School Improvement in Maryland

Sample Items: Reading Grade 7

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
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.


The young girl wore a smart dress to the dance.

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

  1. Her test scores showed everyone how smart she was.
  2. His leg began to smart where the ball hit it.
  3. The marching band had smart new uniforms.
  4. The team moved down the field at a smart pace.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_014.xml

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 (2) 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.


The pile of wood was starting to dwindle as the winter became harsh.

Dwindle means _____.

  1. decay
  2. diminish
  3. disappear
  4. dissolve

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_015.xml

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 (3) 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.


The ingenious inventor created many unusual products.

Ingenious means _____.

  1. clever
  2. famous
  3. great
  4. humble

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_016.xml

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 (4) Selected Response Sample

Which sentence from "Bard of Avon" is least helpful in identifying this article as nonfiction?

  1. Soon other playhouses were built, first the Curtain, then the Rose, and the Swan.
  2. Plays were only done in daylight and in nice weather, as there were no lights or heat.
  3. William Shakespeare went to London just at the time when modern theater was taking shape.
  4. In 1576, when Sheakespeare was still a schoolboy, an actor named James Burbage put up a building near London designed solely for the performance of plays.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_029.xml

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 (5) Selected Response Sample

What information could have been added to help a reader better understand an important idea in Bard of Avon?

  1. a sample of a script joke
  2. a scene of a Shakespeare play
  3. a description of the Rose Theater
  4. a comparison of a modern theater and a London playhouse

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_030.xml

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 (6) Selected Response Sample
Read the passage "Bard of Avon."


Which sentence would best provide additional information to paragraph 2 and connect to paragraph 3?

  1. But the Theatre was still the favorite.
  2. It was easy to get into a playhouse for a performance.
  3. It was difficult to get workers to construct the playhouses.
  4. The playhouses were constructed of the same materials and with the same plan.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_031.xml

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 (7) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage about a family’s dinner table conversation from the novel Absolutely Normal Chaos.


In paragraphs 2 and 3 words are placed in parentheses. The most probable reason the words are in parentheses is that the author is—
  1. showing sympathy for Dad
  2. amused by the conversation
  3. showing the narrator is at the table
  4. helping the reader follow the conversation

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_032.xml

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 (8) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage about a family’s dinner table conversation from the novel Absolutely Normal Chaos.


Dad’s words and actions show that he mostly
  1. is a serious scientist
  2. is loyal to his family
  3. tries to avoid confusion
  4. tries to settle his children

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_033.xml

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 (9) Selected Response Sample
Read this passage about a family’s dinner table conversation from the novel Absolutely Normal Chaos.


The narrator is best described as someone who—
  1. has a good memory
  2. acknowledges her family’s faults
  3. insists upon good manners
  4. enjoys spending time with her family

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_034.xml

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 (10) Selected Response Sample

Read the poem 'The Traveler' and answer the following question.



In line 31 of this poem, which of these words could replace spent and not change the meaning of that line?

  1. asleep
  2. broken
  3. costly
  4. finished

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_066.xml

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 (11) Selected Response Sample

Read the poem 'The Traveler' and answer the following question.



Details in this poem mostly suggest that the speaker

  1. imagines the wind as a desperate visitor
  2. fears the effects of bad weather
  3. believes the wind wants to return home
  4. dislikes hearing loud noises

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_067.xml

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 (12) Selected Response Sample

Read the poem 'Leaving The Library' and answer the following question.



Which of these details is least helpful in understanding the setting of this poem?

  1. "water on the lake shivers"
  2. "stick my book inside my windbreaker"
  3. "and lower my head into the darkening day"
  4. "sleet pushing hard at my back"

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_068.xml

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 (13) Selected Response Sample

Read the poem 'Leaving The Library' and answer the following question.



Read these lines from the poem.

"A V of Canada geese
flies overhead
squawking like
a rusty door."

This comparison mostly suggests that the geese

  1. are a dark brown color
  2. fly over an old door
  3. make harsh, screeching sounds
  4. are upset about flying away

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_069.xml

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 (14) Selected Response Sample

Read the poems 'Leaving The Library' and 'The Traveler' and answer the following question.



What do line 19 in "Leaving the Library" and line 38 in "The Traveler" mostly suggest about the speakers in each poem?

  1. The speakers have bright memories of their homes.
  2. The speakers are cheerful in all types of weather.
  3. The speakers find comfort in their homes.
  4. The speakers require warm surroundings.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_070.xml

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 (15) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


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

  1. Tourists in a hot-air balloon were the first to notice.
  2. She watched the lion, but didn't know what was wrong.
  3. One expert was able to solve the mystery.
  4. Distemper can cause fever, shaking, and finally death.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_071.xml

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 (16) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


The purpose of this article is mostly to—

  1. show ways people can help wild animals
  2. explain the reason for wild animal parks
  3. tell how an animal medical issue was resolved
  4. give information about the dangers of distemper

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_072.xml

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 (17) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


The heading "Small but Deadly" is a good one because the information that follows is about—

  1. the characteristics of certain viruses
  2. the size and habits of hyenas
  3. the abilities of most wild animals in the park
  4. the reputation of the villages near the park

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_073.xml

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 (18) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these sentences from the article reflects a cause/effect relationship?

  1. As the tourists were flying low over the savannah, they spotted a big cat lying on the ground.
  2. The Serengeti is a large wildlife park in Tanzania where no hunting is allowed.
  3. The disease is spread like a cold from dogs to wildlife.
  4. They know lions bring tourists and tourism brings jobs.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_074.xml

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 (19) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


The author of this article would probably agree that—

  1. promoting tourism is important
  2. preserving wildlife is necessary
  3. fighting disease is a difficult task
  4. keeping villages clean is demanding

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_075.xml

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 (20) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


The person who would find the information in this article most helpful would be an individual interested in—

  1. veterinary services for wildlife
  2. donating to animal relief funds
  3. maintenance of wildlife parks
  4. travel in hot-air balloons

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_076.xml

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 (21) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


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

  1. whether the Serengeti permits hunting
  2. how distemper is passed among animals
  3. whether Project Lifelion is currently active
  4. why veterinary medicine focuses on pets and livestock

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_077.xml

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 (22) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read this sentence from paragraph 5.

"Dennis, are you aggravating the situation?"

Details from paragraphs 1 and 5 show that aggravating means—

  1. revealing
  2. strengthening
  3. understanding
  4. worsening

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_078.xml

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 (23) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read Sam's comment in paragraph 11.

"...Somehow, I don't think that any of my study of rock formations and fossils prepared me for this."

The best paraphrase of this comment is—

  1. Learning about rocks and fossils is poor training.
  2. My education is not helping me with this situation.
  3. This situation does not fit with anything I know about.
  4. I am considering that my studies were not a good choice.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_079.xml

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 (24) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read this sentence from paragraph 20.

"Sometimes he doesn't like to elaborate."

Which words could replace elaborate without changing the meaning of this sentence?

  1. give details
  2. be understood
  3. share problems
  4. be complicated

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_081.xml

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 (25) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Which of these words best describes the mood of this passage?

  1. agitated
  2. cheerful
  3. lighthearted
  4. playful

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_082.xml

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 (26) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


When telling about the circumstances of the dinner table conversation, the narrator often

  1. makes fun of her younger family members
  2. adds ideas she might share with her parents
  3. provides comments that clarify the situation
  4. talks about the kind of food the family enjoys

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_083.xml

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 (27) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


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

  1. why Tommy is throwing food on the floor
  2. how often the disruption at the dinner table occurs
  3. why Radene sent a letter rather than made a phone call
  4. how the narrator nearly missed the news at the dinner table

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_084.xml

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 (28) Selected Response Sample
Read the article titled 'Absolutely Normal Chaos' and answer the following questions. Circle the letter of the correct answer.


Read paragraph 18.

Send him here? To this house? To live with us? As I said, my mom didn't look too happy about this.

The words are written in italics mostly to suggest Sally's—

  1. distress with Carl Ray
  2. upset with her husband
  3. concern about the size of their home
  4. inability to believe the news from Radene

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_085.xml

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 (29) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the article 'A Lifeline for Lions' and answer the following question.


Explain whether the title helps a reader understand an important idea of this article. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_017.xml

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 (30) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the story 'Scrambled Eggs' and answer the following question.


Explain the tone created by the author's words and phrases in paragraphs 10-12. 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_7_018.xml

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 (31) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the story 'Scrambled Eggs' and answer the following question.


Explain what the innkeeper probably learns from his experience. In your response, use details and examples from the story that support your explanation.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_019.xml

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 (32) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read "Tackling the Trash" and answer the following question.


The houseboat headquarters for Chad's team was named The Miracle. Is The Miracle an appropriate name for the houseboat? In your response, use information from the article that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_024.xml

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 (33) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read the poems 'Leaving The Library' and 'The Traveler' and answer the following question.


Compare the moods created in "Leaving the Library" and "The Traveler." In your response, use details and examples from both poems that support your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_025.xml

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 (34) Brief Constructed Response Sample
What text feature could have been added to "Bard of Avon" to make the article easier to understand? In your response, use information from the article that supports your answer. Write your answer on your answer document.


/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_026.xml

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 (35) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Explain whether or not the use of words and phrases in "Bard of Avon" makes the theater in Shakespeare's London sound interesting. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.


/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_027.xml

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 (36) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Explain what information could have been added to "Bard of Avon" to help a reader better understand an important idea in the article. In your response, use information from the article that supports your explanation. Write your answer on your answer document.


/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_028.xml

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 (37) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage about a family’s dinner table conversation from the novel Absolutely Normal Chaos.


How does the author use the dinner table conversation to make the characters seem real? In your response, use details from their conversation that make the characters seem real.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_035.xml

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 (38) Brief Constructed Response Sample
Read this passage about a family’s dinner table conversation from the novel Absolutely Normal Chaos.


How does the author create comedy in the passage? In your response, use details from the passage that create comedy.

/toolkit/vsc/assessment_items/msa_ela_7_036.xml

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