Study Guide

Field 201: Middle Grades (5–8) Language Arts
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices. Read each question and its answer choices carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

During the test you should try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for choosing an incorrect response.

Objective 0001
Apply knowledge of foundations of research-based language and literacy instruction and assessment.

1. According to convergent research, which of the following components should be included in a literacy program for adolescents?

  1. explicit instruction in reading strategies that support text comprehension
  2. focused reading instruction designed to reinforce phonics and word recognition skills
  3. reading fluency instruction intended mainly for improving silent reading rate
  4. systematic instruction focused primarily on analyzing and responding to literary texts
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
By the time students reach the middle grades, they typically have acquired the skills necessary to accurately decode and fluently read most grade-level texts. At this point, the teacher should provide instruction on strategies that will aid in the comprehension of increasingly more complex texts that the students will encounter in all content areas in the middle grades and in subsequent grades. These strategies include, but are not limited to, note-taking, visualizing, monitoring, questioning, and summarizing.

Objective 0002
Apply knowledge of foundations of decoding, spelling, and fluency development in the middle grades.

2. A sixth-grade developing-level English language learner is in the within word pattern stage of spelling development and is making spelling generalization errors (e.g., rist for wrist, cach for catch, fone for phone). Which of the following strategies for improving the student's spelling would be most appropriate for the teacher to use first?

  1. ensuring that the student has a grasp of the meaning of the misspelled words
  2. systematically introducing the student to onset and rime segmenting and blending
  3. explicitly teaching less common English letter combinations to the student
  4. instructing the student in letter to sound correspondences in the English language
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The student is making generalized mistakes by using English letter-sound correspondences he or she has learned without realizing that the English language has multiple letter combinations that make the same sounds. The student's needs would best be met by the teacher providing instruction in English letter combinations that make similar sounds to letters the student has learned previously.

Objective 0002
Apply knowledge of foundations of decoding, spelling, and fluency development in the middle grades.

3. On a benchmark fluency assessment administered during the fall, a fifth-grade student reads 90 words correct per minute (wcpm). This is significantly below the grade-level mark of 110 wcpm on the assessment's reading fluency scale. Which of the following steps should the teacher take first when planning support for this student?

  1. administering an oral reading test that evaluates the student's reading prosody
  2. determining the score of the on-level expectation for spring and establishing intermediate goals
  3. setting up a plan of instruction involving repeated oral readings and student self-monitoring
  4. using diagnostic tests to determine if the student has difficulty in a specific area (e.g., decoding skills)
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
A fluency assessment that measures words correct per minute does not necessarily reveal why a student is not reading with on-level fluency. Inaccurate word reading may be caused by insufficient phonics or other decoding skills; slow reading may be caused by lack of automatic word recognition or background knowledge. It is therefore necessary to determine the underlying cause for lack of fluency before setting up an instructional plan and schedule.

Objective 0003
Apply knowledge of foundations of academic-language and vocabulary development in the middle grades.

4. A sixth-grade student reads the following sentence from a science textbook.

Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist born in 1564, is widely known for the important scientific discoveries he made with the use of his telescope.

After reading the sentence, the student asks the teacher what a telescope is. Which of the following word-learning strategies should the teacher have the student apply to figure out the meaning of the word telescope and develop an understanding of this sentence?

  1. word consciousness
  2. structural analysis
  3. dictionary word study
  4. contextual evidence
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
In order to understand content area concepts, it is necessary for students to be able to understand the meaning of academic vocabulary they will encounter in their reading. Without strategies to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words, students will have difficulty comprehending their content texts. Structural analysis refers to breaking apart a word into its meaningful parts (prefixes, roots, and suffixes), figuring out each part's meaning, and reassembling the parts into a meaningful word. Students should be taught that many academic and content area words are derived from the Greek and Latin languages, so that it is important to learn the meaning of these word parts in order to be able to figure out the meaning of many words found within their texts. For example, if students are taught that tele is a Greek root word meaning "distant" or "faraway" and that scope is another Greek root meaning "to view" or "look at," they can use a structural analysis strategy to determine the meaning of the word telescope.

Objective 0003
Apply knowledge of foundations of academic-language and vocabulary development in the middle grades.

5. Some students become long-term English language learners because, while they have developed social everyday English, they have not acquired the academic vocabulary necessary to comprehend and respond to academic texts. Which of the following strategies would be most appropriate for developing the academic language of English language learners whose primary language is derived from Latin (e.g., Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian) who are at the emerging-level or beyond?

  1. partnering English language learners with native English speakers during pair and group discussions
  2. teaching and providing English language learners with practice in five to ten common discipline-specific terms at a time
  3. utilizing cognates and identifying common roots and affixes that transfer from the students' primary language to English
  4. pairing English language learners with other students who speak the same home language during class activities
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
Cognates are words in two different languages that share origins and similarities in spelling. Many academic terms have Greek and Latin roots. A romance language (e.g., Spanish, French) shares many cognates with English that have these roots (e.g., transmit, transmitir). Pointing out and discussing cognates within a text helps students learn academic vocabulary as they apply their background knowledge to the reading.

Objective 0004
Apply knowledge of foundations of reading comprehension development in the middle grades.

6. Students in an eighth-grade class read the passage below in their social science text.

The Founding Fathers of the United States wrote two very important documents. The first was the Declaration of Independence. Written in 1776, it declared the thirteen colonies free from British rule and established a new country, the United States of America. The Declaration is essentially a list of principles that Americans believe in as well as a list of complaints against the British king. On the other hand, the second important document, the Constitution, was ratified in 1790 and laid the groundwork for the government of the new country. It is a blueprint for the three branches of government, and it also includes a list of the rights of Americans, called the Bill of Rights. While both documents were needed, each served a different purpose in establishing the country.

The teacher would most appropriately use this passage to reinforce instruction on which of the following types of text structure?

  1. cause/effect
  2. comparison/contrast
  3. problem/solution
  4. chronological
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Providing instruction on recognizing common text structures used in informational text will help students comprehend a text more easily and connect the ideas within it. This passage compares and contrasts the purposes and content of two documents in U.S. history. Comparison/contrast clue words and phrases such as on the other hand, while, and different signal the students as to what type of text structure they are reading.

Objective 0004
Apply knowledge of foundations of reading comprehension development in the middle grades.

7. Which of the following approaches to assessment would be most appropriate for a teacher to take when determining a student's comprehension processes and ability to use comprehension strategies effectively?

  1. listening to the student do a think-aloud during the reading of a passage
  2. giving the student multiple choice questions to answer about a passage
  3. asking the student to retell what he or she remembers about a passage
  4. having the student respond to an open-ended question about a passage
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
In a student think-aloud, the student relates his or her thoughts during the reading of a text. The teacher may also prompt the student with specific questions. In this way, the teacher may assess the strategies the student is applying during reading and how well the strategies are applied.

Objective 0005
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for developing comprehension and analysis of literary texts.

8. Read the excerpt below from the first chapter of O Pioneers!, a novel by Willa Cather; then answer the question that follows.

One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away. A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain. None of them had any appearance of permanence, and the howling wind blew under them as well as over them. The main street was a deeply rutted road, now frozen hard, which ran from the squat red railway station and the grain "elevator" at the north end of the town to the lumber yard and the horse pond at the south end. On either side of this road straggled two uneven rows of wooden buildings; the general merchandise stores, the two banks, the drug store, the feed store, the saloon, the post-office. The board sidewalks were gray with trampled snow, but at two o'clock in the afternoon the shopkeepers, having come back from dinner, were keeping well behind their frosty windows. The children were all in school, and there was nobody abroad in the streets but a few rough-looking countrymen in coarse overcoats, with their long caps pulled down to their noses. Some of them had brought their wives to town, and now and then a red or a plaid shawl flashed out of one store into the shelter of another. At the hitch-bars along the street a few heavy work-horses, harnessed to farm wagons, shivered under their blankets. About the station everything was quiet, for there would not be another train in until night.

In the excerpt, the author uses an omniscient point of view and descriptive details primarily to:

  1. establish a sentimental tone.
  2. create a mood of foreboding.
  3. illustrate an external conflict.
  4. develop an unreliable narrator.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
In the excerpt, the author uses an omniscient point of view and descriptive details primarily to establish the conflict between the town of Hanover and its natural environment. The haphazardly situated houses built on "tough prairie sod" are in danger of being unmoored by "the howling wind [that] blew under them as well as over them." Descriptions of the town's frozen road, the shops' frosty windows, and townspeople bundled against the cold further illustrate the harsh weather's effects. Yet the town appears to be holding its own. The train station and grain elevator indicate that farmers are selling their crops, and the presence of two banks on the main road suggests that farming is a profitable business. However, the town's conflict with nature leaves the town's continued survival perpetually in doubt.

Objective 0005
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for developing comprehension and analysis of literary texts.

9. An eighth-grade teacher wants to assess students' ability to analyze character development in a novel that they have read in class. Which of the following student activities would be most appropriate for this purpose?

  1. dramatizing several scenes between key characters using dialogue from the novel
  2. drawing a portrait of a character based on descriptive passages in the novel
  3. writing an alternative ending to the novel that resolves conflict between characters
  4. creating a timeline that traces a character's relationship to key events in the novel
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
By creating a timeline that traces key events in the novel as they relate to a specific character, students will be better able to analyze how the character contributed to and/or was affected by those events. Students will be better able to see how the novel's plot is propelled by the character's actions.

Objective 0006
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for developing comprehension and analysis of informational texts.

10. A sixth-grade teacher is implementing a series of lessons designed to enhance students' ability to construct high-level, text-dependent questions. First, students read a text and develop questions that promote their general understanding of the text's main idea. After a second reading of the text, students develop questions to foster their understanding of key vocabulary and the author's purpose. When students read the text a third time, the teacher guides them in developing questions that promote deeper thinking about the text. At this stage in the lesson series, which of the following types of questions would be most effective for students to develop?

  1. recall
  2. closed
  3. inference
  4. rhetorical
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
By sequencing the lessons from literal understanding to analytical thinking, the teacher enables students to delve systematically into a text and extract information for specific purposes. The final stage of the lesson series should engage students in developing text-dependent questions that explore evaluative thinking skills, such as responding to textual inferences, forming opinions, and/or inviting argument.

Objective 0006
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for developing comprehension and analysis of informational texts.

11. A seventh-grade science teacher wants to use a technology tool to support a collaborative assignment in which students compare and contrast a scholarly article and raw scientific data. Which of the following instructional strategies would best support the lesson objective?

  1. posting the article and the data on a school-approved social media site
  2. having students use text messaging to exchange ideas
  3. using interactive white boards during class discussions about the data
  4. creating a shared electronic document for students' use
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Sharing an electronic document will allow students to collaborate in real-time inside and outside the classroom. Multiple students will be able to comment on and revise the document at the same time, even if they are working from separate locations outside the classroom.

Objective 0007
Apply knowledge of literature and literary nonfiction.

12. Read the excerpt below from "Lucy Gray Or, Solitude," a poem by William Wordsworth; then answer the question that follows.

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide moor,
—The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the fawn at play,
The hare upon the green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.

"To-night will be a stormy night—
You to the town must go;
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your mother through the snow."

"That, Father! will I gladly do:
'Tis scarcely afternoon—
The minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the moon!"

The overall structure and content of the excerpt are most characteristic of which of the following forms of poetry?

  1. ballad
  2. epic
  3. sonnet
  4. ode
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
A ballad is a form of poetry that tells a story in short stanzas. In the first three stanzas of the excerpt, the speaker introduces the character of Lucy Gray, a "solitary child." In the next two stanzas, as part of what the reader can assume is a flashback, Lucy's father and Lucy speak directly to the reader, who can assume that the flashback will explain why Lucy Gray "[w]ill never more be seen."

Objective 0007
Apply knowledge of literature and literary nonfiction.

13. Read the excerpt below from Wuthering Heights, a novel by Emily Brontë; then answer the question that follows.

I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's Heaven; and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

"Mr. Heathcliff!" I said.

A nod was the answer.

"Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts—"

"Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir," he interrupted wincing. "I should not allow anyone to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it—walk in!"

The "walk in" was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, "Go to the deuce": even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathising movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself.

In the excerpt, the phrases "A perfect misanthropist's Heaven," and "exaggeratedly reserved" help the reader understand how Lockwood perceives himself. Which of the following details from the excerpt characterize Lockwood differently from his self-perception?

  1. his choice to live in a remote, isolated area
  2. his curiosity about his landlord
  3. his appreciation of the countryside's beauty
  4. his politeness toward his landlord
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
In the excerpt, Lockwood visits his new landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, "as soon as possible after [his] arrival," thereby revealing an eagerness to seek human contact that suggests that he prefers the "stir of society" to isolation. Lockwood is a keen observer of Heathcliff's facial expressions and physical actions, noting what they reveal about the true meaning behind his words. Even though Lockwood understands that Heathcliff's invitation to "walk in" is the opposite of hospitable, Lockwood accepts out of curiosity. Indeed, Lockwood's actions suggest that rather than being an "exaggeratedly reserved" misanthropist, he is keenly interested in other people.

Objective 0008
Apply knowledge of writing development and the writing process.

14. Use the statements below to answer the question that follows.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote the novel The Innocents Abroad.

The Innocents Abroad was published in 1869.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens used the pen name Mark Twain.

Which of the following sentences clearly and accurately combines the three statements by embedding one as a participial phrase?

  1. The novel The Innocents Abroad was written by Samuel Langhorne Clemens and, using the pen name Mark Twain, was published in 1869.
  2. The novel The Innocents Abroad, being written by Samuel Langhorne Clemens under the pen name Mark Twain, was published in 1869.
  3. Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote, using the pen name Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, the novel published in 1869.
  4. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, using the pen name Mark Twain, wrote the novel The Innocents Abroad, which was published in 1869.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
A participial phrase is an adjective phrase that begins with a present or past participle. In the correct response, the participial phrase "using the pen name Mark Twain" modifies the proper noun "Samuel Langhorne Clemens."

Objective 0008
Apply knowledge of writing development and the writing process.

15. Read the excerpt below from a response to literature written by a fifth-grade student; then answer the question that follows.

I read the book, Sounder, by William H. Armstrong. This is how Sounder got his name. When Sounder spotted his quarry he howled. William H. Armstrong said that the sound "came out of the great chest cavity and broad jaws as though it had bounced off the walls of a cave." Armstrong also said Sounder's voice "mellowed into half-echo before it touched the air" and his bark "bounced from slope to slope in the foothills like a rubber ball." If a stranger heard Sounder bark at a treed raccoon, he "might have thought there were six dogs at the foot of one tree."

Given the evidence presented in the excerpt, the student should receive instructional support in which of the following skills during the revision stage of writing?

  1. quoting
  2. summarizing
  3. sequencing
  4. paraphrasing
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
In the excerpt, the student's liberal use of direct quotations does not demonstrate the student's understanding or interpretation of the text's descriptive language. Instruction in methods for synthesizing and paraphrasing the original text would help the student express textual content in his or her own words and thus better demonstrate the student's comprehension.

Objective 0009
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for instruction in writing in multiple forms and genres.

16. Sixth-grade students plan to write a letter to their school principal in which they will argue in favor of changing school policy to allow students to eat snacks in class, provided the snacks are nutritious. The students want to use credible evidence to support their position. Which of the following sources would provide the most credible evidence to cite in the students' letter to the principal?

  1. a newspaper editorial in favor of replacing school vending machine food items with fruit grown by area farmers and yogurt produced by a local dairy
  2. a nonprofit health agency's summary of the results of recent research studies on the effects that consuming nutritious snacks has on student achievement
  3. a blog post written by a school nurse at a school that successfully implemented a nutritious snack policy similar to the one proposed by the students
  4. an article about the beneficial effects of nutritious snacks on adolescent development that was published on the Web site of a manufacturer of all-natural foods
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
A nonprofit health agency's summary of the results of recent research studies would provide the most credible evidence to support the students' argument. While local farmers, a school nurse, and a manufacturer of all-natural foods would most likely be influenced by self-interest, a nonprofit agency would not benefit from promoting students' consumption of current vending machine fare or nutritious snacks. For this reason, the students could safely assume that its research summary would be accurate and objective.

Objective 0009
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for instruction in writing in multiple forms and genres.

17. Read the paragraph below from an informative essay; then answer the question that follows.

Some people might think alligators and crocodiles are basically the same. After all, they are both reptiles, and they look quite similar. ________, the two animals are different in a number of ways. ________, alligators have shorter, wider U-shaped heads. ________, crocodiles' heads are longer and more V-shaped.

Which of the following words and phrases, if inserted in order in the blanks, would create cohesion and show how ideas in the paragraph are related?

  1. Of course; Therefore; Yet
  2. Regardless; Granted; After all
  3. However; First; In contrast
  4. For example; Besides; Furthermore
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The paragraph is cohesive and the relationship between ideas is clear when words and phrases are inserted in the blanks as follows: "Some people might think alligators and crocodiles are basically the same. After all, they are both reptiles, and they look quite similar. However, the two animals are different in a number of ways. First, alligators have shorter, wider U-shaped heads. In contrast, crocodiles' heads are longer and more V-shaped." The word however indicates that in spite of what some people think about alligators and crocodiles being similar, they are "different in a number of ways." The word first indicates that specific examples of these differences will follow. The transitional phrase in contrast emphasizes the differences in size and shape between the heads of alligators and crocodiles.

Objective 0010
Apply knowledge of principles, skills, and approaches for instruction in conducting research.

18. During research for a report on Chicago skyscrapers, a student creates the note cards shown below.

Source 2

"The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is 108 stories tall with a height of 1,450 feet, not including its antennae structures."

page 9

 

Source 5

"Stretching 110 stories into the sky, the Willis Tower structure is 1,454 feet tall."

page 11

While drafting the report, the student realizes that the note cards contain conflicting facts. Which of the following actions should the student take?

  1. omitting references to the building's exact height in the report
  2. finding at least one additional source to verify the building's height
  3. using the information from the most recently published source
  4. inserting a direct quotation from one source in the research paper
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
When faced with conflicting information in multiple sources, the best action for a student to take is to find one or more additional sources to verify the correct information. For example, the student might turn to the Willis Tower's official Web site, which states that the building is 1,450 feet high (443 meters). The Encyclopędia Britannica Web site's entry on the Willis Tower also gives the building's height as 1,450 feet. Given this information from two reliable sources, the student would be able to include accurate information about the building's height in the report.

Objective 0011
Apply knowledge of principles and approaches for developing speaking skills and presentation skills.

19. Use the presentation rubric below to answer the question that follows.

CriteriaCommentsPoints PossiblePoints Earned
Organization: clear introduction, content, and conclusion15
Expertise: demonstrated understanding of the topic10
Articulation: ideas clearly expressed in sentences; conformed to grammar and spelling conventions10

A teacher plans to use the rubric to assess individual student performance during oral presentations. After the presentations conclude, the teacher will hold conferences with students to discuss the assessment results. Which of the following actions by the teacher before the conferences would best promote students' meaningful participation in the conferences?

  1. having students apply the assessment criteria to their own performance
  2. encouraging students to compare their assessment results with their classmates'
  3. asking students to list assessment criteria for future presentation rubrics
  4. reminding students that assessment results comprise a portion of their final grade
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
Self-assessment encourages students to take responsibility for learning by critically reflecting on their own learning process and performance. By applying to their performance the same criteria used by the teacher, students can engage purposefully and meaningfully in a discussion about their progress.

Objective 0012
Apply knowledge of principles and approaches for developing listening and viewing skills.

20. A teacher plans to use the questions below to guide students in analyzing a photograph of a political candidate.

  1. What is the candidate doing in the photograph?
  2. What can you infer about the candidate by looking at facial expressions and posture?
  3. Do you think the photographer is expressing an opinion through the photograph?
  4. ____________________________________________

Which of the following questions, if added as question #4, would best support students' ability to use critical thinking skills when conducting their analysis?

  1. What caption would be appropriate to use with the photograph?
  2. How does the camera angle affect your perception of the candidate?
  3. What element of the photograph do you find most interesting?
  4. Could the photograph convince viewers to vote for the candidate?
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Visual literacy, an important component of twenty-first century skills, requires learners to interpret information presented visually (e.g., charts, graphs, photographs, videos, maps) by using critical thinking. One way students could use critical thinking when viewing the photograph would be to examine how the camera angle affects their perception of the candidate. For example, a low camera angle could be used to create the impression that the viewer is looking up at the candidate, who might appear heroic or intimidating, depending on other elements of the photograph, such as lighting and perspective.

Acknowledgment

Question #15:
Sounder by William H. Armstrong. TEXT COPYRIGHT © 1989 BY WILLIAM H. ARMSTRONG. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.