Newly Discovered Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down America Has Become


Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”? It is a movie about an “average American” that wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that is surrounding him. Unfortunately, that film is a very accurate metaphor for what has happened to American society today. We have become so “dumbed down” that we don’t even realize what has happened to us. But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. When I read this exam over, I was shocked at how difficult it was. Could most eighth grade students pass such an exam today? Of course not. In fact, I don’t even think that I could pass it. Sadly, this is even more evidence of “the deliberate dumbing down of America” that former Department of Education official Charlotte Iserbyt is constantly warning us about. The American people are not nearly as mentally sharp as they once were, and with each passing generation it gets even worse.

Just check out some of the questions from the eighth grade exam that was discovered. Do you think that you could correctly answer these?…

-Through which waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?

-How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body?

-How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 feet high to the ground 30 feet from the base of a building?

-Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?

-During which wars were the following battles fought: Brandywine, Great Meadows, Lundy’s Lane, Antietam, Buena Vista?

A copy of the exam is posted below. Today, it would be a real challenge for many college students to correctly answer most of these questions correctly…


If you would like to know what the correct answers to these questions are, you can find them right here.

One of the areas that Americans are horribly deficient in today is geography. If you give them a blank world map, most Americans can only identify a very limited number of countries. In fact, according to a survey that was conducted by the National Geographic Society several years ago, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could find the nation of Iraq on a map of the world even though the United States was actively fighting a war there at the time.

Our young people are also horribly deficient when it comes to math and science. At this point, 15-year-olds in the United States do not even rank in the top half of all industrialized nations when it comes to math and science literacy.

How do we expect to thrive as a nation with these kinds of results?

In a previous article entitled “Dumb As A Rock: You Will Be Absolutely Amazed At The Things That U.S. High School Students Do Not Know“, I discussed some more survey results that show how dumb our high school students have become…

*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.

*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.

*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.

Even more shocking were the results of a survey of Oklahoma high school students conducted back in 2009. The following is a list of the questions that were asked and the percentage of students that answered correctly….

What is the supreme law of the land? 28 percent

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26 percent

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27 percent

How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10 percent

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14 percent

What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61 percent

What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43 percent

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11 percent

Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent

Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29 percent

So why is this happening?

Well, for one thing, our system of public education is a complete and total joke. We have millions of kids “graduating from high school” that can barely read, that have almost no ability to speak in public, that cannot write a decent essay and that cannot balance a checkbook.

It also doesn’t help that Americans (especially young Americans) are absolutely addicted to entertainment. Americans spend an average of 153 hours watching television each month, and when we aren’t watching television we are watching movies, playing video games, surfing the Internet, etc.

When is the last time that you saw a young person actually reading a book that was not required for school? Yes, it does happen once in a while, but it is so rare that it is kind of startling when you spot it happening.

But it is not just our young people that have been “dumbed down”. Even our presidents have been “dumbed down”. If you doubt this, just check out this amazing graphic which shows how the reading level of State of the Union addresses has steadily declined since the beginning of our nation.

Personally, I have an awareness that I should be able to think much more clearly than I am able to right now. I can feel the effect that our society has had on my own mental abilities, and it frustrates me.

A lot has been written about the decline of our health here in America, but very little gets written about our mental decline. That is a shame, because our ability to think clearly and rationally is so very critical to our future.

So what do you think about all of this?

Do you agree that America has been “dumbed down”?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

I'm With Stupid

Republished from: The American Dream

  • Bonnie

    So what! America! What America? You mean the U.S.?
    You’re the ignorant one calling the U.S. : America.

    Talk about dumbdown today? Are you talking about the same “boys” that when to other people’s country’s , and killed the people there? You know, followed lorders blindly? Raping and slaughtering Filipinos by the millions?
    Calling Filipinos “Niggers” and “sub-human”?

    STEALING the Kingdom of Hawaii, right from under Queen Liliuokalani, who thge Hawaians loves so much?

    The very brilliant “boys” that went to China, and put down the “Boxer Rebellion,” of gthe Chinese, who were protesting the invasion of their country, by the West?

    It sure takes being educated to follow orders, all right!

  • will

    How many people actually made it to the 8th grade in 1912?

  • Roha

    Their geography was good, but their grammar was faulty.

    “How long of a rope” should be “How long a rope”. No “of”.

    (I know there are people who put a superfluous “of” in such constructions, but it is wrong.)

    • xham

      I think you mean what length of rope…I don’t think how long a rope is correct but might be mistaken.

  • Tommy

    10% of us know what’s going on. That’s pretty good.
    Now if we can just get all of those 10% into the highest level government jobs, we will only need 23% more and we will have a fully staffed competent government.

    And please excuse the behavior of our military. They are only following the orders of career fighters (they lose their careers if fighting stops) and they are all the youngest possible age that their parents will allow us to send them off to die. They are mostly teenagers trying to prove their adulthood to their peers. They haven’t completed the process called “growing up” yet. Please forgive them, for they know not what they do. If they did know they would turn those guns around and remove the infestation from our government and help us replace them with that 10% we were talking about earlier. We could try IQ tests? A simple requirement for public office or ANY office of government? High scores win good luck :)

    • I.Q. Tests? I know of a Mensa/Densa who once had an 185 iq who now is addicted to aspartame & other like emotional/physical addictions who still won’t admit that 911 was an inside job & Bin Dead for years was just another Qbama media stunt. What we need is some common sense…not stupid iq bs!

  • stk33

    It depends on how you measure. Some skills become obsolete with the time. Today’s youth may be unable to resolve some puzzles from the past, but they have different skills instead, which may be more relevant for this age. For example, if today’s child does not know in his head the waters between England and Manila, but would find the answer in 10 seconds using internet, then, maybe he does not need to keep that in his head? Taking this to the extreme, I’m sure that we all would fail to produce the fire by friction of two wooden sticks, while any primitive man would do that easily. Does that mean that we have declined?

  • Matt

    I have read the test over and 51 years after the 8th grade I could not answer most of those questions but I could have made a serious stab at them. But I agree that in today’s school system the kids would not have a clue at the 8th grade level and maybe not even at 12th grade level. Assuming a passing grade is 75% then a student would have to score 600 out of 800 on the test. Based on the high school surveys of today I find it difficult to believe our students are up to it.
    What I also found to be interesting is that of the other three responses no one addressed the article. Bonnie wanted to talk about the U.S. being a war monger and somehow had forgotten U.S.A. is United States of America so it is appropriate to either say U.S. or America. Also Bonnie needs to proof read prior to sending a comment. If Roha read the test she or he would have discovered the word “of” was not in the question. And I have no clue as to where Tommy was getting his percentages from and why he addressed the kids in the military instead of the kids in school.

    • stk33 pointed out the obvious….why cram your head with perhaps useless info when u can Google it with NSA’s blessings¿

      Years ago Henry Ford said the same pretty much….u can Google his quotes & find ione of them yourself perhaps:-)

      US Corporation was apparently designed from its birth as the 40 boundary stones planted in D.C. 1792-3 prove. Wake up Tommy…you were sold before you were born as chattle to the international banksters. Your birth certificate once had value to them until recently as I currently understand international finances.

      Notice this test came out in 1912. 1913 was the illegitimate birth of the FED. Yes many people don’t understand the big con yet. But so many more young people do. The old test is merely a marker of what was once relevant.

      The only item I bother googling from above test was the price of a cord of wool today versus back in 1912. That info tells the true story of what the FED has done to this country & the world!

  • Notice that in the Civil Government question #6 ~ ‘title of nobility’ is mentioned. Ps that means no lawyers who are all ultimately working for the British Crown can hold public office:i. e. B.A.R.

    See this link on the original 1819 ratified 13th amendment on this seemingly now arcane subject matter:-$

    Ps for more jollies ~ Google the 40 Boundary Stones surrounding ‘the jurisdiction of the United States’ in 1792-3 of Washington D.C.. i.e.

  • As for American mental health issues raised by the author of this article…All one has to do is google Jon Rappoport’s recent interview with an ex vaccine scientist to get the ‘nitty gritty’ on how vaccines are the backbone of the drug companies ability via propaganda to control our mental facility to discern obvious negative facts it seems:-) You can find Jon’s interview on page 62 in this free pdf e-book download on ’21 Reasons Not To Vaccinate!’ 

  • I absolutely believe we’ve been “dumbed down”, and I don’t believe for a second that this is an unintended outcome. This was by design.

  • A

    Totally agree with you Anna Van Z! The more dumb down the U.S is, the easier it is to influence its people. The government is obsessed with power and control, and it’s been that way since forever. However, now people are beginning to awaken at a quicker rate. If it’s true that 10% of us are awaken, then it will be less than no time to double that number.

  • You may have noticed that the religious/authoritarian right has actively assisted in the drill-and-test modus operandi in public education. Back in the late 80’s, when I was fresh out of teacher’s college, the fundamentalist right had a very specific agenda, which was to essentially take over local school boards and infiltrate public school staff nationwide. This agenda was described in chilling detail by an amazing piece of investigative journalism published by the NEA (back when they still functioned like a non-corporate teacher’s union). I would love to find a copy of this, but have been unable to do so.

    Anyway, at the school where I taught, these people would literally barge into classrooms demanding copies of lesson plans, and fill school board meetings with wingnuts demanding an end to critical thinking skills and holistic educational practices. The fundies claimed that teaching critical thinking skills was promoting “the religion of secular humanism” and that it taught kids to “question authority and what they were taught at home.” They also seemed to loathe social studies and literature.

    They favored rote memorization and regurgitation, which as any educator knows constitutes the lowest level of thinking. They were big on the standardized tests as the end-all measure of learning. Looking back over the last few decades, I’d say they’ve succeeded. The last time I taught in a public school classroom was 13 years ago, and the school staff seemed to consist largely of “church ladies” and some of the summer school staff were teaching kids church hymns and talking about Jesus.

    The fundamentalist right actively seeks and supports authoritarian systems, and dislikes dissenters, outsiders, and/or “non-believers.” People who think for themselves are a threat, and the last thing that either a fascist government or right-wing extremists want is kids that grow up thinking for themselves.

    I noticed that on the exam from 1912, while many of the questions required simple regurgitation, a number of others required the ability to describe, apply, and synthesize knowledge.

    The young people I have come across more recently are great at navigating the net and using all types of devices and software, but couldn’t reason their way out of a paper bag. And the young children seem to have no time for free play and exploration, and spend very little time outside. Every facet of their day is micromanaged by adults, who even select their playmates and activities. The remainder of the child’s day is spent with various electronic babysitters. Which apparently suits the parents just fine. What an empty way to grow up!

    A, I hope you’re right that people are beginning to wake up faster!