My posts about the validity of the 1895 8th grade exam have become quite popular, in fact the original post 1895 8th Grade Exam: True or False? is the most popular post and second most visited page (Home page is first) on my blog. The subsequent Answers to the 1895 8th Grade Exam is in the top ten posts as well.
With such popularity, I thought I’d dig deeper and find more sources to corroborate the exam. Additionally, the Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve has restructured their website and the .gov link is no longer valid.
On the restructured Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve’s website, there is more information about the Lower Fox Creek School and the 1895 8th Grade exam. In fact, the national park has posted the 8th grade exam on their website. The page even includes the Rules for Teachers and cites it has been “taken from The Country Schools of Kansas, by Bill Samuelson”). The national park cites the exam “was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS,” and it was “reprinted by the Salina Journal.”
The Tallgrass National Prairie Reserve’s website also has a page with more information about the Lower Fox Creek School. Although there is no expressed link between the 1895 8th grade exam and the Lower Fox Creek School, the link to the 8th grade exam is at the bottom of the page for Lower Fox Creek School, leading me to believe the connection is still being made. As stated on the national park’s website, the school is a historic landmark – a one room schoolhouse near Strong City, KS. The 1895 exam was given in a one-room schoolhouse in Salinas, KS. The two cities are close to one another. You can also learn more about the students and teachers (including their salaries!) of the Lower Fox Creek School from another link on the national park’s website.
But amongst all this proof of existence of the exam, one fact is actually missing. The exam does not specifically state “8th Grade exam”. The 1895 8th grade exam page on TruthOrFiction.com points out this very important fact. The exam exists and the time period is correct, but the site points out that the exam could have been for adults or more specifically, for teachers. Take a look at the following pictures from TruthOrFiction.com.
So what does this all mean? Is it true or false?
Well, I would call it somewhat true. The exam exists. There are more than enough credible sources that authentic the existence of the exam. The date of 1895 is correct, in fact, we can be even more specific with the images from TruthOrFiction.com and state it was given on April 13, 1895. But as to whether or not it was given to 8th graders, that cannot be confirmed as the grade level is not listed on the exam. We can deduce that in 1895, most students did not make it past the primary school and many graduated after the 8th grade since compulsory education ended at 14 (8th year) at that time [For more history on the US Education system, read its Wikipedia page].
In other words, the exam says “Examination Graduation” and since graduation occurred at the end of the 7th or 8th grade years in 1895, we could deduce that this exam is completely, 100% true.