Skip to comments.Were children smarter a century ago?
Posted on 07/31/2013 5:25:21 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Test for eighth graders in Kentucky dated 1912 ignites debate over kids' intelligence today
A general examination to test eighth grade students in Kentucky's Bullitt County school system in 1912 has stumped some adults and ignited a debate over the intelligence of children today.
The arithmetic, geography, civil government, physiology, grammar and history questions range from 'What is a personal pronoun?' to 'Who first discovered Lawrence River?' and 'Define Cerebrum'.
Posted on Lew Rockwell, the type-written test has promoted some adults to try and answer the questions, and caused some parents to critique the U.S. school system.
'I performed poorly,' wrote Jezebel's Laura Beck. 'But to be fair/excuse my stupidity, some of the answers, especially history, are very different now that we know more of the truth.'
Some questions are specific to Bullitt County, such as 'name five county officers in your region,' while other aspects of the test are antique.
But many parents argue that the children in 1912 who took such tests were no smarter than the children of today.
One commenter noted: 'Most of these questions are memorization-based. They prompt memorized answers with specific words that would have been used in classes back then.
'There are very little critical thinking questions or any other questions that require more than rote memorization to complete.'
Another woman, under the name of Leah Jaclyn, agreed, writing: 'Often people who think our kids are dumb fail to realise that rote memorisation is a skill that is not often required anymore.'
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Could you pass this test? A general examination to test eighth grade students in Kentucky's Bullitt County school system in 1912 has stumped some adults and ignited a debate over the intelligence of children today
More parts of the test at the source. Also, more excuses from today’s educators.
I wouldn’t have passed the spelling test, especially with words like “eneeavor.”
Today’s educators denounce “rote memorization” as a skill.
It’s a required basis for the rest of learning. It’s part of the “grammar” stage of learning, on which being able to think logically and discuss logically.
Of course, those last two stages would be detrimental to the communist movement, so knock the foundations out before anyone gets started on that “logic” nonsense.
Dummies for Democrats
I had to look up “kalsomining”.
“Are schools much, much worse than a century ago?”
Were children smarter? Unlikely. However, those who reached 8th grade had been taught what they needed to pass this test over the prior 8 years. If they didn’t pass - and it would be interesting to see the pass rate - they were done with formal schooling and went to work.
Were children smarter a century ago?
No. They just weren’t as dumb—which has to do with the information they are given to work with.
Dear Lord, please guide our course.
A century ago, children were taught the moral and critical thinking skills they needed for life. Now, they are taught there is no moral authority and to think what the group is told to think, that is facts by consensus.
Just watch Jay Leno’s Jaywalking routine for proof of the moron eruption in an “enlightened” stronghold like LA.
Rote memorization? I challenge the person making that statement to answer the math questions with partial fractions.
Sure, it’s not the way these things are taught now, but, it can be done and the question was designed that way.
Rote memorization...of your own name, birthday, address and phone number. No, we can’t have that.
I used to have my multiplication tables (through 12) memorized to the point that a teacher could stop the class, propose a multiplication problem, and I wouldn't need to write or think. It was automatic.
Same went for spelling tests and vocabulary.
Rote memorization was the cornerstone of my upbringing and my education, and it's still the cornerstone of education in countries like India and China where they are kicking our collective scholastic asses across the globe.
This country is lost.
There is a base of facts. Understanding, “what is a fact, what is not” is the core of what should be taught if one is teaching critical thinking.
That’s NOT what this teacher is talking about. To her - ‘critical thinking’ amounts to moral relativism, being taught to challenge the morals of their parents, church, etc. (but never to challenge the teacher or society that their ideas might be wrong). It is exactly as posted before that principles are stripped away to be replaced with questioning.
Too many people understanding “what is fact and what is not” would be highly detrimental to the leftist cause.
My kids had a 4th grade teacher in CA (in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s) who used to teach the times tables by memory. BUT the parents of the kids in her classes were sworn to secrecy about the practice because she swore that she would be fired if the administration found out what she was doing.
She was about 5 years from retirement.
Hence why I teach it to my students in my second class of the term. :)
Have you ever seen a parent in a store on one knee lecturing his/her 2 year old about “why it’s not okay to pillage the aisles”? The attempt to reason with the unreasoning, where basic cognitive functions aren’t in place yet reeks of overreach and a failure to understand what the mind is/is not capable of performing at the different stages of development. It’s the same idea with education. Somehow libs got it in their heads that children 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, are reasoning creatures and need to be “taught” using more advanced methods to address their “innate higher learning abilities.”
Truth is, education today fails to lay the proper foundation for learning and, thus, doom their young charges to a lifetime of either a) head scratching or b) smugness about why things they don’t know/can’t do are unimportant.
To answer the question simply, no I dont think children were smarter a century ago. They just knew more.
My 11 year old cousin was “reasoned with” by my aunt from a very young age.
He’s the most petulant, rude, disrespectful, ignorant little shit I’ve ever met, and my aunt wonders where she went wrong.
They were certainly better educated, no question.
But, then, hey, we have to bolster the self-esteem of our young morons as they destroy society all around us.
Intelligence is not the difference. Discipline is the difference. Teachers weren’t paid to babysit and propagandize back then; they were paid to teach.
They were also better disciplined. They didn’t dare back talk the teacher.
View it and weep (or laugh):
In honor of the Kermit Gosnell / Wendy Davis wing of the Democrat Party, the Media Research Centers Dan Joseph went to one of those bastions of Obamas low-information voters, the college campus, to ask students to sign a petition legalizing "4th trimester" abortions. Sadly, the results are predictable.
The main issue would be understanding how many feet in a yard or mile and how much a cord was but I would have known how to get the answers to all of these by the time I finished sixth grade.
However, it doesn't mean the kids are dumber... these questions do not reflect the standards required of 8th grade students. I'm sure the 8th graders from that day would struggle with some of the concepts that are taught today.
Students can't learn what they aren't taught.
I start every class with a short "math fact" drill. I think it's important that students can perform basic operations with simple numbers quickly and accurately. I also teach using calculators... but as a convenience, not as an crutch. We don't use calculators when we couldn't do the same problem without one.
I know some teachers believe a calculator should never be used. I'm not one of them; we live in a world where technology is widely available, and students need to use it responsibly.
‘But to be fair/excuse my stupidity, some of the answers, especially history, are very different now that we know more of the truth.’
Does that mean that now history has been changed to reflect the truth as the teachers see fit?
Not having to memorize times tables/ core curriculum:
For the moment, well look at the third factor, because of the other seemingly endless debate (in addition to calculators): times tables memorization. Were going to try to end this silly debate once and for all (ha!). There is sufficient rationale for knowing ones times tables: even at the highest levels of mathematics, there comes a time that two numbers must be multiplied. But beyond its obvious utility, there is greater depth to the times tables than just memorization. There are important patterns inherent in the times tables that can lead to a deeper understanding of the nature of numbers and ultimately, lead to more profound problem solving and abstract abilities. The times tables can play a central role in fostering some fairly advanced mathematical thinking, even in elementary school Once again, there are problems with the Common Core starting at the very beginning of its treatment of a topic: how it introduces the concept. CCSSI begins a piecemeal approach to multiplication in 2.OA.4:
Use addition to find the total number of objects arranged in rectangular arrays with up to 5 rows and up to 5 columns; write an equation to express the total as a sum of equal addends.
Without saying as much, this is repeated addition. Certainly thats how one begins, but then what? Following CCSSI, students will spend an entire summer after second grade thinking that 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 20, and so what? It is both ridiculous and demeaning to leave students hanging with repeated addition as the way to total an array.
Instead, finding the total number of objects in an array by repeated addition should culminate in an introduction to multiplication as a shorthand notation. Theres no rhyme or reason for separating these two concepts.
Yes. That really raised my hackles!
I have to say that I could have answered more of these questions when I was IN the 8th grade (or the 10th grade) than I could now. I can no longer diagram a sentence, for instance, but I was prtty good at it back then.
But, I think this test is a good example of why my late father in law (an orphan) could leave school after 8th grade and become an engineer with G.E. with 17 patents to his name after only a few night school classes.
Also, I dare to surmise that he did not have his time wasted during the school day with “diversity studies”, “sec ed”, PE, etc. And those kids who did not keep up were passed over and dropped out. A college education was not required for most jobs in those days, so high school was more rigorous.
And even if they did pass, many were done with formal schooling and went to work on their family farms or in their family businesses. And were better educated than many college grads today.
I used to teach adult ed at a community college; helping prepare students for SAT and GED classes. I was shocked at some of the people that had rec’d a HS degree and could hardly read or add.
Excellent example. Good for him.
Obviously I did not learn to type properly. This danged keyboard causes these errors. (Does that sound like Obama?)
I, too, teach (HS English) and am always “amused” by what it is that students don’t know (basic facts, basic operations, basic learning components) and then, by what they are asked to do at the secondary level (write research papers, solve complex word problems, evaluate implications in the sciences, etc.) Having not been hard-wired with the basics (through techniques such as rote-learning of multiplication tables, for instance), students are often over-matched in the secondary classroom. Their brains have not acquired the kind of functionality that these early steps of learning provide, thus rendering higher-level critical thinking skills out of reach (in many cases).
The use of technology should serve as a quick route to helping to solve complex math problems—after the basics (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing) have been mastered. To do otherwise, is to eliminate a necessary step toward higher-level thinking. Same is true of the idea of spell-check in word processing programs.
Thank you for that link!
And people wonder why Indians and Asians, in general, constitute the majority of computer programs both domestically and abroad.
For the record, I learned numbers on an abacus.
I returned to college to finish a biz degree after a 40 year absence, and I could not believe some of the people in my class who also could not read, or add. We all received the same “degree” at the end of the line, however. I got a special award for having the highest grade point in the class, but I did not qualilfy for “summa” or “magna” because most of my credits came from UC Berkeley so they didn’t count! LOL.
We had to do a lot of team projects, a very popular type of assignment these days. I think this is supposed to teach work place cooperation. To me it is just a device where the weaker members of the team ride on the coat tails of the stronger members. I always volunteered to prepare the final paper because that was the only way I could be confident that the paper would be formatted, footnoted, and prepared according to the prof’s specifications. No point in losing credit for margins that are the wrong width! Use a ruler, FGS.
One day I was typing up a paper for my group, and the work from one of my team members sounded awfully familiar. I looked up the topic in my text book and found that she had COPIED the entire first chapter! I called her up and pointed out that she was plagiarizing the author’s work. She said, “No, it’s a ‘block quote’.” I pointed out that block quotes could be 2 or 3 lines, not a whole chapter — that she had to turn it around and put it in her own words. She just said, “Do whatever you want” with it.
I re-wrote her whole section, and we got an A.
BTW, her uncle had formerly been Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools and was an adjunct prof at Marquette U at the time. Oh, and her promise to help me with my statistics course in exchange? All a fake. The course where I saved her (and myself) from a plagiarism charge was her last. She graduated, never to be seen again.
She was attending this private college on a full scholarship and even got extra money for a typist because she was suffering from “carpel tunnel syndrome”. Did I mention that she was one of “Holder’s people”?
Spencerian Handwriting for Rachel Jeantel
Those Sower biographies look really interesting.
WE had a group project in a college class. I was outnumbered by some morons, especially one guy that thought that all he had to do in this world to succeed was throw around fifty dollar words and he became the leader of the group. Ironically the project was to explain some technology and we were taught to always write at 8th to 10th grade level.
I had a high grade point average, so when the professor called me into her office to tell me that our project had earned a D (said she couldn’t even understand what the paper was talking about), I just laughed, told her that since the project wouldn’t affect my grade that much I just let those people make fools of themselves, and told her that in the real world I would have just fired them. She changed my grade.
Unfortunately, and my University, they believed so strongly in the group project that all members of the group received the same grade, no matter what. I resented that, but I just had to go along.
I found that all of the smarter students resented that form of grading. Our defense was to try to manipulate the system so that we could get assigned with the other smarter students. It didn’t always work. Some of the teachers would assign groups according to where you sat in class, some would allow the groups to “self form”, some would make assignments alphabetically.
As recently as 45 years ago a small, Christian based, liberal arts college in Florida had an education program based on subject material expertise. If you were going to teach, lets say history, your major was history and you minored in education.
A decade later the priorities were changed - you majored in education and minored, if at all, in the subject you were going to teach.
The fallacy behind this theory was brought home in the mid-1990s when my children were in middle school and high school. I got into a minor contest with one of the teachers who claimed, because she had a degree in education, she could teach anything. Things got ugly when I asked her to teach me thermal dynamics inside a breeder reactor. It wasn’t much better when I asked to be taught Mandarin Chinese.
When she tried to hide behind I didn’t know what it meant to be a teacher I showed her my Florida State Teacher’s License to teach high school history.
Bottom - line: We, the tax payers, have bought into a false theory of education supported by college professors that have no outside, of the classroom, experience. And the ones that are paying for this worship of the false god “PhD” are our children.
So, wow, that happens at college, too? In secondary school, group activities are almost required - and making sure you have the correct mix of low/middle/high achievers in each group. In this way, it is thought, the low-enders will be brought along by the high-achievers.
What a sham! The result is to slow the on-grade-level students down to the level of the languishing ones—the dumbing down of education. And you say this happens at college, too...hmmmmm....
Me and two other people made an A on a finance test and were ostracized by the rest of the class for messing the grading curve for them as they collectively decided that if everyone failed (to learn anything)they could still pass.