School Improvement in Maryland
What do the assessments test? English

Reading, Reviewing & Responding to Texts | Composing in a Variety of Modes | Controlling Language | Evaluating Content, Organization, & Language Use of Texts |

The High School Assessments student's knowledge of Core Learning Goals at the indicator level. Some indicators have assessment limits which indicate more specifically what will be assessed. Assessment items and other instructional resources at the indicator level can be viewed in the CLG Toolkit.

Goal 3 Controlling Language

The student will demonstrate the ability to control language by applying the conventions of Standard English in writing and speaking.


3.1 The student will demonstrate understanding of the nature and structure of language, including grammar concepts and skills, to strengthen control of oral and written language.


3.1.1 The student will demonstrate the advantages and limitations of speech and writing when communicating in various situations for specific audiences and purposes.

3.1.2 The student will describe how intonation, pitch, volume, pause, and rate all influence meaning.

3.1.3 The student will determine grammatical classification of words by using meaning, position, form, and function.

Assessment limits:
  • Using the position and form to determine the function or classification of words and phrases
    • subjects and objects: noun, pronoun, gerund, infinitive, appositive, simple, compound
    • predicates: verb, verb phrase, simple, compound
    • modifiers: adjective (including pronouns used as adjectives), adverb, prepositional phrase, participle, infinitive, article
    • conjunctions: coordinating, subordinating, correlative, and conjunctive adverbs

3.1.4 The student will differentiate grammatically complete sentences from non-sentences.

Assessment limits:
  • Identifying sentence fragments
  • Identifying run-on sentences, including fused sentences and comma splices
  • Completing inappropriate sentence fragments

3.1.5 The student will incorporate subjects, predicates, and modifiers when composing original sentences.

3.1.6 The student will compound various sentence elements—subjects, predicates, modifiers, phrases, and clauses—to link or contrast related ideas.

Assessment limits:
  • Combining sentences through the use of
    • logical coordination
    • logical and effective subordination
    • logical sequencing of ideas

3.1.7 The student will vary sentence types—simple, compound, complex, and compound/complex—to sustain reader or listener interest.

3.1.8 The student will expand sentences by positioning phrases and clauses to accomplish a purpose.

Assessment limits:
  • Expanding sentences by using correctly placed modifiers, including appositives, verbals, dependent clauses, and restrictive or nonrestrictive clauses

3.1.9 The student will recognize, combine, and transform basic sentence patterns to vary sentence structure, to emphasize selected ideas, and to achieve syntactic maturity.


3.2 The student will identify how language choices in writing and speaking affect thoughts and feelings.


3.2.1 The student will choose a level of language, formal to informal, appropriate for a specific audience, situation, or purpose.

3.2.2 The student will differentiate connotative from denotative meanings of words.

Assessment limits:
  • Determining implied meaning(s) or image(s) associated with a particular word or phrase
    • Will not focus on the meaning of above-grade-level words

3.2.3 The student will describe how readers or listeners might respond differently to the same words.

3.2.4 The student will describe regional and social language differences.

3.2.5 The student will describe the impact of regional and social variations of language on listener or reader response.


3.3 The student will use capitalization, punctuation, and correct spelling appropriately.


3.3.1 The student will edit texts for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Assessment limits:
  • Using internalized knowledge to identify and correct errors
    • spelling of commonly confused words
    • end punctuation
    • commas: in a series, after introductory elements, setting off appositives and parenthetical statements, in dates and places, before coordinating conjunctions in compound sentences
    • semicolons between closely-related main clauses
    • semicolon and comma in compound sentence with a conjunctive adverb
    • apostrophes
    • capitalization: proper nouns, proper adjectives, geographic places, businesses, organizations and institutions

3.3.2 The student will use available resources to correct or confirm revisions and/or editorial choices.

Assessment limits:
  • Using a resource for all punctuation or capitalization skills not internalized or for rules that may be in flux
  • Using a resource for standard English usage
    • agreement of subject and verb
    • agreement of pronoun and antecedent
    • clear pronoun reference
    • appropriate case of nouns and pronouns
    • appropriate and consistent verb tenses
  • Using a resource to apply other common rules of language usage that are grade appropriate
  • Using a resource for standard English in place of nonstandard English and slang
Date: 8/2004