Graduating From One-Room Schoolhouse Required Passing Test

Before a student could graduate from a one-room schoolhouse, he or she had to pass a test.

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When I started to school (1921-1922) we had a new one-room schoolhouse, which cost about $4,000.

In order to graduate from the eighth grade and receive a diploma, we had to take county examinations which were held in our local high schools. In the 7th grade we took tests in these three subjects: Reading, Geography, Physiology. In the 8th grade there were nine subjects: Kansas History, Classics, Agriculture, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, US History, Civics and Spelling. We were graded by percentage, with an average of 80% required to graduate. Our graduation ceremony for all in the county who had passed these tests was held in the high school at the county seat. There was an honor roll of those who averaged 90% or above, and as I remember of the top 10 we were asked to be on the program with a reading, music, solo, etc. with no rehearsal beforehand!

Esther Lewis
Mission, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.