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Each student booklet contains a pre-test to help teachers gauge current skill levels of their students and a post-test to provide more advanced practice for the national assessment. Each practice test includes eight excerpts from various genres—fiction, drama, non-fiction, and poetry— with accompanying multiple choice questions and short answer questions. Each question targets one or more of the ten reading standards established by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Whenever appropriate, questions ask students to provide specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
The excerpts we have chosen are either directly listed as text exemplars in Appendix B of the Common Core State Standards, or they have been chosen because their Lexile© measure designates them as being in the appropriate text complexity band for that particular age group. Each practice test also comes with an answer key that breaks down the questions by standard so that it is easy for teachers to know exactly which standards need to be emphasized. This will enable teachers to spend more time on teaching standards that the majority of their students are struggling with and also target specific students for small group or one-on-one remediation when necessary to address learning gaps.
The booklets are intended to be utilized as a pre-test sometime in the first few weeks of school and as a post-test a month or two before the national assessment. However, teachers can use the workbooks at any time during the year as practice for the end-of-the-year assessment if that is more helpful to them.
Selection of Excerpts:
1. Excerpts have been selected from the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s Appendix B,
which lists text exemplars for all grades, and other recommendations by partners of CCSSI.
2. Some high-interest excerpts have been chosen from Harold Bloom’s anthology, “Stories and
Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages.”
3. All excerpts have been cross-referenced with Lexile® to ensure that they are in the appropriate
Lexile© measures band for the designated grade.
4. All excerpts are from complex, authentic texts from a variety of genres – fiction, drama, poetry,
nonfiction, memoir, biography, autobiography, historical fiction, science fiction and political
speech are all represented in our selections.
5. Excerpts deepen students’ knowledge of America’s rich literary heritage and increase students’
exposure to historically relevant texts.
Reading Comprehension Questions:
1. Questions integrate a variety of standards from the Reading Standards for Fiction and
Informational Texts. Most questions are designed to address three of the ten standards.
2. Many questions require students to give text-based evidence to support their answer.
3. Questions are designed to promote close reading and a foster a deep understanding of the text.
4. Open-response questions are designed to encourage higher-order thinking and the integration
of knowledge from multiple sources.
1. There are enough questions for each standard to constitute a reliable portrait of students’
current levels of mastery of the Common Core State Standards.
2. We provide a comprehensive scoring system that easily calculates students’ rate of
improvement from the pre-test to the post-test.
3. Student mastery levels and progress are able to be tracked throughout the year and reports are easily generated to provide detailed descriptions for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
4. Our assessment provides prompt feedback to teachers so that they can make instructional choices and alterations to accommodate for students’ areas of weakness.
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