Every once in a while, I see something passed around the Internet that purports to be a high school graduation requirement from 1885--and the demands are so high that it is a bit hard to believe. To be fair, however, most Americans did not go on to high school in 1885--so we may be looking at a pretty elite population that graduated high school back then. On the other hand, my great-great-great-grandfather's Civil War diary makes use of a vocabulary that I think would surpass many college graduates today. (Okay, he was a school teacher when he wasn't a farmer.)
I was therefore surprised and a little sad to see this 1931 West Virginia Elementary Diploma Test that graduating eighth graders apparently needed to pass. This is an image of the original, at the Washington Post website, so if this is a fraud, it's an astonishing clever fraud.
Let me emphasize: this is to graduate eighth grade. I see a depressing number of college students that might have trouble passing this, and even many college graduates who might struggle with many of the questions. At the risk of being accused of stereotyping, let me emphasize: West Virginia. I suspect that expectations might have been higher in some other states.
No wonder this country is in such trouble.