Most Adults Can't Pass This Elementary School Standardized Test. Can You?

Mark Lichtenstein

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

If you've been away from school for a while, things have changed! High school juniors and seniors are learning college content and are urged to take AP courses to earn AP credit before they leave home. This scholarly pursuit has created a trickle-down effect that is working through all the grade levels. 

In addition, moving from the bottom up there have been changes as well. For instance, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 requires assessments of children in public schools. That means kindergartners are expected to be able to read, write, and do simple math before being allowed to move to the first grade. And if that's not enough, technology has entered the classroom in a big way. It's more likely today you would see whiteboards or even iPads instead of neat rows of desks facing the chalkboard. 

If you think the educational system has gone too far, that's not true. The most recent cross-national test, the Programme for International Student Assessment, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. And this is with elementary school students learning proper grammar, key concepts in science, the capitals of China, Afghanistan and India and more. 

Many students even know the coefficient of restitution and the number of degrees of tilt of the Earth's axis. But you'll do better than a second-grader on this quiz, right? There's only one way to find out. Start the quiz now. 

Which of these is correct?

"Dear Mom," is the right way to start off a letter to your mom. Mom is a name and thus should be capitalized, and a comma goes at the end of the line.

What is it called when light moves from one medium to another and becomes a rainbow?

Through the process of refraction, white light is broken into its constituent wavelengths, perceived by the human eye as different colors.

Which of these is correct, at the end of a letter?

When signing a letter, the valediction begins with a word or words (for example "Sincerely" or "Kindest Regards") then a comma, then a carriage return, then the name of the sender of the letter.

Which of these is incorrect?

Just between you and me, a lot of people say "you and I" because they think it sounds clever. It does not.

Which of these says the opposite of what it is meant to mean?

"I could care less" is used to mean "I do not care". If you could care less, you must care at least a tiny amount, which is the opposite of what the saying is trying to express.

Which of these is incorrect?

"It's" is often confused with "Its". "Its" is possessive. "It's" is a contraction of "It is".

Which of these should not be capitalized?

The names of holidays are always capitalized, however, if not connected to the proper name of a holiday, the word holiday is not capitalized. To say a national holiday is coming up does not require capitalization unless the name of that holiday is "National Holiday".

What is the coefficient of restitution?

The coefficient of restitution is specifically "the ratio of the final velocity to the initial velocity between two objects after their collision." It can be determined using something called the Leeb rebound hardness test.

Which of these sentences uses "couldn't" improperly?

"Even on the weekend I couldn't bring myself to do the laundry" would be a complete sentence.

The man is fat. He played speed chess. Which of these sentences combines these into a single sentence?

"The fat man played speed chess" explains what sort of man and what sort of chess are in this narrative.

Which of these places is not a real place?

Madripoor is a fictional island from the Marvel universe.

What is the capital of China?

The capital of China is Beijing. All of the cities listed above are major Chinese cities, but only Beijing is the capital.

What is the capital of Afghanistan?

While Kabul is the capital of the legitimate government of Afghanistan, all these cities are located within Afghanistan's borders.

What is the capital of India?

New Delhi is the capital of India, however all the cities listed here are major Indian cities. New Delhi and Mumbai have both changed their names over the years, but both are ancient cities going back thousands of years.

Which of these cities has been renamed to something else?

Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, and currently exists under that name. All the other cities have changed their names.

What is a batholith?

A batholith is a kind of rocky outcropping comprised of igneous rock that extends downward to an unknown depth.

What is a contour line?

A contour line is a line on a map joining points of equal height above or below sea level. Maps that use contour lines are typically topographical maps.

What is the Prime Meridian?

The Prime Meridian marks 0° Longitude, and is determined by the location of the Greenwich Observatory in Greenwhich, Engand, established in 1851.

How many degrees is the tilt of the Earth's axis?

The Earth's axis is 23.5°. Because of this, the equator is not always the bit of the Earth that faces the Sun. To mark out these hotter areas, the tropics were established, their positions a reflection of the 23.5° axis.

What is the Equator?

The Equator is 0° Latitude, determined by the axis of the spin of the Earth. The tropics are at 23.5°N Latitude and 23.5°S Latitude, reflecting their relation to the tilt of the axis.

Which word should always be capitalized?

Holidays are always capitalized. These other nouns should not.

What is the difference between the North Pole and the Magnetic North Pole?

The Magnetic North Pole is located at 86.5°N 172.6°W. North Pole, Alaska, is a town located at 64.7511°N, 147.3494°W. The North Pole is at 90°N, where Longitude makes no difference.

Who came up with the theory of gravitation?

Sir Isaac Newton came up with the theory of gravitation. While further work has been done to understand the source of gravity, his genius still stands.

What is the long side of a right angle triangle called?

The hypotenuse is calculated through the Pythagorean theorem: A squared + B squared = C squared, in which C is the hypotenuse.

Which of these is not a kind of triangle?

A parallelogram is a kind of quadrilateral, not a triangle; it has four sides.

Which of the following is not a quadrilateral?

Kreis is the German word for circle. Rhombuses, trapeziums and parallelograms are all quadrilaterals, meaning shapes with four sides.

Which of the following paint is not water soluble?

Oil paint is not water soluble, requiring mineral spirits to thin out or remove. Acrylic paints were invented as a water-soluble replacement for oils in the 1970s. Thin-film waterborne intumescent paint is a water-soluble paint formulated to expand when exposed to heat.

Which times table is this progression from? 16, 24, 32

The 8 times table begins thus: 8, 16, 24, 32, 40

What number is the square root of 144?

12 x 12 = 144, making 12 the square root of 144.

What kind of numbers cannot have a square root?

Any positive number has a square root, even if that number isn't a round number. Negative numbers cannot have a square root because a negative multiplied by a negative is always a positive.

What is the correct term for your grandmother's second cousin?

"Removed" refers to generation, and then a degree of cousin is closeness of relation within a generation.

What do you call four children born as part of a multiple pregnancy?

Quadruplets are four children born from one pregnancy, like twins (2), triplets (3), sextuplets (6), etc.

What is the name for a shape with twelve sides?

Dodecagon is a shortening of "duo-decagon". A dodecagon is a twelve-sided shape, and can be represented by the Schläfli symbol {12}.

What is the name for a pyramid with only four sides?

A regular pyramid has five sides: the four triangular sides, and one square side.

Who wrote The Wind In The Willows?

Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) published children's classic The Wind In The WIllows in 1908.

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