English-Language Arts Released Test Questions



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California High School California High School

Exit Examination Exit Examination

English-Language Arts

Released Test Questions

California Department of Education

October 2006

Selected Pre- and Post-Essay Questions (Exposition and Persuasion)
Adapted for the

Reading Institutes for Academic Preparation

© California Department of Education (CDE)

Permission is granted in advance for reproduction of these resources for educational purposes. The content must remain unchanged and in its entirety as published by the California Department of Education. To obtain permission to reproduce the information (text or graphics) contained in this document or any other CDE materials for any commercial purpose, submit the specifics of your request in writing to the

Copyright Program Office, California Department of Education, CDE Press, 1430 N Street, Suite 3207, Sacramento, CA 95814. Fax: (916) 324-9787.

Please note that any privately copyrighted reading passages contained in any CDE materials or on CDE’s Web site may not be put into publications for sale or otherwise. To obtain permission and terms of use for privately copyrighted material, contact the copyright holder.
This printing (2006) of the English-Language Arts Released Test Questions contains the following privately copyrighted passages:
A Day Away (Random House)
Dances With Dolphins (National Geographic Society)
White Fang (Troll Communications)
Acting Up [The ALAN Review 24(3): 42-46]
The Courage That My Mother Had (© 1954, 1982, by Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Barnett, Literary Executor.)
A Brain Divided (© 1984 by Harcourt, Inc.)
Housepainting (Reprinted by permission of Lan Samantha Chang.)
Early Spring (From Navajo Voices and Visions Across the Mesa by Shonto Begay. Copyright © 1995 by Shonto Begay. Used by permission of Scholastic Inc.)

English-Language Arts Released Test Questions

PACKET CONTENTS
Background Information 4
Pre-Test Standards 4
Post-Test Standards 5
Pre-Test (Expository) Essay Choice #1 Prompt 6
Student Samples and Commentary 7
Pre-Test (Expository) Essay Choice #2 Prompt 10
Student Samples and Commentary 11
Post-Test (Persuasive) Essay Choice #1 Prompt 16
Student Samples and Commentary .17
Post-Test (Persuasive) Essay Choice #2 Prompt 21
Student Samples and Commentary 22
Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide 28
English-Language Arts Released Test Questions

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
WRITING

The Writing portion of the CAHSEE has three strands: Writing Strategies, Writing Conventions, and Writing Applications. The Reading Institutes for Academic Preparation has chosen to use sample essay prompts (expository and persuasive) from the Writing Applications Strand for pre-and post test writing samples for 9th and 10th graders involved in the College Access Study.



he Reading Arts Released Test Questions

The Writing Applications Strand

The following expository and persuasive California English-language arts academic content standards are assessed on the CAHSEE by one writing task.


WRITING (GRADES NINE AND TEN)
Standard Set 2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics):
PRE-TEST STANDARDS
10WA2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research

reports.
a. Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including

information on all relevant perspectives.
b. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources

accurately and coherently.


c. Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas.
d. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.*
e. Anticipate and address readers’ potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations.
f. Use technical terms and notations accurately.

English-Language Arts Released Test Questions

* The crossed-out portion of this standard is not assessed on the CAHSEE, but is still included in

grade-level standards.

POST-TEST STANDARDS
10WA2.4 Write persuasive compositions.
a. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion.
b. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).
c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning.
d. Address readers’ concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.
To demonstrate achievement in this CAHSEE strand, students must successfully respond to one on-demand writing task. The writing task either will be a response to a reading passage, or a response to a writing prompt. With a response to literature, students are asked to analyze the passage and write a text-based response. With a response to a writing prompt, students are asked to write a response based on their own knowledge and viewpoints about a given topic. The CAHSEE 4-point Response to Literary/

Expository Text Scoring Guide and Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide, which are based on the Writing Applications content standards, are used to score the writing task. These scoring guides are reprinted in the CAHSEE Teacher Guide for English-language arts.


All student essays written for the CAHSEE are scored by two trained scorers who use the scoring guide to assign a score of 1, 2, 3, or 4. If the two scorers give different but adjacent scores (e.g., a 3 and a 4), the student’s final score is an average of the two scores. If the two scorers give different and nonadjacent scores (e.g., a 2 and a 4), a scoring leader reads the essay and assigns the score. Papers receive no score if they are blank, off-topic, illegible, unintelligible, or written in a language other than English.

Writing




REMINDER


  • Write your response to the writing task below.

  • You may give your writing a title if you would like, but it is not necessary.

  • You may NOT use a dictionary. If you do not know how to spell a word, sound the word out and do the best you can.

  • You may either print or write in cursive.

  • Write clearly! Any erasures or strike-throughs should be as clean as possible.


Writing Task:

By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. Think about a moment in history you studied and consider its importance.
Write a composition in which you discuss a moment in history. Share its importance in today’s world. Be sure to support the moment with details and examples.
Checklist for Your Writing

The following checklist will help you do your best work. Make sure you do the following:


  • Read the description of the task carefully.

  • Organize your writing with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Use specific details and examples to fully support your ideas.

  • Use words that are appropriate for your audience and purpose.

  • Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read.

  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation.


NOTE: Pages 7 through 9 provide a sample student essay for this writing task at each of the four score points with commentary and rationale for the given score. The student responses have been typed with the students’ own content, grammar, capitalization, and spelling. The CAHSEE Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide for this writing task may be found on pages 29-30.
Writing

Writing

4iting



Score Point 4

Student Response

While thinking about a moment in history that has influenced our world today, many events come to mind. But an event that seems prominent is not an event at all, but rather a time period and the accomplishments that took place within it, the Industrial Revolution.

Having learned about the industrial era just recently a few aspects remain vivid in my mind, such as the many new inventions that served to make our lives easier. The steam engine was developed allowing cities to form in locations other than near water sources, as things had been previously. Once inside those cities, people all came together working in factories which was much more efficient.

Through the factory system, goods were produced at a much faster rate, requiring less work so prices were less. Different social classes could afford items causing a change in social structure. Women and children began working stirring up awareness and laws about labor. Unions were formed as a result as well as more organized forms of education. Every aspect of life changed within this time period including advances in medicine, communications, and the way we manufacture today. The moments throughout the Industrial Revolution hold so much importance, they brought us to the way our world is today.
Score Point 4

Commentary

In this response, the writer addresses all parts of the writing task, which is to discuss a moment in history and share its importance in today’s world. The writer provides a meaningful thesis that suggests that the accomplishments that took place during the Industrial Revolution have influenced our world today. This is followed with purposefully organized support to illustrate just why this period in history has been so influential.

In the second paragraph, the writer people into unions causing a “change in social

As the essay comes to a close, the writer discusses how the steam engine positively affected the growth of cities and the fact that factories helped the people in the cities.

A further discussion on the factory system is developed in the third paragraph. The writer provides thoughtful support through the use of specific details to illustrate the effects that factories had on people. More detail is included to share how the existence of factories united structure.”

As the essay comes to a close, the writer provides more detail about the Industrial

Revolution to connect its positive effect on how it “brought us to the way our world is today.”

The variety of sentence types and the use of precise, descriptive language all add to success of this essay. There are only a few errors in the conventions of the English language within this response, but they are generally first-draft in nature. Overall, this essay is a sample of a 4-point response.

3g

Score Point 3

Student Response

One of the most important days in history so far is the day that man set foot on the moon. This was not only important in U.S. history, but it was important to everywhere else in the world too. This amazing achievement showed Americans that they can do anything they want, if they try hard enough, and it showed other countries how great we really are.

The day that man set foot on the moon was a very exciting day. A lot of people didn’t believe that it really happened because it was so amazing. But when everyone realized that it had really happened, it gave them the courage to strive for their goals and achieve them.

For years before man stepped on the moon, other countries had been trying to and were unsuccessful. But, America was able to. This made the other countries have so much more respect for us.

When man set foot on the moon, it was honestly one of the most important days in history because of what took place as a result of it.
Score Point 3

Commentary

In this response to the writing prompt, the writer discusses “the day that man set foot on the moon.” The thesis expresses the idea that this event was an amazing achievement that affected both Americans and the rest of the world and that it proved that “Americans . . . can do anything they want, if they try hard enough . . .”

The thesis is supported in an organized manner with details and examples. In the second paragraph, the writer concludes that the event was responsible for giving people the “courage to strive for their goals and achieve them.” In third paragraph, the writer suggests that other the countries respect the United States for having walked on the moon.

The writer concludes with the idea that setting foot on the moon was “one of the most important days in history . . .”

The writer addresses all parts of the task through discussion on what the event was and how it affected the world today. The details and examples used to support the thesis are more general than in a 4-point response, but they do successfully support the thesis.

The use of a variety of sentences along with a general sense of audience is evident throughout the essay. There are a few errors in the conventions of the English language, but they do not interfere with the readers’ understanding of the essay. Overall, this essay is a sample of a 3-point response.

2Writing

Score Point 2

Student Response

A moment history that I had studied was when Ben Franklin discovered electricity. Electricity is important today, we use it for a lot of stuff. If he did not discover electricity, we probably wouldn’t have a lot of stuff that we have now like lights, heat, air conditioning and a lot other things. He could have gotten electracuted trying to discover it. So it is a good thing that he had find it out. Without electricity we can’’ do a lot of stuff we do now. We would have to use candles for light or just day light.
Score Point 2

Commentary

In this response to the writing prompt, the writer discusses Ben Franklin’s discovery in a very limited manner. No explanation is provided on the event itself. The writer only provides few details to support the idea that “electricity is important today . . .” Through the use of basic, predictable language, the idea that “we probably wouldn’t have a lot of stuff that we have now…” is suggested. The language used to support this idea is limited to the word “stuff” that appears three times in this very short paragraph.

There is very little variety at the sentence level and there are several errors in the conventions of the English language. The overall word choice and lack of development illustrate a very limited sense of audience. This essay exemplifies all the criteria within a 2-point response.
1riting

Score Point 1

Student Response

We studied about all kind of stuff in History. Every thing we Stuyed in History I learned Something know eveyday. History is go because you get to learn about all kinds of knew things abouat whats going on In this world.
Score Point 1

Commentary

In this response, the writer provides no thesis related to the prompt beyond the idea that “we studied about all kind of stuff in History.” No attempt is made to discuss an event in history.

The ideas presented are no more than a brief discussion on the value of learning history. They are expressed through a lack of control at both the sentence and the language level. There are errors in the conventions of written English in each of the three sentences written in this 1-point response.

Post

P




REMINDER


  • Write your response to the writing task below.

  • You may give your writing a title if you would like, but it is not necessary.

  • You may NOT use a dictionary. If you do not know how to spell a word, sound the word out and do the best you can.

  • You may either print or write in cursive.

  • Write clearly! Any erasures or strike-throughs should be as clean as possible.


Writing Task:

Television, radio, newspaper, and individual conversations are just a few sources of news available to us. While most people probably rely on combinations of these sources for their news, some people rely on a particular source almost exclusively.
Write an essay discussing the relative strengths and weaknesses of one particular source for news. Provide examples to illustrate your claims. Develop your ideas so vividly that a reader will have a clear understanding of the benefits and shortcomings of a particular source of news.
Checklist for Your Writing

The following checklist will help you do your best work. Make sure you:

  • Read the description of the task carefully.

  • Organize your writing with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Provide a thesis responsive to the task and support it fully with specific details and examples.

  • Use words that are appropriate for your audience and purpose.

  • Vary your sentences to make your writing interesting to read.

  • Check for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation.


NOTE: Pages 11 through 15 provide a sample student essay for this writing task at each of the four score points with commentary and rationale for the given score. The student responses have been typed with the students’ own content, grammar, capitalization, and spelling. The CAHSEE Response to Writing Prompt Scoring Guide for this writing task may be found on pages 28-29.

4

Score Point 4



Student Response
Knowing about current events in the outside world is important and people use different methods to find out more about the world. Some people watch television broadcasts of the news while others read a newspaper. The conventional newspaper has both benefits and faults that either help or hinder the reader.

There are many benefits that a newspaper can offer a curious reader. The news given is detailed and organized, sharing important and interesting tidbits of information. Many times, a graph or diagram is added to enhance the reader’s understanding of the story, especially if the story is about a specialized topic such as the human genome. A newspaper is written in terms that the general populace can understand it easily,

aiding people who are not as strong in English as others. Another strength most people enjoy is the myriad of subjects in a single edition of the newspaper. One can find news concerning anything from politics to a new Thanksgiving dinner recipe. Newspapers have much to offer, however, they do have their shortcomings.

Newspapers are becoming somewhat obsolete because some of their faults are not worth the trouble. The most obvious reason is that they create an immense load of paper clutter. People combat this by throwing it away instead of recycling it, thus harming the environment. In addition to the cumbersome paper load, the ink comes off readily, giving the reader black and greasy hands. Most people also find it tedious to fold the newspaper properly because it is fairly large in size. Though those reasons are annoying, the worst aspect of a newspaper is that all the headlines present in an edition of a newspaper cannot be read in one glance as they can be on the Internet. People cannot see all the stories without perusing slowly through every section of the newspaper. These shortcomings discourage many people from reading the newspaper.

There are many methods to news delivery, newspapers being one of the oldest. Like any method, there are some strengths and weaknesses in newspapers. These influence whether people choose to use a newspaper to broaden their horizons. Though some of the strengths are very helpful, people may overlook them and only see the cumbersome and inconvenient weaknesses.
Score Point 4

Commentary

This paper clearly addresses all parts of the writing task. The writer begins with a universal statement and then narrows down to a specific, meaningful thesis that clearly states an intention to defend the relative strengths and weaknesses of the “conventional newspaper.” The paragraphs that follow develop both sides of the thesis with precise and relevant evidence.

The writer argues in the first body paragraph that “There are many benefits that a newspaper can offer to a curious reader.” Specific supporting details such as “a graph or diagram,” and “human genome” support the argument. The writer elaborates by stating how newspaper visuals aid people lacking strong language skills. A good command of vocabulary is demonstrated through words such as “tidbits,” populace,” and “myriad.”

The second body paragraph focuses on the opposing argument by presenting vivid examples of why a newspaper might not be the best choice as a source for news. “The cumbersome paper load,” dirty hands, and difficulty handling a bulky newspaper are the principal examples provided. The strongest evidence, “…all the headlines present in an edition of a newspaper cannot be read in one glance . . . ,” is presented last. In addition to supporting main ideas with specific details, the writer continues to use refreshing vocabulary: “immense,” “readily,” “tedious,” and “perusing.”

Finally, the concluding paragraph restates the thesis and provides an adequate summary of the writer’s arguments.

The writer develops a focused organizational structure through the use of interesting language and a variety of sentence types. Additionally, the writer exhibits a firm command of written English conventions while maintaining a consistent tone and a clear sense of audience. Overall, this essay is an example of a 4-point response

.

3ing



Score Point 3

Student Response

In Today’s world, we have many choices when it comes to finding out what’s new and for finding information. There are televisions which deliver and dicuss news on a regular basis; there are radios in which news is talked about regularily on most stations; there are the good, old fashioned newspapers; and there are individual conversations which occur daily.

Individual conversations have fantastic advantages to them as well as having many disadvantages. Individual conversations are great because you can talk to anyone about anything whenever you want. For example, asking someone if it is raining outside is a lot easier and faster than walking to your T. V., turning it on, and then finding out if it was raining. However, information about whether it will rain in a week and what is happening in Germany is easier obtained by a television or by the internet rather than an individual person. Individual conversations allow to get ahold of a person’s inner opinions on different matters. A disadvantage of that, however, is that their opinions

are usually biased and not true. Individual conversations do not always give correct information, either.

Although individual conversations may be enlightening and fast, They may not always be the exact truths. Other means may, and usually are more exact and more true.

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