School Improvement in Maryland

Public Release Items: Reading Grade 8

 (1) Selected Response Public Release
Read the sentence in the box. Then choose the answer in which the underlined word is used in the same way. Mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Before you choose to do business with a bank, you should make sure it has a sound reputation.

In which sentence does the word sound mean the same as in the sentence above?

  1. Although the house is old, it has a sound foundation and an excellent roof.
  2. We should sound out our teacher before we decide on a topic for our report.
  3. I was startled out of a sound sleep by bright lightning and a crash of thunder.
  4. The emergency crews will sound the alarm if the floodwaters rise any higher.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_045.xml

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 (2) Selected Response Public Release
Read the sentence in the box. Then choose the answer in which the underlined word is used in the same way. Mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Susan lodged with her grandparents during her first year of college.

In which sentence does the word lodged mean the same as in the sentence above?

  1. A splinter lodged in Ann's foot when she stepped on an old board.
  2. Our family lodged at a fishing camp during our trip to the seacoast.
  3. Mr. Ames lodged a complaint with the city about the overgrown lot.
  4. The archer aimed carefully and lodged an arrow in the distant target.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_046.xml

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 (3) Selected Response Public Release
Read the sentence in the box. Then choose the answer in which the underlined word is used in the same way. Mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


I tried pulling up the dandelion, but its roots held it fast in the soil.

In which sentence does the word fast mean the same as in the sentence above?

  1. Terry fell fast asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
  2. The front tires of my new car were stuck fast in the mud.
  3. I arrived early for the concert because my watch was fast.
  4. The two children were neighbors and became fast friends.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_047.xml

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 (4) Selected Response Public Release
As you read each sentence, use the other words in the sentence to help you figure out what the underlined word means. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


I carefully scrutinized my report one more time before I turned it in just to make sure that it was free of any errors.

What does scrutinized mean?

  1. inspected
  2. outlined
  3. printed
  4. rewrote

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_048.xml

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 (5) Selected Response Public Release
As you read each sentence, use the other words in the sentence to help you figure out what the underlined word means. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Even though the water in the creek was cold, the children found it tolerable for swimming.

Tolerable means —

  1. bearable
  2. livable
  3. reliable
  4. valuable

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_049.xml

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 (6) Selected Response Public Release
As you read each sentence, use the other words in the sentence to help you figure out what the underlined word means. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Although it was true that my baby sister ruined my social studies project, my teacher was skeptical of my explanation until I showed her the smeared poster.

Skeptical means the teacher is —

  1. doubtful
  2. interested
  3. irritated
  4. uneasy

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_050.xml

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 (7) Selected Response Public Release
As you read each sentence, use the other words in the sentence to help you figure out what the underlined word means. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Zoe's friends climbed into the roller coaster, but she watched the ride from the ground since nothing they said could induce her to join them.

What does induce mean?

  1. appoint
  2. confront
  3. persuade
  4. remind

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_051.xml

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 (8) Selected Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


To support the accuracy of the information in this article, the author includes —

  1. a series of questions people have asked about chameleons
  2. a description of the physical appearance of chameleons
  3. a detailed list of areas where chameleons can be found
  4. a quotation from a scientist who studied chameleons

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_052.xml

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 (9) Brief Constructed Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


Explain the author's opinion of chameleons. In your response, use words and information from the article that support your explanation. Write your answer in the box below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_053.xml

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 (10) Selected Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


Which of these statements from paragraphs 1 through 3 best identifies the focus of this article?

  1. Chameleons may look grumpy and their skin may feel bumpy, but scientists can't take their eyes off them.
  2. Because chameleons are such interesting lizards.
  3. Chameleons spend a great deal of their lives sitting still.
  4. And chameleons are unusual in the way they get their food.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_054.xml

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 (11) Selected Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


Which of these details is NOT directly related to the main idea of paragraphs 10 and 11?

  1. the speed of the chameleon's tongue
  2. the stickiness of a chameleon's tongue
  3. the location of the University of Antwerp
  4. the activities of Dr. Herrel and Dr. Meyers

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_055.xml

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 (12) Brief Constructed Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


What other title would help a reader understand an important idea in this article? In your response, use information from the article that explains why this title would help a reader understand an important idea. Write your answer in the box below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_056.xml

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 (13) Selected Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


According to this article, what characteristic of the chameleon's tongue is most helpful when catching very large prey?

  1. the long length
  2. the sticky mucus
  3. the suction effect
  4. the rough surface

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_057.xml

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 (14) Brief Constructed Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


Explain what could be added to help a reader better understand the information in this article. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer in the box below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_058.xml

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 (15) Selected Response Public Release
Read this article titled "This Tongue Gets a Grip." Then answer the question below.


Which of these sentences would be most important to include in a summary of this article?

  1. A chameleon's skin feels bumpy.
  2. Many animals use jaws or claws when catching prey.
  3. Scientists watch movies in slow motion to study lizards.
  4. A chameleon's tongue has a supermuscle.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_059.xml

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 (16) Selected Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


The description of the setting in paragraph 1 creates a feeling of —

  1. anger and bitterness
  2. fear and confusion
  3. isolation and hardship
  4. danger and mystery

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_060.xml

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 (17) Selected Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Emil's main conflict is that he is —

  1. upset about his sister
  2. worried about his kitten
  3. afraid to be in town alone
  4. ashamed of his rude behavior

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_061.xml

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 (18) Selected Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Read this sentence from paragraph 3 of the passage.

His sister was a tall, strong girl, and she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next.

In this sentence, the word resolutely means —

  1. calmly
  2. firmly
  3. purposefully
  4. stubbornly

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_062.xml

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 (19) Brief Constructed Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Explain how the author's choice of words and phrases contributes to the somber mood of the passage. In your response, use words and phrases from the passage that support your explanation. Write your answer in the box below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_063.xml

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 (20) Selected Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Which of these statements best describes how Alexandra feels about Emil?

  1. She feels that he is silly.
  2. She feels responsible for him.
  3. She feels that he will never grow up.
  4. She feels ashamed of his appearance.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_064.xml

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 (21) Brief Constructed Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Explain whether "The Wild Land" is an effective title for this passage. In your response, use details from the passage that support your explanation. Write your answer in the box below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_065.xml

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 (22) Selected Response Public Release
Read this passage from O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather. Then answer the question below.


Read this sentence from paragraph 1 of the passage.

The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator" at the north end of town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end.

The word squat suggests that the railway station is —

  1. an ordinary building
  2. a useless building
  3. an old building
  4. a low building

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_066.xml

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