School Improvement in Maryland

Sample Items: Reading Grade 8

 (1) Selected Response Sample
Read the story 'School Photographer' and answer the following question.


Why does the speaker feel hidden?

  1. No one can see her.
  2. She is looking through the camera.
  3. There is no one around.
  4. Other people are standing in front of her.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_009.xml

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 (2) Selected Response Sample
Read the story 'School Photographer' and answer the following question.


In line 6, when the speaker says, "I see things others don't," she most likely means _____.

  1. people often overlook what's around them
  2. people don't pay attention when their picture is taken
  3. cameras are the most accurate form of record keeping
  4. the camera lens is like a microscope

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_010.xml

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 (3) Selected Response Sample
Read the story 'School Photographer' and answer the following question.


In the first four lines, the speaker likes being a photographer because she _____.

  1. likes to take pictures of her friends
  2. gets to make other people do things
  3. enjoys the feel of the camera in her hands
  4. wants to become a better school photographer

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_011.xml

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 (4) Selected Response Sample
Choose the word or group of words that means the same, or about the same, as the underlined word. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


Mr. Martínez told Dave to enunciate the word carefully, so everyone in the audience would hear it clearly. Enunciate means _____.

  1. examine
  2. write
  3. pronounce
  4. describe

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_013.xml

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 (5) Selected Response Sample
Choose the word or group of words that means the same, or about the same, as the underlined word. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


School was closed due to the adverse weather conditions. Adverse means _____.

  1. windy
  2. difficult
  3. slippery
  4. snowy

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_014.xml

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 (6) Selected Response Sample
Choose the word or group of words that means the same, or about the same, as the underlined word. Then mark the space for the answer you have chosen.


These directions will tell you how to operate the toy.

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

  1. Carol knows how to operate that computer.
  2. The doctor will operate on my grandfather tomorrow.
  3. It’s sometimes hard to operate a business.
  4. This engine doesn’t operate well at all.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_015.xml

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 (7) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


Amelia's letter can best be described as

  1. a personal reaction to events
  2. a narrative of an unusual situation
  3. an exploration of a plan for the future
  4. an explanation of a particular time period

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_027.xml

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 (8) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


Which of these questions is NOT answered by the details and events in this passage?

  1. What happened to Amelia's mother?
  2. What is Amelia's attitude toward Sacagawea?
  3. How concerned is Amelia with current events?
  4. Why is Amelia interested in the purchase of Pvt. Cruzatte's rifle?

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_028.xml

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 (9) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


Read this sentence from paragraph 2 of the letter.

Yet, if they do come to Pittsburgh, we shall not fail to celebrate these titans of exploration.

The word in paragraph 2 that most helps a reader understand the meaning of titans is

  1. entourage
  2. progress
  3. heroes
  4. banquets

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_029.xml

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 (10) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


Read this sentence from paragraph 4 of the letter.

But it has been suggested to me that a person of my education and attainments might do well as a teacher for young ladies; and as this suits my temper very well, I think I may try it when I am of suitable years.

In this sentence, the word suitable suggests

  1. advanced
  2. appropriate
  3. matching
  4. noticeable

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_030.xml

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 (11) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Which sentence from the text most clearly identifies this article as nonfiction?

  1. As food became scarce, people grew weaker.
  2. Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning "the ancient one."
  3. They lived by hunting and by growing corn and squash.
  4. Mesa Verde, the beautiful green table, was no longer a good place to live.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_033.xml

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 (12) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


What is the purpose of paragraph 1 of this article?

  1. to describe the Mesa Verde
  2. to tell how the Anasazi lived
  3. to outline an historical mystery
  4. to explain an historical problem

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_034.xml

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 (13) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


The organizational pattern of the article changes from chronological order to main idea and supporting details between paragraphs

  1. 2 and 3
  2. 5 and 6
  3. 7 and 8
  4. 10 and 11

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_035.xml

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 (14) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Based on information in this article, a reader can best conclude that

  1. the Anasazi were a talented but unlucky people
  2. the Anasazi were good farmers but careless with land
  3. the Mesa Verde's animals made it a dangerous place to live
  4. the Mesa Verde's lack of trees caused bad growing seasons

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_036.xml

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 (15) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Information in this article would be most helpful to an individual who is studying the connection between

  1. people's health and their environment
  2. housing styles and their physical setting
  3. types of trees and their growing conditions
  4. native crafts and available, natural material

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_037.xml

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 (16) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Which strategy would most help a reader check the accuracy of the information in this article?

  1. reviewing a history of Colorado
  2. finding the Mesa Verde on a map
  3. locating a photograph of the Anasazi cliffhouses
  4. reading about the Native Americans of the Southwest

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_038.xml

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 (17) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Read lines 3–5 of the poem

From her gentle manners
lessons were learned
not easily forgotten

The meaning of these lines is that Grandmother

  1. was well educated
  2. taught by example
  3. had a good memory
  4. knew how to behave

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_067.xml

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 (18) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Grandmother’s actions show that she is mostly a

  1. good storyteller
  2. strict grandparent
  3. sorrowful individual
  4. hard working woman

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_068.xml

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 (19) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Which sentence best states an important theme in this poem?

  1. Intelligence is a gift.
  2. Respect for nature is necessary.
  3. Caring for a family is admirable.
  4. Living for a long time is difficult.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_069.xml

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 (20) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


The tone of this poem is best described as

  1. appreciative
  2. courteous
  3. dramatic
  4. solemn

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_070.xml

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 (21) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Read lines 18 and 19 of the poem

Her strong brown hands, once smooth,
carried many generations,

The words “once smooth” are mostly a reference to Grandmother’s

  1. age
  2. appearance
  3. behavior
  4. personality

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_072.xml

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 (22) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Read lines 3-5 of the poem

From her gentle manners
lessons were learned
not easily forgotten

The meaning of these lines is that Grandmother

  1. was well educated
  2. taught by example
  3. had a good memory
  4. knew how to behave

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_073.xml

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 (23) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Grandmother's actions show that she is mostly a

  1. good storyteller
  2. strict grandparent
  3. sorrowful individual
  4. hard working woman

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_074.xml

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 (24) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Which sentence best states an important theme in this poem?

  1. Intelligence is a gift.
  2. Respect for nature is necessary.
  3. Caring for a family is admirable.
  4. Living for a long time is difficult.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_075.xml

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 (25) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


The tone of this poem is best described as

  1. appreciative
  2. courteous
  3. dramatic
  4. solemn

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_076.xml

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 (26) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Grandmother'. Then answer the following.


Read lines 18 and 19 of the poem

Her strong brown hands, once smooth,
carried many generations,

The words "once smooth" are mostly a reference to Grandmother's

  1. age
  2. appearance
  3. behavior
  4. personality

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_078.xml

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 (27) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'Adventure's Call' and answer the following question.


Explain how Jack London's experiences contributed to his career. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_016.xml

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 (28) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the story 'Deliverance' and answer the following question.


Explain the mood the author creates in paragraph 7. In your response, use words and details from the paragraph that show how the author creates this mood. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_017.xml

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 (29) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the story 'Deliverance' and answer the following question.


Describe the relationship between the narrator and the rock wall. In your response, use details and examples from the story that support your description.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_018.xml

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 (30) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'The Sharebots' and answer the following question.


Explain whether the author's choice of words and phrases effectively describes the robots and their behaviors. In your response, use words and phrases from the passage that support your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_019.xml

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 (31) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


Explain whether knowing that the passage from "The Navajo" is non-fiction makes the article easier to understand. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_020.xml

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 (32) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


Explain which article more effectively uses words and phrases to persuade a reader about the value of the contributions of Native Americans during World War II. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_021.xml

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 (33) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


Explain what information could have been added to the passage from Codetalking to help a reader better understand an important idea in the article. In your response use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_022.xml

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 (34) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


Which article more effectively expresses the author's attitude toward the Code Talkers? In your response use information from the article that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_023.xml

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 (35) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


Explain how a reader could determine the reliability of the information in the passage from The Navajo? In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_024.xml

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 (36) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these articles about a secret language, 'Codetalking' and 'The Navajo'. Then answer the following.


What text feature could have been added to "Codetalking" so that a reader could better understand information about Native American languages? In your response use information from the article that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_025.xml

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 (37) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Explain how the speaker in "Grandmother" feels about Grandmother Asdzan Alts' iisi. In your response, use details and examples from the poem to support your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.


/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_026.xml

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 (38) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


What do the events and details in the letter suggest about the society in which Amelia Hornsby lives? In your response, use details and events from the letter that support your explanation. Write your response on the lines below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_031.xml

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 (39) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Dear Mr. President Thomas Jefferson Letters from a Philadelphia Bookworm', a novel that takes place when President Jefferson was in office. Amelia Hornsby has grown up in Philadelphia but has recently followed her father, a doctor, to Pittsburgh. Then answer the following.


Explain why the introduction was included in this passage. In your response, use details from the passage that explain why the introduction was included in this passage. Write your response on the lines below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_032.xml

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 (40) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Write a summary of paragraphs 6 through 11 of "The Lost People of the Mesa Verde." In your response, include the important ideas from paragraphs 6 through 11.

Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_043.xml

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 (41) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the passage 'The Lost People of Mesa Verde.' Then answer the following.


Explain the importance of the word "Lost" in the title of this article. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation.

Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_044.xml

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