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Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader from 1912?

Are students smarter now than they were 100 years ago? That's the debate a newly released standardized exam from 1912 in Kentucky is creating.

The Smithsonian Magazine published a reproduced copy of the exam, which we've copied in this blog.

The Dori Monson Show crew decided to take the challenge and see how many questions they could answer. Dori was the clear winner in the math section, while news anchor Ursula Reutin was able to answer some of the physiology questions.

But overall, that had Dori asking if today's students are as smart as generations past.

"Eight graders knew this stuff 100 years ago! This is crazy," said Dori. "But the fact that they could ask questions like that, this is what's happened to our education system - how many eighth graders do you think could answer?"

Ursula and producer Jake think today's students are taught more relevant information than being able to identify the three largest states in the United States, in order of size.

"It's all about memorization," said Jake. "I know what the Gulf Stream is, who cares about the capitals of states on the Ohio River?"

"They studied for weeks and then they took this exam," said Ursula.

So how do you match up against 1912's eighth grade classes? Take the test (no cheating!) - or better yet, have your middle school student take it - and then check the answers, courtesy of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society.






















The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Dori Monson every weekday at 12noon on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FMTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12noon for The Dori Monson Show.

About the Author


Jillian Raftery is a reporter for KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. She loves the neighborly vibe of the Pacific Northwest and spends as much time as possible outdoors.

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