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Showing posts from September, 2015

Elsie's Music Exam

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Below is a copy of Elsie Johnson's 8th grade music final from 1910, Lake County, Indiana School District.  Music is taught today as an optional elective and the course title would be either Chorus, Band or Orchestra.  Classical composers aren't usually covered, either, as "noted musicians."
The music class content is extremely basic, much like is taught in our elementary curriculum today:
This is the last document I have on Elsie's school experience.  In addition to the final exams I've published (Reading, Grammar, Math, Geography, History and Music) Elsie was tested on spelling and penmanship.
Ahh, penmanship.  In Florida, penmanship is no longer taught.  I'm sure, like many of you dear readers, you learned cursive using the Palmer method.  D'Nealian became in vogue in the 1990's as it was a transition between printing and cursive.  In the last 5 years, cursive is no longer taught in elementary in Florida.  The reasoning is that keyboarding is …

Elsie's History

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Elsie Johnson was my husband's maternal grandmother.  She graduated as an 8th grader in 1910 from the Hobart Township, Lake County, Indiana school district.  With the start of a new school year I've been posting her final exams and comparing education then to now - 105 years later.
In 8th grade today in Florida, students continue to study American History.  The difference is they have a whole lot more history to learn since Elsie's day!  I was surprised to see that Elsie's test only measured through the Colonial Period.  No American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War or Reconstruction.
Perhaps the focus on the French and Indian War was due to Indiana's location.  Father Marquette and many fur traders were the earliest Europeans in Elsie's region. I was surprised that Elsie's answer to the cause of the French and Indian War was slavery.  Huh?  It wasn't marked wrong, either. My answer would have been similar to that of today's…

Elsie's Exams - A 1910 Geography Final

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Elsie Johnson was an 8th grade student in Hobart Township, Lake County, Indiana in 1910.  My past several posts have been highlighting her state mandated final exams.  Today the focus is geography.
The test questions are glued to the upper left hand corner.  It appears that 8th graders were required to complete the 7th and 8th grade year questions.  I like that as retention of material presented in the previous year can be measured.
The continents of Africa and Australia were studied extensively in 7th grade.  The 8th grade test questions were determined by the teacher; please view the third test page for those responses.  In 8th grade, students studied South America and Asia.  How interesting Europe is barely mentioned, especially since many of Elsie's generation would find themselves there in just a few years under the adverse circumstances of World War I!  I also find it odd that there is such a limited study of North America and no mention of Antarctica,
Geography is still …

1910 Indiana Science Test

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The Back to Basics movement in the U.S. likes to emphasize the teaching of only Reading, Writing and Arithmetic as harkening back to early American education's curriculum.  By the early 1900's, however, Science, History, Geography and Music were also taught.  Today I'm going to share with you Elsie Johnson, my husband's maternal grandmother's 8th grade end of year Indiana state assessment in science. Evidently, the area of physiology was the curriculum focus.
In middle school today, physiology is a part of both science and health.  The exam questions were glued to the upper left hand corner of the exam:
Elsie's answer to question 1 about smoking is:  "Tobacco dulls the mind and it affect the beating of the heart." Wow!  I always heard that the dangers of smoking were not known until the 1960's.  I remember when cigarette television commercials were banned. The tunes were so catchy we used to play "Cigarette Tag" as children during reces…

Elsie's Exams Continued - 1910 Grammar Exam

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Today in U.S. schools, Grammar is incorporated with writing, which along with reading, is taught through Language Arts in middle school and English in high school.  In the early 1900's, however, Reading and Grammar were separate subjects.  Think of the old song,

"School days, school days, Dear old golden rule days. 
'Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,  Taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick." 1


My husband's maternal grandmother, Elsie Johnson, had an 8th grade final grammar exam that I would have difficulty completing as I don't recall most of it.  The questions appear on the upper left hand corner of page one and were glued down.  Check out Elsie's 3 page test:

Elsie would have been considered an English Language Learner (ELL) today.  Although born in the U.S., Elsie's parents spoke primarily Swedish in the home and in her community.  Elsie attended a church that had services in her parents' native tongue and many of the shop keep…

More of Elsie's Exams - An Indiana 1910 End of Course Math Assessment

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Last time I shared my husband's maternal grandmother, Elsie Johnson's, 8th grade Indiana end of year reading assessment from 1910 and promised to post the math exam.  I'm fascinated with Elsie's math test as math was always a difficult subject for me in school.  In Florida, 8th graders take Algebra I, a high school credit course, unless they have scores at a low level on the 7th grade math assessment.  Since Algebra is considered a gateway math course, meaning it is the basics of all higher level math, success in that class is important.   Take a look at Elsie's Arithmetic exam page 1:
This would be a part our 7th grade curriculum today but only a small portion. I suppose the limited problems did show variation in using order of operations, fractions, decimals, and interpreting a story problem but I'm surprised there was no geometry, measurement, probability or graphing.  Clearly, being able to calculate a discount was considered of prime importance. I also fi…

Elsie's Exams - An Indiana 8th Grade Reading Assessment from 105 Years Ago

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Tests and schools go hand and hand.  Lately there has been much parent backlash regarding the number of and amount of time spent on school assessments.  The validity and reliability of the assessments are also an issue.  Last spring in my state, students were still completing their online state required end of course assessments when the legislature decided that the results couldn’t be used as they had not been normed.  Duh!  Teachers and administrators had been complaining about how unfair the tests were but no one listened until the 12th hour.   Another major educational concern is the use of a common core curriculum.  States rights advocates complain about Federal meddling.  Some educators complain that the common core doesn’t address what’s most important.   Personally, I’m over all of the testing requirements – it’s way too much and I wish politicians could witness the stress their mandates are causing children.  I’m glad I never had the pressure at 8 years old that today's kid…

Correcting Records Is A Feat!

Recently I’ve been ranting about the problem of looking for a record that never existed or once existed and has since vanished.  Today, I’m going to share a frustrating story about trying to correct an error in a record. As genealogists we know that it’s common to find discrepancies in records.  One census may show a person born in one year and the next census may show a different birth year.  A marriage record may state a person was born in one state but the census record may show a different state.  We know it’s a best practice to try to find primary sources but sometimes even a primary source isn’t correct and it becomes a herculean task to try to fix the error. Daughter recently moved and was trying to have her power turned on.  Power company told her they couldn’t do it because she had a discrepancy in her birthdate through one of the credit services they used.  She called the credit service (and I use the term service loosely!) and they refused to tell her which company had report…