I found this paging through an 1883 Fourth Grade reader I was getting ready to sell on eBay.
The following is the exercise at the end of an eight paragraph reading. In other words, not an exam, just a typical homework lesson. Just so you know, the numbers in (parentheses) are the paragraph numbers of the text in question.
I. Explain “advertisement” (1); “townsmen” (4). Give the distinction between “neighbor” and “friend” (4). What phrase (6) now and then? To work “by fits and starts” is the opposite of working ——- How?
II. Write an analysis: — advertiser clothier industrious.
III. Write the plurals of: service; salesman; child; quality; correspondence; duty.
IV. Separate the compound sentence in paragraph 8 onto the simples sentences (prepositions) of which it is made up.
V. Write the form of a newspaper advertisement stating that an honest, industrious boy is wanted by a grocer. Write an answer to an advertisement of this sort
I don’t think, 130 years later (with the government in control of education for the past 100 years) that even a fourteenth grade student could correctly answer all of these questions.
The current school system is the miserable failure that only government can create.
This is a shining example. I believe it is time to get rid of the brick and mortar and get beck to education