This copy of the Eighth Grade Exam for Bullitt County Schools in 1912 was donated to the museum. We thought you might like to see what the test looked like a hundred years ago. 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.
Note that there are several typesetting mistakes on the test including a mistake in the spelling list. The word “eneeavor” should be “endeavor.” This version of the exam was probably a master version given out to the schools (note that the spelling words wouldn’t be written on a test.) The museum has been told that the exam was handed out in a scroll form (that is why the paper is long.) The typos would have been corrected simply by contacting the teachers and telling them to mark their copies accordingly, much like would be done today. And there might not be quite as many typos as you think; “Serbia” for example was indeed spelled “Servia” back then.
Bullitt County Schools were mostly one-room schools in those days, scattered around the rural county. Students came together at the county courthouse once or twice a year to take this “Common Exam.” It was apparently a big deal. The local newspaper urged students to do well, even urging seventh graders that it was not too early to start preparing. Some scholarships were provided to those who passed to go on to high school, which was also a big deal back then. In those days, high school was sometimes another county away and a rare thing for many farm children to be able to otherwise attend.