School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Sample Assessments: Each sample assessment item gives an idea of how an assessment item on the MSA might be presented. The items appropriately measure the content of the State Curriculum and may be formatted similarly to those appearing on the MSA; however, these are sample items only and have not appeared on any MSA form.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 7. Analyze and evaluate the author's purposeful use of language

Objective a. Analyze and evaluate how specific language choices contribute to meaning

Brief Constructed Response (BCR) Item

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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Selected Response Item

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

Correct Answer:
B

Selected Response Item

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

Correct Answer:
C

Selected Response Item

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

Correct Answer:
A

Assessment limit:
Significant words (e.g., idioms, colloquialisms, etc.) with a specific effect on meaning

Selected Response Item

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

Correct Answer:
A

Selected Response Item

Read this passage titled 'Deliverance' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.

Read this sentence from paragraph 3.

The problem-interest of it absorbed me at first, but I began to notice that the solutions were getting harder and harder: the cliff was starting to shudder in my face and against my chest.

The hyphenated word "problem-interest" most likely means that the situation is—

  1. oddly memorable
  2. unusually strange
  3. difficult but curious
  4. troubling and impossible
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_090.xml

Correct Answer:
C

Assessment limit:
Significant words (e.g., idioms, colloquialisms, etc.) with a specific effect on meaning

Selected Response Item

Read this passage titled 'Deliverance' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.

Read this sentence from paragraph 6.

It was about this time that I thought of going back down, working along the bank and looking for an easier way up, and I let one foot down behind me into the void.

Details in paragraph 6 indicate that void means—

  1. crevice
  2. emptiness
  3. moonlight
  4. river
/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_8_092.xml

Correct Answer:
B

Assessment limit:
Significant words (e.g., idioms, colloquialisms, etc.) with a specific effect on meaning

Resources for Objective 3.A.7.a:
Lesson Seeds | SAMPLE ASSESSMENTS | Public Release Items |