Preparation for 8th grade exams
Tonight I came across a workbook, Using Arithmetic in Everyday Life, that I had in elementary school. The workbook dates from my 8th grade year, 1964-65.
Our teacher was getting us ready for our 8th grade exams, and she wanted to be sure we could do story problems. This arithmetic workbook has 126 pages, and except for the explanations and examples, it is entirely story problems. I'm sure I found the problems tedious to solve -- they often involved two or more steps.
This book, Using Arithmetic in Everyday Life, was published by the Warp Publishing Company of Minden, Nebraska, and copyrighted in 1942 and 1957. Everyday life in Nebraska, for many students in those years, was spent on a farm or ranch. The author acknowledges that fact with word problems like these:
Suppose your father should test his seed corn and find that 12 out of 72 grains did not sprout. What percent sprouted? If he should plant 45 acres with this seed, how many acres of this field would not have any corn on them?
Mr. White's corn yielded 50 bushels per acre. He sold one third of the corn through a commission agent who charged 3%. If corn were $1.25 per bushel, what was the agent's commission. How much did Mr. White receive?
No authors are mentioned on the workbook's title page, but when I searched for "Warp's Review Books", I saw that Harold and Ruth Warp of Minden, Nebraska, are credited for writing earlier (1929-1930) workbooks. Student workbooks were available for 17 different topics in 1931, and the Teacher's Examination Review Books covered another 20 areas of study.
The primary goal of the Warp Review Books was to prepare students for the 8th grade exams. That's why they were written, and that's why our teacher had us doing arithmetic problems in one of them.
The 8th grade exam was still a big deal in Rock County, Nebraska in 1965 when I took it. The newspaper always carried a photo of the two top-scoring students with their teachers. (This was as much an honor for the teachers as for the students!)
I tried hard on the test, but the top glory that year went to Curtis Ratliff and his teacher, whoever she was, at the Bassett Elementary School. I don't remember who had the second-highest score. I had the third highest score, so the extra practice in the Warp's arithmetic book may have helped me. I just should have done a few more pages!