How Thick Are Today’s Schoolchildren?

Vernon Coleman

Schoolchildren have spent so much time demanding that motor cars and heating be banned that they are finding their examinations rather tricky. They have been complaining that the exams are too difficult and should be simplified.

In fact, of course, school exams have been getting easier and easier for many decades.

Here, just for the record, are questions which the Wall Street Journal reports come from an exam paper set for children aged 13 to 14 in America in 1885:

1. Name three events of 1777. Which event was the most important, and why?
2. Name three principal mountain ranges in Europe, Africa and Asia.
3. Write a homogeneous quadranomial of the third degree.
4. Find the sum of the square roots of 16.7281 and 0.7225.
5. Name the countries that border Russia.
6. Who captured Fort Donelson in America’s Civil War?
7. Name the states on the west bank of the Mississippi and their capitals.
8. Write a sentence containing a noun used as an attribute, a verb in the perfect tense potential mood and a proper adjective.
9. What events are associated with the years 1565, 1607, 1664 and 1775?
10. Write a declarative sentence and change it to an imperative, to an interrogative, and to an exclamatory one, and punctuate it properly.

Maybe today’s snowflakes would be able to answer some of these if they spent more time at school and less time marching up and down carrying placards announcing that The End is Nigh.

Copyright Vernon Coleman June 2019