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ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book provides excellent preparation for the New York State (NYS) Testing Program Grade 8 English Language Arts (ELA) test. Inside you will find lessons, drills, strategies, and test practice-all of it with a single-minded focus: success on the ELA test.
We have also made every effort to make the book easy to read and navigate.
This book is divided into several parts. The first section is a PRETEST, which is half the length of an actual NYS Grade 8 ELA test and introduces students to some of the sections on the actual test, including:
o an informational passage o a poem o a Web page for an Internet site about a student organization o two informational articles, which will be read to practice for the listening portion of the test o a writing prompt instructing students to write an original essay
Following the pretest is a lesson section, which teaches students about the different types of test questions, step by step. A full-length POSTTEST, which matches the content and structure of the NYS Grade 8 ELA test, appears at the end of the book. An answer key with detailed explanations of each answer is provided.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
FOR STUDENTS: To make getting through the book as easy as possible, weve included icons shown on the next page that highlight sections like lessons, questions, and answers. Youll find that our practice tests are very much like the actual ELA youll encounter on test day. The best way to prepare for a test is to practice, so weve included drills with answers throughout the book, and our two practice tests include detailed answers.
FOR PARENTS: New York State has created grade-appropriate Learning Standards that are listed in the table in this introduction. Students need to meet these standards as measured by the ELA. Our book will help your child review for the test and prepare for the exams. It includes review sections, drills, and two practice tests complete with explanations to help your child focus on the areas he/she needs to work on to help master the test.
FOR TEACHERS: No doubt, you are already familiar with the ELA and its format. Begin by assigning students the pretest. An answer key and detailed explanations follow the pretest. Then work through each of the lessons in succession. When students have completed the subject review, they should move on to the posttest. Answers and answer explanations follow the posttest.
WHY STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE ELA
In 1996 the New York State Regents approved 28 Learning Standards in seven content areas that define New Yorks expectations for student learning. To determine how well a student is advancing and whether the student is on course to perform well in high school, eighth grade students are required to take the ELA.
It is one of the key tools used to identify students who need additional instruction to master the knowledge and skills detailed in the Learning Standards, which guide education in New York State.
WHAT'S ON THE ELA
The NYS Grade 8 ELA test is given in two sessions on two days. The format and time restrictions are as follows:
Session 1: Part 1
Reading selections and 25 multiple-choice questions
45 minutes, plus an additional 5 minutes of prep time
Session 1: Part 2
Listening selection and short-response and extended-response questions
45 minutes, plus an additional 5-10 minutes of prep time
Reading selections and short-response and extended-response questions
Independent writing prompt
90 minutes, plus an additional 5 minutes of prep time
Multiple-choice questions on this test contain four response options, one of which is correct. The short-response and extended-response questions require students to write (rather than select) an appropriate response. Students will be asked to demonstrate their understanding of a listening selection and some reading selections by providing written text-based answers. The independent writing prompt is an open-ended question that requires students to demonstrate their writing proficiency.
Questions on the test are based on the following New York State Learning Standards:
Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
oUse text to understand vocabulary oUnderstand stated information oCompare and contrast information oCategorize information oDraw conclusions and make inferences
Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
oIdentify main idea or theme oIdentify authors point of view/purpose oRecognize how authors language use creates feelings oIdentify cultural values oIdentify genre oInterpret theme oInterpret characters oInterpret plot oDetermine use of literary device
Standard 3: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.
oRecognize point of view oUse critical analysis to evaluate information oUse critical analysis to evaluate ideas oUse critical analysis to recognize point of view oDistinguish between fact and opinion
Standard 4: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
Succeeding on the NY Grade 8 English Language Arts Test
About this Book
How to Use this Book
Why Students are Required to Take the ELA
What’s on the ELA
Tips for the Student
Tips for Parents
Lesson 1: Vocabulary
Passage 1: The Birth of Golf
Passage 2: My November Guest
Passage 3: Amazing Morocco
Passage 4: The Common Cold: Unbeatable Bug?
Lesson 2: Main Idea
Passage 1: The Trail of Tears
Passage 2: Because I Could Not Stop for Death
Passage 3: Mosquitoes: Annoying but Amazing
Passage 4: The Emerald Isle
Lesson 3: Comparison and Contrast
Passage 1: Clueless
Passage 2: Say Goodbye to the Cleavers
Passage 3: Arachnid Addresses
Passage 4: Wilson Bentley
Passage 5: The Art of a Snowflake
Lesson 4: Author’s Purpose
Passage 1: How to Set up an Aquarium
Passage 2: Healthy Earth Hotels
Passage 3: Iroquois Dreams
Passage 4: Beating Writer’s Block
Lesson 5: Literature
Passage 1: Excerpt from Bleak House
Passage 2: Up-Hill
Passage 3: Excerpt from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Passage 4: Mr. Salazar
Lesson 6: Conclusions and Inferences
Passage 1: The Truth about Organ Donation
Passage 2: Excerpt from Hard Times
Passage 3: Space Colonization: Too Big a Risk
Passage 4: Excerpt from The Secret Garden
Lesson 7: Critical Analysis and Fact and Opinion
Passage 1: Cutting Class Size
Passage 2: The Dead Sea Scrolls
Passage 3: The “Reality” of Reality Television
Passage 4: The Loose Law of the Library
Lesson 8: Writing