Comments: 7
"Eighth grade education" doesn't mean what it used to!
Kaethe 4 years ago
If the schools didn't have books or paper then how could anyone take a five hour exam that requires extensive writing?
I don't think they were without pens and ink and paper; and I suppose they could have used the slates.
Books2day 4 years ago
That is a detail all the sources I went to seem to have left out (about paper and pencils). I will dig deeper though, because now you've got me wondering the same thing. Thanks!
Pencils, I think, were a big business by the late 19th century. I would think they would have had paper, as there was a big business in that, too.
Kaethe 4 years ago
The stuff in the beginning is pretty general, and not grossly inaccurate, but the test is actual a final exam for teachers, which makes much more sense.
Books2day 4 years ago
As a quick follow-up, there were of course writing materials - pencils, paper and dip pens available during that era. The issue for one-room schools and families of students was cost. Most writing was done on a slate with "slate pencils" often made of soapstone that wouldn't scratch the stone or create dust as chalk would. Kids could bring in a "copy book," a homemade notebook made of paper hand-stitched into a codex. These were used to copy information from a text book for study at home. Text books were costly, rare and had to be shared. Pencils and paper in general were considered too costly for "routine daily work." The test sample shown here was in fact from an 8th grade exam, no details were given on the mechanics of how it was administered. It should be further noted that the schools mentioned here were in poor, rural areas, not more affluent cities and towns. Hope that helps. There is a lot of info online for anyone who wants to dig further into the history of writing materials and schools. Thanks.