Thursday, September 10, 2015

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

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 find it interesting that Roman Numerals were used to differentiate the problems.
Elsie was administered an algebra test but with a score less than 75%, the state of Indiana would not consider it to be passing:
(See my blog of  6 Sep 2015 for the exam cover page which highlights rules to pass.)
I wonder if algebra was taught to 8th graders and if they did not pass, a more basic exam was given to them so that they could be promoted to the grade level. None of Elsie's exams are dated, other than the school year on the front cover, and the pages are loose leaf so I have no idea in what order the exams were administered.
I love the handwritten note circled at the top after the formula to solve is given stating "That old story."  Makes me laugh every time I see it!  Clearly, Elsie was over the story problems using marbles in the scenario.  


2 comments:

  1. Math requirements have changed a lot through the years. What used to just be arithmetic is now a lot more complicated! I have to admit I always hated algebra and probably wouldn't do any better than Elsie did with her 60%.

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  2. I agree, Linda. Thanks for your comment. Lori

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