back.

    • Absolutely wrong and so far off base as to be almost comical.

  • Annie1948

    This looks like the exams we took in parochial school. Didn’t DO very well, but they DID teach me how to read (I’m dyslexic).

  • Alexis

    the *I’m with Stupid* arrow should be pointing upward.

  • thehomelessguy

    Usually, only the kids considered smart enough to benefit from an education went to school – so not every kid went to school back then. Also, today we put an emphasis on knowing other information. Take a kid from 1912 and stick and iPhone in his hand and tell him to find Washington D.C. with it. That kid wouldn’t know what to do.

    • So you think it’s more important that he be able to find out from a phone how to get somewhere than to find out how to get there BY HIMSELF???

      • thehomelessguy

        In 1912, people referred to maps for finding places – even Christopher Columbus used a map, for what good it did him.

  • I’m tired of this crap about memorization. LEARNING IS MEMORIZATION!!! How in the hell do you expect to learn anything if you don’t use your MEMORY????

  • ISawTomorrow

    I was born American,but my father, a foreign national was dismayed by the US education system and moved our family abroad so we me and my sisters could attend better schools.That was back in 1975.I cannot thank him enough.All we see today happening in America is a direct product of the unionized education system,and what the institutions of “higher learning” is cranking out today is far worse.And why is that?…because the government would never educate individuals who will later challenge it.

  • Bruce Merkley

    Idocracy was made as a comedy but time has made it a documentary.

  • Jamie

    I will toss in to the discussion that the article does not mention how successful the students were in taking this exam in 1912. It is their rate of success on the test versus today’s that should be examined. To compare intelligence, we must compare results; not the difficulty level of test questions. I could create a very difficult test today, one that no one could pass, seal it to be opened in 100 years, and the people of the future might also assume we were extraordinarily brilliant now.The evidence in this article insufficient for point.

    • Cameron Bradley

      Spot on. Thank you for seeing this as well.

  • Adam Knapp

    The schools are DESIGNED to turn kids off of education! No Child Left Behind basically put the nail in the coffin, destroying any chance that a kid could get through school without thoroughly hating it by 7th grade. It’s no wonder kids don’t even -want- to learn anymore, learning’s been associated with something that’s terrible. It’s sad.

    • Cameron Bradley

      Laws may be daunting, but there are thousands of educators working with with bright and fun kids everyday in our country. It’s better than it seems, despite the overarching stories we hear.

  • ChrisHeinz

    I believe that memorization is a (mostly rightfully) lost art. Why waste space in your brain when your exocortex (mostly now instantiated as a smart phone) can give you the answer almost instantly. It’s just a different model, and I believe a better one.
    Or do you want to lament the fact that we all used to know 100s of phone numbers and now know, what, 2? I know mine and my wife’s — absolutely no one else’s, including my children. So, end of civilization, or, glad I’m not wasting brain space on stuff my phone can remember for me?

  • B in MPLS

    Umm… Oops! They spelled “endeavor” wrong in the spelling part! Guess they weren’t THAT smart!

  • Eric Matterson

    Yes. Here are the reasons:

    The educational system is garbage. Lazy, ignorant, disrespectful children, principals and parents that are unsupportive of discipline.

    The economic system values us on what we can provide, not how much broad knowldge we have. Athletes, entertainers are paid for their talent. If one possesses a skill that people are willing to pay them for, then they succeed.

    Technology such as the internet has filled the gap. Knowledge is available whenever we need it.

    Our society is focused on insignificant people like the Kardashians or how hoe-ish Miley Cyrus can be, or every little detail of entertainers.

    • Cameron Bradley

      Whew… I know about 500 kids in middle school and high school that I talk to everyday, and I wouldn’t call any of them lazy, ignorant, or disrespectful. They’re pretty cool, actually, and they do what they’re told if you ask.

      • Eric Matterson

        I taught in NYC public schools and there are a large percentage of students that fit this category. I’m not saying all of them did. They talked back and played with electronic devices instead of focusing.

  • Cameron Bradley

    Just a couple thoughts…
    This is the average eighth grade student’s year in every subject, each subject a sticky note test, on one test. Check out your state’s education standards and most likely you will find these subjects and questions to be mostly present on tests today. Some of the language and application is a bit antiquated, but most is still taught and tested today.

    Please do not assume college students to test comparably to eighth grade subjects. We have game shows like “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” to do that.

    Please do not display stats of how present-day students in other subjects compare to undisplayed stats of historical students in other subjects and grades compare. Please use both to make a point.

    Please do not make public education the point blank target of these debate fallacies. Because you cannot answer these questions does not mean they are not being taught.

    I cleaned out 30 lockers of eighth grade students on Thursday (truly), and half of them were reading books not required for school. I’ll assume the other half were required simply because they were from our school’s library. That’s the last time I TRIED finding an eighth grade student reading a book, and I’d assume you could as well if you do the legwork of asking a real kid.

    Simply, all I’m saying is you’ve really gone out of your way to get angry at something you haven’t examined or explored: real students in real schools. It’s really easy to find an antiquated test and draw uninformed decisions about connections to stats you haven’t presented. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in presenting a real argument, just like they teach today.

    I work with students from the age of 11-18 everyday in public schools as a full-time educator in Indiana. I can assure you there are real gems in the next generation that will make us all proud. They’re real students with good heads and huge hearts. It’s easy to receive information and statistics about how poorly they’re doing in our world today, but I ask you use that information to get on our side and meet them. Meet them and get them interested in real journalism, in discovery, in debate. They’re ready to take it on, but there are more idly writing than are writing idols in our world, and I ask you to be the latter… It’s much better for all of us.

  • Cameron Bradley

    Just a couple thoughts…
    This is the average eighth grade student’s year in every subject, each subject a sticky note test, on one test. Check out your state’s education standards and most likely you will find these subjects and questions to be mostly present on tests today. Some of the language and application is a bit antiquated, but most is still taught and tested today.

    Please do not assume college students to test comparably to eighth grade subjects. We have game shows like “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” to do that.

    Please do not display stats of how present-day students in other subjects and undisplayed stats of historical students in other subjects and grades compare. Please use both to make a point.

    Please do not make public education the point blank target of these debate fallacies. Because you cannot answer these questions does not mean they are not being taught.

    I cleaned out 30 lockers of eighth grade students on Thursday (truly), and half of them were reading books not required for school. I’ll assume the other half were required simply because they were from our school’s library. That’s the last time I TRIED finding an eighth grade student reading a book, and I’d assume you could as well if you do the legwork of asking a real kid.

    Simply, all I’m saying is you’ve really gone out of your way to get angry at something you haven’t examined or explored: real students in real schools. It’s really easy to find an antiquated test and draw uninformed decisions about connections to stats you haven’t presented. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in presenting a real argument, just like they teach today.

    I work with students from the age of 11-18 everyday in public schools as a full-time educator in Indiana. I can assure you there are real gems in the next generation that will make us all proud. They’re real students with good heads and huge hearts. It’s easy to receive information and statistics about how poorly they’re doing in our world today, but I ask you use that information to get on our side and meet them. Meet them and get them interested in real journalism, in discovery, in debate. They’re ready to take it on, but there are more idly writing than are writing idols in our world, and I ask you to be the latter… It’s much better for all of us.

  • Gina Salvati

    I am not sure I agree. The test seems difficult and I have no doubt that todays kids would do poorly on it. But if you could go back in time, and give the kids of yesterday a test from 2013 would they do just as poorly? If yesterdays kids cannot pass todays tests, then todays kids are not dumber, they simply have been taught different things, because they need to know different things today than they needed to know long ago. It might be enlightening if you were to post a similar test from 2013 so we could compare. That way we could see whether yesterdays kids were required to know more information, or merely different information.

  • Jonathan Baker

    As today, they taught to the test. Or rather, the test covers the material they learned then. None of it seems beyond 8th-grade today, if they spent their time learning this. But who really memorizes lists of state capitals any more?

    As my mother said from a history exam when she was a teacher, Cyrus McCormick invented the raping machine, which put a lot of good men out of work.

  • Bangortenor

    Yes, it is just terrible how little we know know today. If we were as smart as people were when thus test was devised I bet we would have , wireless phones, clean water, jet planes, satellites and… oh, wait, we do. What a freaking ridiculous article.

  • Anonymous

    As stated on their webpage:

    “As we noted on that page, the test focused on some things that were more relevant at that time than now, and it should not be used to compare student knowledge then and now.”

  • Marjorie

    Yes! And I agree with you that I know I have the ability to think more clearly then I am currently able. It bothered me that in college no one had REAL conversations about our world, it was just about the next party. I left college feeling dumbed down…no OK!

  • stellamaymarie

    “-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? “seriously? point well made.

  • Dimitrios Kirkos

    In the Idiocracy movie, there was a test with the following question: “If you have a bucket with 2 litres of water and another bucket with 4 litres of water, how many buckets do you have?” I bet one-third of today’s students would answer “6 litres”. Photographic learning…

  • Penelope Powell

    In addition to the educa system there are physical factors: flouride in the water lowers a child’s IQ by an avg of 6 pts. North America is deficient in iodine which affects the thyroid and the test for hypothyroidism is unreliable; natural thyroid is rarely used for replacement. Bromine in dough conditioners displaces iodine. GMOs may negatively affect the brain. Wi-fi, cell phones & smart meters all subject the brain to electromagnetic pollution.

  • winstons

    But why should ethnics be forced to learn White people’s math and science? That is racism at its worst!

  • ODizzLe

    Hey, I’m actually pretty good at geography. This is a fun test!!

  • marcus


  • Zaphod

    Just exercising our God-given American Right to be Stupid….

  • (40*40)+(30*30)=2500=LRsquared

    Dude “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?” all you have to do is use the Pythagoras Theorem, seriously where did you go to school?! You should of learned this before 8th grade, yes even in the USA.
    PS: LR=Length of Rope.

  • Marquita martin

    Why did the comment section turn into an argument about socialism and grammar? To get back to the subject at hand, I home-schooled my four kids and there is a discernible difference between children that have been home-schooled and those that have only been to public school. My kids were taught to think. I don’t always agree with them, but I am proud they are able to use logic. I would have failed eighth grade if I had to take this test to pass at the age of thirteen back in the early 60s. Things have only gotten worse.

  • Unfortunately this 1912 exam has its own errors with at least two under the Civil Government section. These errors have continued to be reinforced by government schools. They obfuscate the foundation of our American freedom and the very limited jurisdiction of the federal government. So, don’t negate yourself if you don’t score 100% on “Civil Government”.

    I have a number of blogs on this subject matter. Here’s one to start with:

  • David Redman

    Reason our granddaughter is being homeschooled by my wife: a teacher of 40 years and a masters in Special Education with a minor in math. Granddaughter is going into the 7th grade already, in all subjects, scores 13.6. Public education is suffering for many, many reasons.