School Improvement in Maryland

Sample Items: Reading Grade 5

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.

 (1) Selected Response Sample
Read the story ''A Candlelit Holiday'' and answer the following question.


Paragraph 2 of this selection is mainly about _____.

  1. how this holiday might have begun
  2. what the floats are made of
  3. when the holiday takes place
  4. what people eat during the holiday

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_008.xml

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 (2) Selected Response Sample
Read the story ''A Candlelit Holiday'' and answer the following question.


Floats were originally made from _____.

  1. Flowers
  2. Plastic
  3. Banana leaves
  4. Lighted candles

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_009.xml

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 (3) Selected Response Sample
Read the story ''A Candlelit Holiday'' and answer the following question.


Which question does the article answer?

  1. What materials are used to build the floats?
  2. How many people attend Floating Leaf Cup Day?
  3. Why do the floats continue to hold a lighted candle?
  4. What is the most popular food sold at the celebration?

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_010.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.


After lunch the class was drowsy and had trouble paying attention to the movie. Drowsy means _____.

  1. full
  2. late
  3. patient
  4. sleepy

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_012.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.


There is a bowl of pretzels on the table.

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

  1. Be careful or you’ll bowl your grandmother over.
  2. Let’s watch one of the bowl games on TV.
  3. We bowl on Friday night.
  4. The bowl broke when I dropped it.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_013.xml

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 (6) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Read these lines from paragraph 15.

"Stepbrother, Kate corrected silently, reaching for the plate."

The italicized word mostly shows Kate's

  1. desire to be in charge of the boat
  2. refusal to accept new family members
  3. concern that Seth shares family information
  4. anger that Seth receives more attention than she does

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_022.xml

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 (7) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Mr. and Mrs. O'Brians's words and actions show that they are mostly

  1. kind and helpful
  2. wise and friendly
  3. skilled and agreeable
  4. serious and concerned

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_023.xml

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 (8) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Read paragraph 25.

"The job's getting done, isn't it? As long as Zeke's along, you and I don't have to do the dirty work. And don't look so shocked, Kate. We both know who cleans The Mary Ann and mucks out the stable."

Which word best describes the tone of Seth's words in these sentences.

  1. accusing
  2. frightened
  3. questioning
  4. surprised

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_024.xml

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 (9) Selected Response
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


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

  1. Where is Seth's father?
  2. How does Seth rescue Kate?
  3. Who is the new captain of The Mary Ann?
  4. What is Zeke's job on board The Mary Ann?

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_025.xml

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 (10) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Ice Skates'. Then answer the following.


This poem is mainly about a child

  1. writing on shiny paper
  2. completing a skating lesson
  3. doodling in a notebook
  4. making different designs in the ice

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_052.xml

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 (11) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Winter Blades'. Then answer the following.


Read lines 1 and 2 of the poem.

No more summer blades of grass.
Now on blades of steel we pass.

An important idea in these lines is that

  1. the seasons have changed
  2. the speaker has a favorite season
  3. blades can be made of steel of grass
  4. steel blades are faster than grass blades

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_053.xml

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 (12) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Winter Blades'. Then answer the following.


Read line 3 of the poem.

Blades to g l i d e with greatest ease

The appearance of the word g l i d e suggests a movements that

  1. requires blades
  2. is quick to learn
  3. is long and smooth
  4. takes a lot of time to complete

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_054.xml

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 (13) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Winter Blades'. Then answer the following.


Read line 8 of the poem.

To spin until our senses reel.

The speaker of this poem is probably turning quickly in circles until

  1. he does not want to stop
  2. he is not aware of his surroundings
  3. he is dizzy and faints
  4. he is rolling around on the ground

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_055.xml

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 (14) Selected Response Sample
Read the poem 'Ice Skates' and 'Winter Blades'. Then answer the following.


The speaker in “Winter Blades” and the speaker in “Ice Skates” both
  1. enjoy being outdoors
  2. like art projects
  3. play on sports teams
  4. dance very well

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_056.xml

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 (15) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Which of these sentences from this article most clearly identifies the article as nonfiction?

  1. High above the airfield, a pilot had just finished carving a crisp figure eight in the air.
  2. Everyone cheered for Bessie Coleman, the first licensed black pilot in the world.
  3. Each year Bessie’s school closed for months at a time.
  4. She read everything she could about airplanes and flying.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_057.xml

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 (16) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


The headings in this article are organized to show

  1. a sequence of life events
  2. the steps in a learning process
  3. a description of activities
  4. the main ideas of an argument

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_058.xml

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 (17) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Read this sentence from paragraph 1 of the article.

High above the airfield, a pilot had just finished carving a crisp figure eight in the air.

Which of these statements is the best paraphrase of this sentence?

  1. The pilot completed forming a clear figure eight in the sky.
  2. Over the airfield, a pilot put the last touch on a figure eight.
  3. Tall in the sky, a pilot was done with the figure eight shape.
  4. The pilot recently drew a sharp figure eight at a great height.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_059.xml

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 (18) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Read this sentence from paragraph 6 of this article.

In desperation, Coleman asked Robert Abbott for help.

Which of these phrases could replace desperation and not change the meaning of the sentence?

  1. deep pain
  2. unseen danger
  3. extreme anxiety
  4. damaging fear

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_060.xml

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 (19) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Read this sentence from paragraph 10 of the article.

She wrote to her sister, “I am right on the threshold of opening a school.”

In this sentence, the words on the threshold mean—

  1. at the line
  2. at the start
  3. for the idea
  4. for the experience

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_061.xml

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 (20) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Paragraph 11 is mostly organized by

  1. problem and solution
  2. description
  3. main idea and supporting details
  4. cause and effect

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_062.xml

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 (21) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


Which of these statements would the author of this article most likely agree is true?

  1. Reading about flying is a necessary step in learning how to fly.
  2. Traveling air shows were poorly attended by people.
  3. Bessie Coleman believed in making life better for others.
  4. Bessie Coleman preferred French flying schools to American flying schools.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_063.xml

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 (22) Selected Response Sample
After reading the article, Fly High, Bessie Coleman, answer the following question.


After reading the section titled “Learning to Fly,” a reader can conclude that—

  1. flying requires a steady stomach
  2. learning another language is a lengthy process
  3. soldiers who fought in World War I were glad to be home
  4. the French were open minded about differences among people

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_064.xml

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 (23) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these sentences from this article most clearly shows that "A Brick to Cuddle Up To" is nonfiction?

  1. The pan held hot embers from the fireplace.
  2. On winter rides, colonial travelers covered themselves with animal skins and warm blankets.
  3. Hot smoke puffed from small holes in the stove's lid, soothing freezing feet and legs.
  4. Reading or needlework was done by candlelight, or by the light of the fire.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_065.xml

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 (24) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


What would be a good heading for paragraphs 7 through 9?

  1. Early Cooking Methods
  2. Staying Entertained
  3. Basic Activities
  4. Sources of Light

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_066.xml

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 (25) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these sentences from this article is an opinion?

  1. When the colonists went to Sunday services, their foot stoves, furs and blankets went with them.
  2. During the winter, animal skins sealed the draft windows of some cabins and blocked out the daylight.
  3. Early Americans did not bathe as often as we do.
  4. An early riser might get dressed under the covers, then hurry to the hearth to warm up.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_067.xml

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 (26) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read this sentence from paragraph 8 of the article.

They partially filled a tub with cold water, then warmed it up with water heated in the fireplace.

In this sentence, partially means—

  1. only
  2. finally
  3. at the same time
  4. to a certain level

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_068.xml

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 (27) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


What is an important purpose of this article?

  1. to explain how early colonists had harsher weather than the present
  2. to describe the hygiene problems of early Americans
  3. to share information about the challenges of living in early America
  4. to compare the differences between colonial and modern families

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_069.xml

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 (28) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Information in this article would be most helpful to a student who is—

  1. researching popular colonial dishes
  2. reading diaries about colonial times
  3. studying types of houses in early America
  4. writing a report about life in early America

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_070.xml

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 (29) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these text features would most help a reader better understand the information in this article?

  1. a map of a colonial town
  2. a drawing of a colonial fireplace
  3. a timeline of a typical colonist's day
  4. a set of instructions for using a foot stove

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_071.xml

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 (30) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


After reading this article, a reader can conclude that

  1. entire colonial families helped with cooking meals
  2. warming bed linen in a colonial house was a dangerous task
  3. colonial meeting houses were located far from family homes
  4. the construction of colonial houses made them difficult to heat

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_072.xml

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 (31) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


After reading this article, a reader might still want to know—

  1. the way food was prepared in a colonial home
  2. the number of rooms in a typical colonial house
  3. how nighttime was made comfortable for colonists
  4. how bricks used as colonial bed warmers were heated

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_073.xml

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 (32) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read this sentence from paragraph 8 of the article.

A blanket draped from chairs for privacy also let the fire's warmth surround the bather.

Which of these is the best paraphrase of this sentence?

  1. A blanket over the chairs kept the bather warm and unseen.
  2. Folding a blanket over the chairs held in the warmth and kept people out.
  3. Placing a blanket over the chairs made warmth and comfort more important.
  4. A folded blanket was like a curtain that made the room warm and comfortable.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_074.xml

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 (33) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read this sentence from paragraph 2.

Kate dropped the board and ran to the edge of the boat just as Seth clawed his way to the surface of the water, gasping for breath.

The word "clawed" suggests that Seth

  1. makes little progress
  2. controls his arms poorly
  3. has his hands outstretched
  4. has a difficult time swimming

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_076.xml

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 (34) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


In paragraph 13, when Mr. O'Brian raises his eyebrows, that most likely reveals his—

  1. disbelief at the situation
  2. surprise at meeting Seth
  3. reaction to new information
  4. memories of The Mary Ann

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_077.xml

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 (35) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these best describes the mood of the second section, which begins at paragraph 16 and ends at paragraph 32?

  1. bold
  2. excited
  3. gloomy
  4. tense

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_078.xml

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 (36) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


In paragraph 33 Kate states that Seth would regret his behavior. This statement most likely reveals that she is considering—

  1. a delay in cleaning
  2. a plan for punishment
  3. leaving the city quickly
  4. assigning him another duty

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_079.xml

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 (37) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


In this passage, Kate's biggest conflict is—

  1. keeping the boat clean
  2. taking care of her mother
  3. settling her differences with Seth
  4. getting Zeke to do his job properly

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_080.xml

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 (38) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


After reading this passage, a reader might think mostly about—

  1. supporting family
  2. admitting to faults
  3. making new friends
  4. taking responsibility

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_081.xml

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 (39) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


An important idea in this passage is about—

  1. getting along with other people
  2. accepting help from friends
  3. accomplishing a task
  4. being in charge

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_082.xml

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 (40) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Captain Kate' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


After reading this passage, a reader might still want to know—

  1. the time of year
  2. what happened to Kate's father
  3. the place the cargo was delivered
  4. what cargo was on The Mary Ann

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_083.xml

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 (41) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'Fly High, Bessie Coleman' and answer the following question.


Explain what the information in the article shows about the job of performing in air shows. In your response, use information from the article to support your explanation.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_014.xml

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 (42) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'A Brick to Cuddle Up To' and answer the following question.


Read this sentence from paragraph 2.

Winters were hard in this New World, and the colonists had to think of clever ways to fight the cold.

Explain whether the word clever is a good word to describe the ways colonists fought the cold. In your response, use information from the passage that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_015.xml

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 (43) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'Strongest of All'. Then answer the following.


Explain whether the title "Strongest of All" supports an important idea in the story. In your response, use details and examples from the story that support your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_016.xml

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 (44) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'Strongest of All'. Then answer the following.


Read this sentence from paragraph 3.

"We are the greatest."

Is the word "greatest" a good way for Whale to describe herself and Elephant? In your response, use details and examples from the story that support your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_017.xml

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 (45) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these 'articles' about writing for yourself. Then answer the following.


What text feature could have been added to help a reader better understand the information in the passage from "How to Write Poetry?" In your response, use information from the article that supports your answer.

Write your explanation on the lines in your Answer Book.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_018.xml

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 (46) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these 'articles' about writing for yourself. Then answer the following.


After reading the passage from "Keeping a Journal," what question might a reader still have about journals? In your response, use information from the article that explains why a reader might still have that question.

Write your explanation on the lines in your Answer Book.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_019.xml

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 (47) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read these 'articles' about writing for yourself. Then answer the following.


Does the passage from "Keeping a Journal" or the passage from "How to Write Poetry" better use words and phrases to persuade a person about the value or journals? In your response, use information from the article that supports your answer.

Write your explanation on the lines in your Answer Book.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_020.xml

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 (48) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the poems 'Ice Skates' and 'Winter Blades'. Then answer the following.


Explain whether the speakers in "Ice Skates" and "Winter Blades" feel the same way about ice skating. In your response, use details and examples from both poems to support your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_021.xml

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 (49) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Explain how the author makes Kate and Seth seem like real people. In your response, use details from the passage that show how Kate and Seth seem like real people. Write your response on the lines below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_026.xml

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 (50) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Write a summary of the first section from Captain Kate. In your response, make sure that you record events from the beginning, middle, and end of the passage. Write your response on the lines below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_027.xml

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 (51) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage from 'Captain Kate', a novel that takes place during the Civil War. Kate and Seth must take the family canal boat to Washington City to sell a load of coal. Then answer the following.


Explain why the setting is important to the events of these passages. In your response, use details from the passages that show why the setting is important to the events. Write your response on the lines below.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_5_028.xml

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