This collection contains one quiz per chapter for each of the 14 chapters in the originally published version of Richard Wright’s Black Boy. The quizzes on Chapters 1-4 each contain 10 multiple-choice questions, but starting with the quiz on Chapter 5, each quiz contains five multiple-choice questions plus one essay question. Depending on how much time you—or your students—have, you could, of course, make the essay question optional. Or you could use it as a discussion question for small group or whole-class discussion. The multiple-choice questions are designed to check for basic comprehension, while the essay questions require critical thinking through description, explanation, analysis, and/or deduction. Along with an answer key for each quiz, I have also provided a possible answer for each short essay.
The final test contains eight questions, each designed to provide the student with an opportunity to think—and write—critically about the entire work, on a broad range of topics that cover the major themes of the book, as well as the subject of Wright’s authorial style and the relevance of the book to today’s students. As written, the test requires students to choose two of the eight options and write two essays, in class, during one class period. Of course you could adjust this format in any way that conforms best to your needs. You could, for example, have students write on three or more of the topics—or only one. You could give them the questions the day before the test and take a class period to discuss and/or pre-write answers in advance. On the day of the test, you might also—and I’ve used this option many times—allow students to have the book in front of them while writing their essays.
I spent many hours carefully composing these quizzes and essay questions. The result is a finely-tuned, highly effective tool for assessing basic comprehension—but it also goes well beyond that to offering students a vehicle for demonstrating their ability to think and write critically about this important—and classic—work of literature.
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