Grade 8 English Language Arts Practice Test 2013

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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment SystemPractice TestEnglish Language ArtsReading ComprehensionGRADE 8Student NameSchool NameDistrict Name

This is a practice test. Your responses to practice test questions must be recorded on yourPractice Test Answer Document.Mark only one answer for each multiple-choice question. If you are not sure of the answer,choose the answer you think is best.HOW TO ANSWEROPEN-RESPONSE QUESTIONS Make sure that your response is clEAR, coMplete,and AccURATE. provide enough iMportant details from theselection to completely support your response.

reading comprehensionDIRECTIONSthis practice test contains one reading selection with two multiple-choice questions and one openresponse question. Mark your answers to these questions in the spaces provided on page 5 of yourpractice test answer document.This article discusses some facts and misunderstandings about the porcupine. Read the article and answerthe questions that follow.advice for living in porcupine countryby Leigh Gillette1234The porcupine is a controversial, yetimportant, forest creature. Our more pricklyencounters with “quill pigs” may be remediedwith a little knowledge about their biology.As North America’s second-largestrodent—the beaver is largest—adultporcupines range from 2½ to 3 feet longand can weigh 35 pounds. Porcupines arenocturnal, and strictly vegetarian. Throughoutwinter, they survive on the cambium (livingtissue) layer of trees—pines, aspen andcottonwood being preferred. Occasionally aporcupine will continually feed in a singletree, partially or completely girdling its trunkand causing tree deformation or death. Fromspring through fall, porcupines supplementtheir diet with leaves, soft plants, mushrooms,vegetables and fruits.October is mating season, and a single“porcupette” is born to each mother in Mayor June. The young are born with soft quillsthat harden soon after birth. Porcupettes eatvegetation within two weeks of birth, but staywith their mothers until fall.The word porcupine stems from the Latin“porcus,” for pig, and the French “epine,”for thorn or quill, explaining the “quill pig”nickname. The porcupine’s quill count isimpressive, with roughly 30,000 quills peranimal. The quill itself is a modified hollowhair tipped with microscopic barbs.MCAS 2010 Gr8 ELA PT561Porcupines cannot shoot their quills. Athreatened porcupine tenses muscles underits skin to erect the quills, faces away fromthe attacker, and swings its quilled tail. Uponcontact, quills detach from the porcupine.Embedded in the attacker’s flesh, quillsexpand with body heat, preventing easyremoval. Muscle movements draw the quillsfurther in at the rate of an inch per day.Interestingly, porcupine quills are antiseptic,keeping the porcupine infection-free should itsuffer a self-inflicted quilling.Keeping dogs contained in porcupinecountry prevents quillings. Should your dogbe quilled, the sole solution is removing allembedded quills. To remove a quill, “deflateit” by cutting the end off, then pull it out withpliers. Clean the injured area, and allow your dogto lick its wounds. If you have any difficultyfinding or removing all quills, visit your vet.Go On

Reading Comprehension 78If a porcupine takes up residence in yourfavorite landscape tree, try harassing it intoleaving with spray from a hose (no directhits, please!). After eviction, loosely wrap thetrunk with three vertical feet of sheet metal,preventing revisitation.Trying to cure their insatiable appetitefor salt, porcupines will gnaw on your handtools, saddles, boots, etc. Protect your gearthrough careful storage. This salt cravingalso draws porcupines to the edges of saltedhighways, where vehicles often strike them.9Despite humans’ many conflicts withthem, porcupines are ecologically important.The twigs they drop while feeding are winterfood for deer, rabbits and elk. Damaged treesbecome habitat for insects, which in turn feedwoodpeckers. A girdled tree’s death frees upresources for understory plants that are habitatfor numerous animals. Porcupines even eatsome “harmful” plants, namely mistletoe, apine tree parasite.“Advice For Living in Porcupine Country” by Leigh Gillette as it appeared in The Durango Herald, March 2004. Copyright 2004 by LeighGillette. Published by The Durango Herald.ID:204366 D CommonID:204380 C Common1 2 Based on the article, why does theauthor most likely consider theporcupine a “controversial” animal?According to the article, why is itimportant to remove porcupine quillspromptly?A. because some people disagree onwhether porcupines shoot their quillsA. They are quite poisonous.B. because most people do not wantporcupines to hurt their dogsC. They can cause serious infection.B. They can be very painful.D. They move quickly into the flesh.C. because some people see porcupinesas pests while others do notD. because most people are sick ofporcupines “girdling” their treesMCAS 2010 Gr8 ELA PT2Go On

Reading Comprehension Question 3 is an open-response question. Read the question carefully. Explain your answer. Add supporting details. Double-check your work.Write your answer to question 3 in the space provided on page 5 of your Practice Test AnswerDocument.ID:204392 Common3 Suppose that a dog finds a porcupine in the woods and attacks it. Using information from thearticle, describe what will happen to the dog from the moment it goes after the porcupine untilthe quills are removed from the dog’s body. Use relevant and specific information from thearticle to support your answer.MCAS 2010 Gr8 ELA PT3STOP!

MASSACHUSETTS COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEMGrade 8 English Language ArtsPractice Test Answer DocumentMarking InstructionsSchool Name: District Name:Last Name of Student:First Name of Student:74Use a No. 2 pencil only.Do not use ink, ballpoint, or felt tip pens.Make solid marks that fill the circles completely.Erase cleanly any marks you wish to change.Make no stray marks on this form.Do not fold, tear, or mutilate this form.


reading comprehension. DIRECTIONS. this practice test contains one reading selection with two multiple-choice questions and one open-response question. Mark your answers to these questions in the spaces provided on page 5 of your practice test answer document. 1. The porcupine is a controversial, yet important, forest creature. Our more prickly encounters with “quill pigs” may be remedied .

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