Are You Smarter Than a Late 1800s Schoolteacher?

OK, granted, it doesn't have quite the ring to it that "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" does, but still...

There's been a hoax going around for quite some time about a test that Kansas eighth graders purportedly had to take in 1895 in order to go on to the next grade -- the "test" is crammed with humdingers like, "Write ten words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and syllabication."

According to Snopes, that test is a fake. But on the page where they debunk the maybe-my-grandaddy's-eighth-grade-education-was-enough myth, they list an 1870s test for school teachers. I would have failed it sure as I'm alive, but one question I could actually answer. Let's see if I'm the only one.

Write the past tense and past participle of these verbs:
Two freebies as an example, and one hint: if you start each one with, "Today, I ___," "Yesterday, I ____", and "I have ____", it'll help a lot.

Today I
Lay (Yesterday I Laid -- Past, I have Lain -- Past Participle)
Seek (Sought, Sought)

Past participles, in case you're wondering, indicate completed or past action, and are often paired with "has" or "have" (I have taken this test before.), or with a form of the verb "to be" to form a passive construction (This post was typed by my own two hands.).

Have Fun!


Bobby said...

I haven't had coffee yet this morning, or else no doubt I would smoke this test. I just don't feel up to it yet.


Laura said...

Then you'd better do it later to prove your brilliance, Gilles, or I will be forced to assume that you are just all smoke and no fire.

Laura's Dad said...

Okay, so I just finished a Grande Amaretto Latte with a double shot, and I can do this.

My problem is with the archaic past tense and participle forms: chode, for example. Beyond that, there is the ambiguity of "lie:" do you mean the reclining "lie" or the prevaricating "lie"? It makes a diff!

So, in response, and in pity of all those of other tongues trying to learn English with its 201 irregular verbs and its countless homophones (that's with an "N," folks!), and as this is national homophone week (well, not actually NATIONAL, but it's homophone week in the sixth grade at Sterling Middle School), can YOU name even ten of the more than TWENTY meanings of the sound "R - long O - Z" (as in "rose")?

And . . . when and where do we get to submit our answers to the quiz? And when will you post the right answers, oh grammatically correct one?

Laura said...

1. a flower
2. what the sun did yesterday
3. parallel lines or something, like in a garden
4. v. 3rd person singular, maneuvers a boat using oars
5. a color, pinkish
6. a plant that has roses on it

OK. Now I looked it up and they're all variations on that theme. And I only count 19 definitions, including "coming up roses."

I'll put the answers after someone does them all!!

Laura's Dad said...

Your #6 might be the same as your #1.

Add these three:
#7. the plural of "fight" (at least in one pronunciation of the word)
#8. the two species of fish laid two different kinds of these eggs
#9. a district in Bradford, England, spelled Wrose
#10. roughs, alternate spelling of #7 above
#11. the plural of a Greek letter
#12. one pronunciation of the shortened version of a lady's name, Rosalinda/Rosalin/Rosalyn
#13. plural of a European deer

mike said...

"nerd alert"

Laura said...

Dad, I've only heard the word "rows" pronounced like it rhymes with "plows." Roes is a good one -- didn't think of it!

Mike, it's a proven scientific fact that it's better to be a nerd than a nitwit!

BSJ-rom said...

Mike wishes he was a dimwit so he could fit in with the rest of us... but now with two degrees, both from the esteemed educational facility "UTas" and a college education at Calvin, there is no turning back. Mike you fit in here.

Whether you are "geek" or "nerd" remains to be seen. Both?

Laura's Dad said...

#14 Wines produced and bottled by the company Chateau du Reaux.

Excursus: I proudly admit to being a verbophile.

Laura's brother said...

Sit, sat, have sat
Get, got, gotten or got
Dare, Dared, Dared
Thrive, thrived or Throve, thrived or Thriven
Lie, Lied, Lied OR
lie, lay, lain
Set, Set, Set
Light, Lit, lighted
Loose, loosed, loosed
Fly, flew, flown
Flee, fled, fled
Chide, Chid, Chiden
Overflow, overflowed, overflown
Catch, caught, caught
Lose, lost, lost
Swim, swam, swum
Climb, climbed, climbed
Drink, drank, drunk
Stay, stayed, stayed
Leap, leapt or leaped, leapt or leaped
Quit, quit, quit
Swell, swelled, swelled
Burst, burst, burst
Eat, ate, eaten

Rabby said...

I got all a them wrong an so that stinks. It shore does. An I don't get it.

So I guess that tells you that yer test don't work, cuz ol' Rabby ain't stupid. I been around.

Andrew said...

The fascinating thing about the 1895 high school test is the way its used in the USA to show falling school standards.

An, easier, simpler (and considerablly more shocking) way of showing falling school standards is a direct comparison of what modern countries in the developed world demand for high school graduation.

The US education system was orignally modelled on that of Scotland with graduation at age 17 and a 4 year undergraduate degree course. This is still the same

To qualify for the equivalent of a 'High School Diploma' Scots teenagers need to past the 'Higher Examination' in 5 subjects. If they want a place as a good college they will need 7 or 8 subjects.

This is a an example of the CURRENT maths component of the testing scheme.


You'll find more tests by selecting from the subject column on the left hand side. The 'Intermediate' exams are junior high level, the 'Higher Exam' is taken at age 17 prior to college, the 'Advanced Higher' is equivalent to 'AP' - but much more demanding.


Scary huh?

Andrew Stone