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2016 TEXAS STAAR TEST – END OF COURSE – ENGLISH II

Total Possible Score: 92


Needed Correct to Pass: For 2016 - 51 For 2017 - 52
Advanced Performance: 78

Time Limit: 5 Hours

This file contains the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) administered in Spring,
2016, along with the answer key, learning objectives, and, for writing tests, the scoring guide. This
document is available to the public under Texas state law. This file was created from information released
by the Texas Education Agency, which is the state agency that develops and administers the tests. All of
this information appears on the Texas Education Agency web site, but has been compiled here into one
package for each grade and subject, rather than having to download pieces from various web pages.

The number of correct answers required to "pass" this test is shown above. Because of where the "passing"
score is set, it may be possible to pass the test without learning some important areas of study. Because of
this, I believe that making the passing grade should not be considered "good enough." A student's goal
should be to master each of the objectives covered by the test. The "Advanced Performance" score is a good
goal for mastery of all the objectives.

The test in this file may differ somewhat in appearance from the printed version, due to formatting
limitations. Since STAAR questions are changed each year, some proposed questions for future tests are
included in each year's exams in order to evaluate the questions. Questions being evaluated for future
tests do not count toward a student's score. Those questions are also not included in the version of the test
made available to the public until after they used as part of the official test.

The test materials in this file are copyright 2016, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of all or portions of this work is prohibited without express written permission from the
Texas Education Agency. Residents of the state of Texas may reproduce and use copies of the materials
and related materials for individual personal use only without obtaining written permission of the Texas
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http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Welcome_and_Overview/Site_Policies/

Questions and comments about the tests should be directed to:


Texas Education Agency
Student Assessment Division
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phone: 512-463-9536 email: Student.Assessment@tea.state.tx.us

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Provided as a public service by


Former State Representative Scott Hochberg.
No tax dollars were used for this posting.
STAAR
®

State of Texas
Assessments of
Academic Readiness

English II

Administered March 2016

RELEASED

Copyright © 2016, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction of all or portions of this work is prohibited without express
written permission from the Texas Education Agency.
WRITING

Page 3
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

Byron wrote the following paper about a significant archaeological discovery. Read
Byron’s paper and think about the revisions he should make. Then answer the
questions that follow.

Lost City Discovered


(1) There was once a grand city on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean

Sea near Egypt. (2) Known as Thonis to the Egyptians and Heracleion to the Greeks,

the metropolis was supposedly one of extraordinary wealth. (3) Some records

indicate that Helen of Troy visited the area before the Trojan War. (4) Founded

around 700 B.C., it thrived for centuries and then allegedly disappeared into the

depths of the ocean. (5) However, because no trace of Thonis-Heracleion had ever

been found, it became more of a legend than a reality.

(6) In 2000, French archaeologist Franck Goddio and a team of researchers

were meticulously surveying an area in the Mediterranean near the Egyptian shore.

(7) They hoped to find proof that the legendary city existed. (8) As divers sifted

through layers of sand and mud, they discovered some extraordinarily well-preserved

relics of an ancient city. (9) It was Thonis-Heracleion.

(10) In cooperation with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities,

Goddio’s team began to carefully survey and excavate the underwater city. (11) The

artifacts they discovered revealed a city as grand as its legend. (12) At the center of

the city stood a large temple, just as ancient historians had described. (13) A

network of canals and channels stretched out from the temple. (14) Researchers

believe that Thonis-Heracleion would have been the first stop for foreign merchants

at the Egyptian border.

(15) Investigators also discovered three enormous, 16-foot statues lying on

the seafloor. (16) One was identified as the Egyptian god Hapi. (17) The other two

were thought to be a pharaoh and a goddess. (18) Hundreds of smaller statues and

religious charms were found scattered on the seafloor. (19) Perfectly preserved and

intact slabs of stone, engraved in both Egyptian and Greek, were also excavated

from the site. (20) Writings on the stones confirmed that they had been placed at

Thonis-Heracleion. (21) “The archaeological evidence is simply overwhelming,”

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remarked Sir Barry Cunliffe, a professor at the University of Oxford. (22) Regarding

the wealth of artifacts found, Cunliffe added, “By lying untouched and protected by

sand on the seafloor for centuries, they are brilliantly preserved.”

© Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photos: Christoph Gerigk

© Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation, photos: Christoph Gerigk


(23) Scientists aren’t sure why Thonis-Heracleion disappeared into the water.

(24) There’s no certainty regarding this issue. (25) Some think that a rise in sea

level combined with unstable sediment might have been the reason. (26) Others

suggest that an earthquake was responsible. (27) Still others believe that it might

have been a combination of these factors. (28) As the study of the site continues,

researchers are learning more and more about this remarkable city and the period in

which it thrived.

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1 The meaning of sentence 4 is unclear. Byron can improve the clarity of this sentence by
changing it to —

A the famous Trojans

B the magnificent city

C the extreme wealth

D the historical record

2 Byron would like to add a sentence to the end of the first paragraph (sentences 1–5) to help
transition into the ideas in the second paragraph (sentences 6–9). Which sentence can be
added after sentence 5 to help accomplish this goal?

F It was difficult to say whether the ancient city was real or had just been a figment of
someone’s imagination.

G But one day, as so often happens, everything changed, and it changed rapidly and
excitingly and permanently.

H Because no one could definitively prove that it had ever existed, people had trouble
believing that it actually had.

J Aside from the historical references mentioned above, Thonis-Heracleion was essentially
forgotten—that is, until recently.

3 Byron has offered a weak thesis for his paper. Which of the following could replace sentence 9
and provide a more effective thesis statement for this paper?

A Before long they realized that they had found the city of Thonis-Heracleion.

B In time they realized that they had actually found what was a very ancient city.

C At first no one knew exactly what had been discovered, but there was plenty of curiosity.

D In the end it just happened to be the place and the city of Thonis-Heracleion.

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4 Which of these sentences could best follow sentence 13 and provide additional support for the
main idea of the third paragraph (sentences 10–14)?

F In his research Goddio has collaborated with archaeologists, Egyptologists, historians,


geologists, geophysicists, computer engineers, and others.

G The remains of more than 60 ships, at least 700 ancient anchors, gold coins, and bronze,
lead, and stone weights indicate that the city was a major trading port in the eastern
Mediterranean.

H The city was probably an important entry port for trade into Egypt before it sank into the
Mediterranean Sea so many centuries ago.

J Some accounts suggest that both Helen of Troy and her lover, Paris, were stranded on the
island for a period of time as they hid from her Greek husband.

5 Byron would like to close with a relevant quotation that reiterates the main idea of this paper.
Which of these could follow sentence 28 and best accomplish this goal?

A Goddio writes, “I knew that I would never be able to undertake an exploration of this
scope by myself, and so, in 1987, I founded the European Institute of Underwater
Archaeology (IEASM), an independent organization supported by private patronage.”

B According to Damian Robinson, director of the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology at
the University of Oxford, “It is a major city we are excavating.”

C “We are just at the beginning of our research,” Goddio remarked. “We will probably have
to continue working for the next 200 years for Thonis-Heracleion to be fully revealed and
understood.”

D “The statuettes allow us to examine their belief system and at the same time have wider
economic implications,” Oxford researcher Sanda Heinz commented. “These figures were
mass-produced at a scale hitherto unmatched in previous periods.”

6 There is a redundant sentence in the last paragraph (sentences 23–28). Which sentence
should be deleted from this paragraph?

F Sentence 24

G Sentence 25

H Sentence 26

J Sentence 27

Page 7
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

Joe wrote the following paper to tell about his favorite hobby. Read Joe’s paper and
look for ways he should revise it. When you have finished reading, answer the
questions that follow.

© Moreno Novello/Fotolia
Catching a Wave
(1) On beaches around the world, from early in the morning to late at night, a

familiar ritual occurs. (2) Board-toting swimmers head for the water, lie down on

their fiberglass surfboards, and paddle far out into the ocean. (3) Once there, they

wait patiently for the perfect wave. (4) As soon as it comes, they spring to their

feet, balance themselves on their boards, and ride majestically to shore. (5) Then

they repeat the trip over and over and over again. (6) Who are these wave riders?

(7) They are surfers, and they would probably tell you that the sport isn’t as easy as

it looks. (8) Surfing requires certain materials, certain waves, and certain

personality traits.

(9) Before people can begin riding the waves, they must gather the necessary

equipment. (10) A surfboard, which can be selected from a wide range of weights

and styles, is needed first. (11) Beginners usually get lighter, more buoyant boards,

while experts choose heavier, more maneuverable boards. (12) Next comes

surfboard wax, a substance that is rubbed on the board to make it easier to grip.

(13) After that, a surfer may want to purchase a surfboard leash, a strap that

connects the board to one of the surfer’s ankles. (14) That way the board won’t get

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lost when the surfer falls off. (15) It takes a lot of practice to get really good at

surfing and not fall off. (16) And finally, surfers who plan to swim in cold water will

usually want to buy or rent a wetsuit to stay warm.

© trubavink/Fotolia
(17) Once surfers have the right equipment, they need to find a good place to

surf. (18) Figuring out where the best waves are requires both knowledge and

experience. (19) That’s because wave conditions change with the tide and weather.

(20) Some places, however, are known to be prime surfing spots. (21) These are

called breaks, and when surfers find one, they paddle their surfboards out into it and

the perfect wave for which they are patiently waiting. (22) Catching that wave at the

right time is difficult. (23) If surfers try to get up on a wave too early, they’ll fall

backward. (24) If they catch the wave too late, it will knock them over. (25) But if

they catch it at just the right time, they’ll feel the wave lifting them up on top of the

water.

(26) When surfers find the right location, balance, and timing, they get to the

part of surfing that makes all the effort worthwhile: riding the wave. (27) After

much practice they’ll learn to stand up on their board, balance it expertly on the

wave, and fly gracefully toward the beach.

(28) You might think that a person has to travel to some famous beach in

Hawaii or California to enjoy the sport of surfing. (29) That’s simply not the case.

(30) With more than 500 miles of coastline, people in Texas are offered ample

opportunity to surf right here in their home state. (31) And according to Duke

Kahanamoku, the man credited for bringing the sport from Hawaii to the U.S.

mainland, “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

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7 In sentence 5, the word trip is not the appropriate word to use. Which of the following should
replace trip in this sentence?

A standard

B process

C operation

D journey

8 Joe would like to replace sentence 8 with a sentence that better articulates the thesis of his
paper. Which of the following will accomplish this goal?

F Surfing requires just the right equipment, careful observation of the waves, and the
patience to perfect a difficult skill.

G Surfing certainly requires specific materials, identified waves, and various personality
traits.

H Surfing requires people who are willing to think about the equipment, the waves, and their
own personality traits.

J Surfing requires people who care about the materials used, waves seen, and variety of
personality traits represented.

9 Joe thinks he may have included an extraneous idea in the second paragraph (sentences
9–16). Which sentence, if any, should he delete from this paragraph?

A Sentence 12

B Sentence 13

C Sentence 15

D No sentence should be deleted from this paragraph.

Page 10
10 What is the most effective way to revise sentence 21?

F These are called breaks, and when surfers find one, they paddle their surfboards out into
it and patiently wait for the perfect wave.

G These are called breaks, and when surfers find one, they paddle their surfboards out into
it because of the perfect wave they patiently wait for.

H These are called breaks, and when surfers find one, they paddle their surfboards out into
it, they patiently wait for the perfect wave.

J Sentence 21 does not need to be revised.

11 What is the most effective way to revise sentence 30?

A With more than 500 miles of coastline, people in their home state are offered ample
opportunity to surf right here in Texas.

B With more than 500 miles of coastline, Texas offers ample opportunity for people to surf
right here in their home state.

C With more than 500 miles of coastline, there is ample opportunity for people to surf right
here in their home state and in Texas.

D With more than 500 miles of coastline, ample opportunity is offered for people in Texas to
surf right here in their home state.

Page 11
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

Nicole wrote the following paper in response to a class assignment. Read Nicole’s
paper and look for any corrections she should make. Then answer the questions that
follow.

A Different Kind of Princess


(1) Like many teenage girls, I had been anticipating my first homecoming

dance since elementary school. (2) I had imagined my dress, my flowers, and, of

course, my date, dressed in formal wear and ready to carry me off for an evening of

dancing and fun. (3) The real-life experience turned out completely different from

what I had pictured, although better in a strange sort of way.

(4) As I watched friends find dates for homecoming, I was initially a little

discouraged, it looked as though my first homecoming dance would be missing a key

character. (5) It seemed that no one was inclined to ask me. (6) But I soon

discovered that I wasn’t the only kid in school without a date to homecoming. (7) I

decided that I wasn’t going to allow the situation to ruin my chance of enjoying a

traditional High School experience.

(8) So several of my dateless friends and me banded together and decided to

go as a big group. (9) My older sister, who’s a hair stylist at a local salon,

volunteered to help each girl with her hair. (10) She even rounded up a friend to do

manicures and pedicures. (11) We girls had an awesome “spa day” with lot’s of

laughs but none of the pre-date jitters. (12) Before leaving for the evening, I caught

a glimpse of myself in a mirror. (13) I noticed a sparkle in my eyes, and I felt

absolutely gorgeous.

(14) We met the male members of our group for a delicious dinner at a nice

restaurant and then arrived at the dance just after it started. (15) We were soon on

the dance floor—alone at times, in pairs at other times, and as one large group by

the end. (16) When I had imagined going to the homecoming dance as a little girl, I

had pictured a Cinderella night of dancing with Prince Charming. (17) The actual

Page 12
experience turned out to be a lot more fun than that. (18) I didn’t have to stick with

one specific person, I was free to mingle and dance with anyone I wanted to! (19) I

probably could have figured out a way to bring a date to the dance, but now I’m glad

I didn’t.

© bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com
(20) My first homecoming experience taught me an important life lesson.

(21) I don’t always have to do things in a conventional way. (22) I can find my own

way to have an unforgettably good time.

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12 What is the correct way to write sentence 4?

F As I watched friends find dates for homecoming, I was initially a little discouraged.
Because it looked as though my first homecoming dance would be missing a key
character.

G As I watched friends find dates for homecoming, I was initially a little discouraged. It
looked as though my first homecoming dance would be missing a key character.

H As I watched friends find dates for homecoming. I was initially a little discouraged because
it looked as though my first homecoming dance would be missing a key character.

J Sentence 4 is written correctly.

13 What change, if any, should be made in sentence 7?

A Change that to something

B Change situation to sitaution

C Change High School to high school

D Make no change

14 What change should be made in sentence 8?

F Change me to I

G Insert a comma after together

H Change decided to decide

J No change should be made.

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15 What change needs to be made in sentence 11?

A Change We girls to Us girls

B Change lot’s to lots

C Change but none to but without none

D No change needs to be made in this sentence.

16 What change, if any, should be made in sentence 18?

F Change one specific to no specific

G Change the comma to a semicolon

H Insert a comma after mingle

J Make no change

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Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

A teenage hero’s courage inspired Wendy to write this paper. This is Wendy’s first
draft, and she would like you to proofread it before she turns in the final copy. As
you read the paper, look for any corrections Wendy should make. Then answer the
questions that follow.

© Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Malala Yousafzai Addressing


the United Nations

Malala Speaks Out


(1) “We have too much homework! (2) Classes start too early!” (3) Have

you heard teenagers express these sentiments or uttered some of it yourself?

(4) Students often complain about the daily grind of public school. (5) They seldom

consider how fortunate they are to have free, easily accessible educational

opportunities. (6) Whenever you feel frustrated by hard classes or irritated by

homework, you should think about those who are denied the benefits of formal

schooling. (7) You should remember Malala Yousafzai, a girl who put her life on the

line for an education.

(8) Malala was born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997. (9) Raised in a family that

highly valued education, she attended a school that her father owned. (10) As

Malala was growing up, a group known as the Taliban gained political power in the

region where she lived. (11) The Taliban instituted harsh social policies often

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inforced by terrorist acts. (12) Their radical views included the belief that women

should be kept from all aspects of public life. (13) In January 2009 the Taliban

proclaimed that no girl could attend school. (14) Malala and other girls defied this

decree, continuing to go to class and study for tests. (15) The 11-year-old also

began writing a diary. (16) Which detailed what was happening in her region of

Pakistan. (17) The British Broadcasting Corporation soon learned about the diary

and helped Malala turn it into an online blog.

(18) As Malala’s campaign for girls’ education gained global recognition, some

members of the Taliban began to see the schoolgirl as a menace. (19) When her

father lobbied against the militant group despite receiving death threats, his courage

inspired Malala. (20) Although she had always wanted to become a doctor, she

decided to focus on politics instead. (21) She wanted to help right societies wrongs,

especially the denial of a woman’s right to an education. (22) By April 2012 she had

organized the Malala Education Foundation, a program aimed at sending poor

Pakistani girls to school.

(23) As Malala’s voice grew louder, the Taliban grew angrier. (24) Because

the group couldn’t silence the schoolgirl, who was now 15, its members took drastic

and horrible action. (25) On October 9, 2012, terrorists stormed the bus Malala and

her friends were riding to school. (26) “Which one of you is Malala?” they

demanded. (27) When Malala identified herself to protect the other girls on the bus,

one of the gunmen shot her. (28) Fortunately, she recovered, and during her long

hospital stay, she continued her campaign.

(29) Malala’s story made headlines, and the Taliban’s actions shocked the

world. (30) The group had hoped to silence Malala but instead amplifyed her

message and created a global hero. (31) In 2013 she became the youngest person

ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

(32) On July 12, 2013, which was declared Malala Day by the United Nations,

she appeared before the international body, calling for free education for all children.

(33) The words of the young girl, spoken on her 16th birthday, will ring loudly among

those of history’s bravest heroes. (34) “I am the same Malala,” she declared.

(35) “My ambitions are the same, my hopes are the same, and my dreams are the

same.” (36) As her fight continues, Malala Yousafzai reminds world leaders “So let

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us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism, and let us pick up

our books and pens. (37) They are our most powerful weapons.”

Page 18
17 What change should be made in sentence 3?

A Change teenagers to teenager’s

B Change sentiments to sentaments

C Change it to them

D No change should be made.

18 How should sentence 11 be changed?

F Change instituted to instituting

G Change policies to policy’s

H Change inforced to enforced

J Sentence 11 should not be changed.

19 What is the correct way to write sentences 15 and 16?

A The 11-year-old also began writing a diary it detailed what was happening in her region of
Pakistan.

B The 11-year-old also began writing a diary. With details about what was happening in her
region of Pakistan.

C The 11-year-old also began writing a diary that detailed what was happening in her region
of Pakistan.

D The sentences are written correctly in the paper.

Page 19
20 What change should be made in sentence 21?

F Change societies to society’s

G Delete the comma

H Change woman’s to womans’

J No change should be made in sentence 21.

21 What change needs to be made in sentence 30?

A Insert a comma after Malala

B Change amplifyed to amplified

C Change global hero to Global Hero

D No change needs to be made in this sentence.

22 What change should be made in sentence 36?

F Change reminds to remind’s

G Insert a comma after leaders

H Change illiteracy to ilitteracy

J Insert quotation marks at the end of the sentence

BE SURE YOU HAVE RECORDED ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS


ON THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 20
WRITTEN COMPOSITION: Persuasive

Read the following quotation.

A newspaper columnist once wrote, “Maturity


has more to do with what types of experiences
you’ve had, and what you’ve learned from
them, and less to do with how many birthdays
you’ve celebrated.”

Is it necessary to have lived a certain number of years to be considered mature? Think carefully
about this question.

Write an essay stating your opinion on whether maturity is dependent on a person’s age.

Be sure to —

• state your position clearly


• use appropriate organization
• provide specific support for your argument
• choose your words carefully
• edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling

Page 21
USE THIS PREWRITING PAGE TO
PLAN YOUR COMPOSITION.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU WRITE YOUR COMPOSITION ON


THE LINED PAGE IN THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 22
USE THIS PREWRITING PAGE TO
PLAN YOUR COMPOSITION.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU WRITE YOUR COMPOSITION ON


THE LINED PAGE IN THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 23
Page 24
READING

Page 25
Read the next two selections and answer the questions that follow.

from
A Train Trip
by Ernest Hemingway

In the short story “A Train Trip,” Jimmy and his father leave their cabin and take a
long train trip. In this excerpt, they prepare for their journey.

1 “I’m all ready.”

2 “Where are we going?”

3 “We’re going a long way.”

4 “Where to?”

5 “Canada.”

6 “We’ll go there too,” he said. We went out to the kitchen. All the shutters
were closed and there was a lamp on the table. In the middle of the room was a
suitcase, a duffel bag, and two rucksacks. “Sit down at the table,” my father
said. He brought the frying pan and the coffee pot from the stove and sat down
beside me and we ate ham and eggs and drank coffee with condensed cream in
it.

7 “Eat all you can.”

8 “I’m full.”

9 “Eat that other egg.” He lifted the egg that was left in the pan with the
pancake turner and put it on my plate. The edges were crisped from the bacon
fat. I ate it and looked around the kitchen. If I was going away I wanted to
remember it and say good-bye. In the corner the stove was rusty and half the
lid was broken off the hot water reservoir. Above the stove there was a
wooden-handled dish mop stuck in the edge of one of the rafters. My father
threw it at a bat one evening. He left it there to remind him to get a new one
and afterwards I think to remind him of the bat. I caught the bat in the landing
net and kept him in a box with a screen over it for a while. He had tiny eyes and
tiny teeth and he kept himself folded in the box. We let him loose down on the
shore of the lake in the dark and he flew out over the lake, flying very lightly
and with flutters and flew down close over the water and then high and turned
and flew over us and back into the trees in the dark. There were two kitchen
tables, one that we ate on and one we did dishes on. They were both covered
with oilcloth. There was a tin bucket for carrying lake water to fill the reservoir
and a granite bucket for well water. There was a roller towel on the pantry door
and dish towels on a rack over the stove. The broom was in the corner. The
wood box was half full and all the pans were hanging against the wall.

10 I looked all around the kitchen to remember it and I was awfully fond of it.

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11 “Well,” said my father. “Do you think you’ll remember it?”

12 “I think so.”

13 “And what will you remember?”

14 “All the fun we’ve had.”

15 “Not just filling the wood box and hauling water?”

16 “That’s not hard.”

17 “No,” he said. “That’s not hard. Aren’t you sorry to go away?”

18 “Not if we’re going to Canada.”

19 “We won’t stay there.”

20 “Won’t we stay there a while?”

21 “Not very long.”

22 “Where do we go then?”

23 “We’ll see.”

24 “I don’t care where we go,” I said.

25 “That’s good,” he said. “Now you go outdoors and climb up on the ladder
and put the bucket on the chimney and I’ll lock up.”

26 I went outside. It was still dark but along the edge of the hills it was
lightening. The ladder was leaning against the roof and I found the old berry pail
beside the woodshed and climbed the ladder. The leather soles of my shoes felt
insecure and slippery on the rungs. I put the bucket over the top of the stove
pipe to keep out the rain and to keep squirrels and chipmunks from climbing in.
From the roof I looked down through the trees to the lake. Looking down on the
other side was the woodshed roof, the fence and the hills. It was lighter than
when I started to climb the ladder and it was cold and very early in the morning.
I looked at the trees and the lake again to remember them and all around; at
the hills in back and the woods off on the other side of the house and down
again at the woodshed roof and I loved them all very much, the woodshed and
the fence and the hills and the woods and I wished we were just going on a
fishing trip and not going away. I heard the door shut and my father put all the
bags out on the ground. Then he locked the door. I started down the ladder.

27 “Jimmy,” my father said.

28 “Yes.”

29 “How is it up there on the roof?”

30 “I’m coming down.”

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31 “Go on up. I’m coming up a minute,” he said and climbed up very slowly
and carefully. He looked all around the way I had done. “I don’t want to go
either,” he said.

32 “Why do we have to go?”

33 “I don’t know,” he said. “But we do.”

Reprinted with the permission of Scribner Publishing Group from THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF ERNEST
HEMINGWAY by Ernest Hemingway. Copyright © 1987 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Page 28
from
Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

1 I am technically fifteen days older than the Pacific Crest Trail. I was born in
1968, on September 17, and the trail was officially designated by an act of
Congress on October 2 of that same year. The trail existed in various forms long
before that—sections of it having been forged and pieced together since the
1930s, when a band of hikers and wilderness enthusiasts first took interest in
creating a Mexico-to-Canada trail—but it wasn’t until 1968 that the PCT was
designated and not until 1993 that it was complete. It was officially dedicated
almost exactly two years before I woke that first morning among the Joshua
trees that had stabbed me. The trail didn’t feel two years old to me. It didn’t
even feel like it was about my age. It felt ancient. Knowing. Utterly and
profoundly indifferent to me.

2 I woke at dawn but couldn’t bring myself to so much as sit up for an hour,
lingering instead in my sleeping bag while reading my guidebook, still drowsy,
though I’d slept for twelve hours—or at least I’d been reclining that long. The
wind had awakened me repeatedly throughout the night, smacking against my
tent in great bursts, sometimes hard enough so the walls whipped up against
my head. It died down a few hours before dawn, but then it was something else
that woke me: the silence. The irrefutable proof that I was out here in the great
alone.

3 I crawled out of my tent and stood slowly, my muscles stiff from yesterday’s
hike, my bare feet tender on the rocky dirt. I still wasn’t hungry, but I forced
myself to eat breakfast, scooping two spoonfuls of a powdered soy substance
called Better Than Milk into one of my pots and stirring water into it before
adding granola. It didn’t taste better than milk to me. Or worse. It didn’t taste
like anything. I might as well have been eating grass. My taste buds had
seemingly gone numb. I continued to press the spoon into my mouth anyway.
I’d need the nutrition for the long day ahead. I drank the last of the water in my
bottles and awkwardly refilled them from my dromedary bag, which flopped
heavily in my hands. According to The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California, I
was thirteen miles away from my first water source: Golden Oak Springs, which,
in spite of yesterday’s poor showing, I expected to reach by day’s end.

4 I loaded my pack the way I had the day before in the motel, cramming and
wedging things in until nothing more would fit, then attaching the rest by
bungee cords to the outside. It took me an hour to break camp and set off.
Almost immediately I stepped over a small pile of scat on the trail, a few feet
from where I’d been sleeping. It was black as tar. A coyote, I hoped. Or was it a
mountain lion? I searched the dirt for tracks, but saw none. I scanned the
landscape, ready to see a large feline face among the sagebrush and rocks.

5 I began to walk, feeling experienced in a way I hadn’t the day before, less
cautious with each step in spite of the scat, stronger beneath my pack. That
strength crumbled within fifteen minutes, as I ascended and then ascended

Page 29
some more, pushing into the rocky mountains, walking switchback after
switchback. My pack’s frame creaked behind me with each step, straining from
the weight. The muscles of my upper back and shoulders were bound in tense,
hot knots. Every so often, I stopped and bent over to brace my hands against
my knees and shift the pack’s weight off my shoulders for a moment of relief
before staggering on.

6 By noon I was up over 6,000 feet and the air had cooled, the sun suddenly
disappearing behind clouds. Yesterday it had been hot in the desert, but now I
shivered as I ate my lunch of a protein bar and dried apricots, my
sweat-drenched T-shirt growing cold on my back. I dug the fleece jacket out of
my clothing bag and put it on. Afterwards, I lay down on my tarp to rest for a
few minutes and, without meaning to, fell asleep.

7 I woke to raindrops falling on my face and looked at my watch. I’d slept for
nearly two hours. I hadn’t dreamed of anything, hadn’t had any awareness that
I’d been sleeping at all, as if instead someone had come up behind me and
knocked me unconscious with a rock. When I sat up I saw that I was engulfed in
a cloud, the mist so impenetrable I couldn’t see beyond a few feet. I cinched on
my pack and continued hiking through the light rain, though my whole body felt
as if it were pushing through deep water with each step. I bunched up my
T-shirt and shorts to cushion the spots on my hips and back and shoulders that
were being rubbed raw by my pack, but that only made it worse.

8 I continued up, into the late afternoon and evening, unable to see anything
except what was immediately before me. I wasn’t thinking of snakes, as I’d
been the day before. I wasn’t thinking, I’m hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. I
wasn’t even thinking, What have I gotten myself into? I was thinking only of
moving myself forward. My mind was a crystal vase that contained only that one
desire. My body was its opposite: a bag of broken glass. Every time I moved, it
hurt. I counted my steps to take my mind off the pain, silently ticking the
numbers off in my head to one hundred before starting over again. The blocks
of numbers made the walk slightly more bearable, as if I only had to go to the
end of each one.

9 As I ascended, I realized I didn’t understand what a mountain was, or even if I


was hiking up one mountain or a series of them glommed together. I’d not
grown up around mountains. I’d walked on a few, but only on well-trod paths on
day hikes. They’d seemed to be nothing more than really big hills. But they were
not that. They were, I now realized, layered and complex, inexplicable and
analogous to nothing. Each time I reached the place that I thought was the top
of the mountain or the series of mountains glommed together, I was wrong.
There was still more up to go, even if first there was a tiny slope that went
tantalizingly down. So up I went until I reached what really was the top. I knew
it was the top because there was snow. Not on the ground, but falling from the
sky, in thin flakes that swirled in mad patterns, pushed by the wind.

10 I hadn’t expected it to rain in the desert, and I certainly hadn’t expected it to


snow. As with the mountains, there’d been no deserts where I grew up, and
though I’d gone on day hikes in a couple of them, I didn’t really understand
what deserts were. I’d taken them to be dry, hot, and sandy places full of

Page 30
snakes, scorpions, and cactuses. They were not that. They were that and also a
bunch of other things. They were layered and complex and inexplicable and
analogous to nothing. My new existence was beyond analogy, I realized on that
second day on the trail.

11 I was in entirely new terrain.

Excerpt from WILD: FROM LOST TO FOUND ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL by Cheryl Strayed, copyright © 2012 by
Cheryl Strayed. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of
Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Page 31
Use “A Train Trip” (pp. 26–28) to answer questions 23–28. Then fill in the
answers on your answer document.

23 What detail is left unresolved at the end of the selection?

A Whether the cabin will be secured after Jimmy and his father leave

B Whether Jimmy can fully accept his father’s authority

C Jimmy’s feelings about leaving the cabin

D The final destination for Jimmy and his father

24 The author most likely includes the anecdote about the bat in paragraph 9 to develop the
theme of —

F protecting the natural environment

G showing respect for the older generation

H cherishing particular memories

J gaining personal freedom

25 Read this sentence from paragraph 26.

The leather soles of my shoes felt insecure and


slippery on the rungs.

The author’s use of the first-person point of view —

A reveals Jimmy’s youthful idealism

B shows Jimmy’s fearless determination

C helps the reader understand that Jimmy is unreliable

D allows the reader to identify with Jimmy’s vulnerability

Page 32
26 What is Jimmy’s primary dilemma?

F He must choose between being obedient to his father and being true to himself.

G He must reconcile the difference between his father’s cynical worldview and his own
beliefs.

H He must accept that he has to leave the cabin despite his strong desire to stay.

J He must resolve his conflicted feelings about what will happen after he leaves the cabin.

27 Read the dialogue in paragraphs 11 through 24. When considered with this dialogue, which
sentence reveals that Jimmy is hiding his true feelings from his father?

A I wished we were just going on a fishing trip and not going away.

B I looked all around the kitchen to remember it and I was awfully fond of it.

C It was still dark but along the edge of the hills it was lightening.

D It was lighter than when I started to climb the ladder and it was cold and very early in the
morning.

28 In paragraph 9, the description of the kitchen serves to —

F emphasize the unpleasantness of Jimmy’s living conditions

G reveal Jimmy’s strong emotional attachment to the cabin

H show that Jimmy feels lonely in this remote setting

J imply that Jimmy hopes his circumstances are improving

Page 33
Use Wild (pp. 29–31) to answer questions 29–34. Then fill in the answers
on your answer document.

29 Read the following dictionary entry.

ı
tender \ ten-d r\ adj
e
1. showing gentleness and concern
or sympathy 2. sensitive to pain
3. young, immature, and
vulnerable 4. requiring tact or
careful handling

Which definition best matches the use of the word tender in paragraph 3?

A Definition 1

B Definition 2

C Definition 3

D Definition 4

30 In paragraph 8, the author uses glass as a metaphor to show her —

F intense anger

G deep personal regret

H vision problems

J extreme physical agony

Page 34
31 In paragraph 4, the author’s attitude about being near wildlife is —

A terrified

B pleased

C cautious

D irritated

32 In which quotation does the author use descriptive language to show her unexpected awe?

F I crawled out of my tent and stood slowly, my muscles stiff from yesterday’s hike, my
bare feet tender on the rocky dirt.

G My pack’s frame creaked behind me with each step, straining from the weight. The
muscles of my upper back and shoulders were bound in tense, hot knots.

H I knew it was the top because there was snow. Not on the ground, but falling from the
sky, in thin flakes that swirled in mad patterns, pushed by the wind.

J By noon I was up over 6,000 feet and the air had cooled, the sun suddenly disappearing
behind clouds.

Page 35
33 Paragraph 10 builds upon the theme of —

A discovering how close humans are to nature

B rejecting modernity for a simpler way of living

C finding a sanctuary from society by retreating into nature

D gaining a new perspective by undergoing a challenging experience

34 In paragraph 1, the author details the history of the Pacific Crest Trail to —

F show the sacrifices that were necessary to complete the trail

G imply that it took an unreasonable amount of time to create the trail

H contrast how new the completed trail is with how old it feels to her

J emphasize that the trail’s history is not as interesting to her as the trail itself is

Page 36
Use “A Train Trip” and Wild to answer questions 35–38. Then fill in the
answers on your answer document.

35 Read these quotations from the two selections.

A Train Trip Wild

“And what will you remember?” I began to walk, feeling experienced


“All the fun we’ve had.” in a way I hadn't the day before, less
“Not just filling the wood box and cautious with each step in spite of the
hauling water?” scat, stronger beneath my pack.
“That’s not hard.”
“No,” he said. “That’s not hard. Aren’t
you sorry to go away?”
“Not if we’re going to Canada.”

In both quotations, the narrators display —

A optimism

B a need for approval

C a lack of self-worth

D self-doubt

36 What do the narrators of both selections have in common?

F They both show signs of being physically exhausted.

G They both exhibit some reluctance to proceed on a journey.

H They both experience deep feelings of regret.

J They both test the limits of their endurance.

Page 37
37 In both selections, food is described as something —

A the narrators consume out of necessity

B the narrators find completely unappealing

C that represents love and caring

D that is in limited supply

38 Although the authors of the selections write in different styles, both of them make use of —

F short sentences

G occasional dialogue

H third-person narration

J vivid descriptions

BE SURE YOU HAVE RECORDED ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS


ON THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 38
SHORT ANSWER #1

DIRECTIONS

Answer the following question in the box labeled “Short Answer #1” on page 4 of
your answer document.

In the excerpts from “A Train Trip” and Wild, how do the narrators feel about their journeys?
Explain your answer and support it with evidence from both selections.

BE SURE YOU HAVE WRIT TEN YOUR ANSWER


ON PAGE 4 OF THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 39
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

Is Texting Killing the English Language?


by John McWhorter
TIME magazine
April 25, 2013

www.cartoonstock.com

1 Texting has long been bemoaned as the downfall of the written word,
“penmanship for illiterates,” as one critic called it. To which the proper response
is LOL. Texting properly isn’t writing at all—it’s actually more akin to spoken
language. And it’s a “spoken” language that is getting richer and more complex
by the year.

2 First, some historical perspective. Writing was only invented 5,500 years ago,
whereas language probably traces back at least 80,000 years. Thus talking
came first; writing is just an artifice that came along later. As such, the first
writing was based on the way people talk, with short sentences. However, while
talk is largely subconscious and rapid, writing is deliberate and slow. Over time,
writers took advantage of this and started crafting tapeworm sentences such as
this one, from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “The whole
engagement lasted above 12 hours, till the gradual retreat of the Persians was
changed into a disorderly flight, of which the shameful example was given by
the principal leaders and the Surenas himself.”

Page 40
3 No one talks like that casually—or should. But it is natural to desire to do so for
special occasions, and that’s what oratory is, like the grand-old kinds of
speeches that William Jennings Bryan delivered. In the old days, we didn’t much
write like talking because there was no mechanism to reproduce the speed of
conversation. But texting and instant messaging do—and a revolution has
begun. It involves the brute mechanics of writing, but in its economy,
spontaneity and even vulgarity, texting is actually a new kind of talking. There is
a virtual cult of concision and little interest in capitalization or punctuation. The
argument that texting is “poor writing” is analogous, then, to one that the
Rolling Stones is “bad music” because it doesn’t use violas.

4 Texting is developing its own kind of grammar. Take LOL. It doesn’t actually
mean “laughing out loud” in a literal sense anymore. LOL has evolved into
something much subtler and sophisticated and is used even when nothing is
remotely amusing. Jocelyn texts “Where have you been?” and Annabelle texts
back “LOL at the library studying for two hours.” LOL signals basic empathy
between texters, easing tension and creating a sense of equality. Instead of
having a literal meaning, it does something—conveying an attitude—just like the
-ed ending conveys past tense rather than “meaning” anything. LOL, of all
things, is grammar.

5 Of course no one thinks about that consciously. But then most of communication
operates below the radar. Over time, the meaning of a word or an expression
drifts—meat used to mean any kind of food, silly used to mean, believe it or not,
blessed.

6 Civilization, then, is fine—people banging away on their smartphones are


fluently using a code separate from the one they use in actual writing, and there
is no evidence that texting is ruining composition skills. Worldwide people speak
differently from the way they write, and texting—quick, casual and only
intended to be read once—is actually a way of talking with your fingers.

7 All indications are that America’s youth are doing it quite well. Texting, far from
being a scourge, is a work in progress.

“Is Texting Killing the English Language?” by John McWhorter, TIME, April 25, 2013. Adapted from McWhorter’s talk at
TED 2013. Used by permission of the author.

Page 41
Teen Texting

Love it or hate it, texting is here to stay. A 2012 survey by the Pew
Research Center found that:

• about 75% of teens text, and about 23% of teens have smartphones

• about 63% of teens text family and friends every day, which is a far
greater percentage than those who communicate daily by phone,
e-mail, or face-to-face conversation

• teens identified as heavy texters, or those who send more than 100
texts per day, are also more likely to talk on their cell phone daily

So what do English teachers think about all this teen texting? Some
have tried to turn it to their advantage by incorporating activities such
as having students translate literary passages into text messages as a
way of demonstrating comprehension.

Page 42
39 In paragraphs 6 and 7, the author makes generalizations to suggest that texting —

A does not require skill

B causes no harm

C helps build relationships

D should be studied more

40 In paragraph 3, the author presents a concept. In the next paragraph, the author —

F shows how the concept is flawed

G provides reasons why people are skeptical of the concept

H shows how similar the concept is to other concepts

J provides an example that supports the concept

41 According to the article, what happens to language over time?

A Formal writing and spoken language become more similar.

B Sentence constructions no longer follow specific rules.

C Words develop new definitions.

D Spoken language becomes more literal.

Page 43
42 Which sentence best expresses the article’s main idea?

F No one talks like that casually—or should.

G Texting has long been bemoaned as the downfall of the written word, “penmanship for
illiterates,” as one critic called it.

H Of course no one thinks about that consciously.

J Texting, far from being a scourge, is a work in progress.

43 What is the overall message of the boxed information about teen texting?

A Teachers are concerned about teen texting.

B Teens text on a frequent basis.

C Teens prefer texting to other activities.

D Texting is interfering with face-to-face interaction among teens.

Page 44
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill in
the answer on your answer document.

Hot Bread Kitchen


by Gabbi Chee
Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine
July 2012

© Hot Bread Kitchen


Hot Bread Kitchen’s Retail Space in La Marqueta, East Harlem

1 At all hours of the day, white-aproned bakers bustle about the cement floor of
Hot Bread Kitchen, tossing flour across butcher-block tables, loading metal trays
with bulging, hand-shaped loaves, and shifting steaming, fresh bread to cooling
racks. The only bodies at rest in this New York City bakery are pans of rising
loaves, waiting to be hoisted into the oven. The skilled bakers turn out an
eclectic array—around 25 varieties ranging from classic French baguettes to
crisp Armenian lavash crackers—which they sell at farmers’ markets and
gourmet stores across the five boroughs. But Hot Bread Kitchen is more than an
artisanal bakery: It’s a nonprofit designed to give foreign-born women and
minority entrepreneurs the skills and support they need to establish careers in
the culinary arts. Overseeing daily operation of the place—and often rolling up
her own shirtsleeves to pitch in—is 35-year-old founder and CEO Jessamyn
Rodriguez.

2 By blending her lifelong passion for social justice and great food, Rodriguez says
she has created her dream job. The idea for Hot Bread Kitchen came to her in a
slip of the tongue. “I interviewed at a microfinance organization called Women’s
World Banking,” she says. “I was telling a friend about the job, and he heard
Women’s World Baking.” The image of women from around the globe baking
bread together remained firmly engrained in her mind for the next decade. And
while Rodriguez pursued her career in public service (which included stints with

Page 45
the Canadian government and the United Nations), that mental picture slowly
fermented into reality. She moonlighted at a bakery and earned a master baker
certificate. Then, in 2008, she took the leap. “I quit my job and put it all into
Hot Bread Kitchen,” she says.

3 Rodriguez launched the bakery in the small Brooklyn apartment she shared with
roommates, hiring two immigrant women as her first bakers. “I was definitely
forging new ground, and we faced a lot of skeptics,” she says of those early
days. “But for every person who questioned it, there were five people who were
interested in supporting us.” Today, Hot Bread Kitchen employs a staff of 35 and
occupies a nearly 5,000-square-foot space (part of which it rents out to
entrepreneurs looking to grow their small food businesses) in La Marqueta, a
public market in East Harlem.

© Rebecca McAlpin
Staff of Hot Bread Kitchen

4 The women who bake and package Hot Bread Kitchen’s offerings range in age
from 21 to 60. Hailing from lands such as Chad, Haiti, Nepal, and the Dominican
Republic, some have lived in the U.S. for as little as a year. Others, including
production manager Antonia Garcia, who is originally from Puebla, Mexico, have
called America home for more than a decade. These women’s diverse
homelands are reflected in many of the bakery’s products, like heritage tortillas
and the wildly popular m’smen, a buttery Moroccan flatbread.

5 Since its humble beginnings, Hot Bread Kitchen has trained 27 women from 12
countries. They receive paid, on-the-job experience, as well as courses in
kitchen math, bakery sciences, and English as part of a yearlong training
program funded by product sales and charitable donations. Several graduates
have been promoted to managerial positions at the bakery, where they now
supervise incoming trainees. Two have baked at chef Daniel Boulud’s
three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Daniel.1

1Michelin issues awards for excellence to restaurants, with three stars being the highest rating.

Page 46
6 The program has far surpassed Rodriguez’s original hopes. “We’ve grown faster
than I ever expected,” she says. Hot Bread Kitchen is set to open its very own
storefront at La Marqueta this month. But the bakery isn’t finished rising:
Rodriguez has plans to expand her organization to five other U.S. cities. “It’s
been a lot of hard work,” she says. “Hard work balanced with the most
satisfying, amazing moments.”

“Hot Bread Kitchen” by Gabbi Chee, Spirit Magazine, July 2012. Reprinted by permission.

Page 47
44 Which phrase has the same meaning as the word moonlighted in paragraph 2?

F Went back to school

G Started a new career

H Worked a second job

J Pursued a lifelong dream

45 Which detail best supports the idea that the mission of Hot Bread Kitchen has public support?

A Rodriguez had to move the business from her apartment to La Marqueta.

B Charitable contributions help fund the bakery’s training program.

C Entrepreneurs rent space from the bakery to run their businesses.

D Some of the bakery’s former trainees now hold managerial positions.

46 Read this sentence from paragraph 1.

At all hours of the day, white-aproned bakers


bustle about the cement floor of Hot Bread
Kitchen, tossing flour across butcher-block
tables, loading metal trays with bulging,
hand-shaped loaves, and shifting steaming,
fresh bread to cooling racks.

The descriptive language in this sentence emphasizes the —

F constant activity of skilled workers

G complicated process of making fresh baked goods

H many different types of equipment used in bakeries

J difficult working conditions of bakery employees

Page 48
47 The author establishes the cultural diversity of Hot Bread Kitchen by describing —

A the bakery’s development since 2008

B the backgrounds of the employees

C the courses offered to employees

D the bakery’s location at La Marqueta

48 What is the main idea of the article?

F Jessamyn Rodriguez’s bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen, is a successful nonprofit business that
provides professional opportunities for immigrant women.

G The hardworking women at Hot Bread Kitchen have helped it grow from a small nonprofit
organization into a large, successful business that will expand into several cities.

H Jessamyn Rodriguez created her dream job when she established Hot Bread Kitchen after
a long career in public service.

J The products of Hot Bread Kitchen, which include many different types of bread, reflect
the diverse backgrounds of its employees.

Page 49
49 Which sentence best supports Rodriguez’s claim that running Hot Bread Kitchen has been
hard work?

A Overseeing daily operation of the place—and often rolling up her own shirtsleeves to pitch
in—is 35-year-old founder and CEO Jessamyn Rodriguez.

B Rodriguez launched the bakery in the small Brooklyn apartment she shared with
roommates, hiring two immigrant women as her first bakers.

C And while Rodriguez pursued her career in public service (which included stints with the
Canadian government and the United Nations), that mental picture slowly fermented into
reality.

D By blending her lifelong passion for social justice and great food, Rodriguez says she has
created her dream job.

50 What does the photograph of the retail space emphasize?

F The large size of the area where goods are sold

G How the employees are trained

H The friendliness of the service provided

J How expensive the goods are

BE SURE YOU HAVE RECORDED ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS


ON THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.

Page 50
SHORT ANSWER #2

DIRECTIONS

Answer the following question in the box labeled “Short Answer #2” on page 6 of
your answer document.

In “Hot Bread Kitchen,” how does Jessamyn Rodriguez benefit from her work at the bakery?
Support your answer with evidence from the selection.

BE SURE YOU HAVE WRIT TEN YOUR ANSWER


ON PAGE 6 OF THE ANSWER DOCUMENT.
STOP
Page 51
STAAR
English II
March 2016
STAAR English II Assessment
Genres Assessed:
Literary Informational
• Fiction (Readiness) • Expository (Readiness)
• Literary Nonfiction (Supporting) • Persuasive (Supporting)
• Poetry (Supporting) • Procedural (Embedded, Supporting)
• Drama (Supporting) • Media Literacy (Embedded, Supporting)
• Media Literacy (Embedded, Supporting)

Reporting Category 1:
Understanding and Analysis Across Genres
The student will demonstrate the ability to understand and analyze a
variety of written texts across reading genres.

(1) Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary


and use it when reading and writing. Students are expected to

(A) determine the meaning of grade-level technical academic English words


in multiple content areas (e.g., science, mathematics, social studies,
the arts) derived from Latin, Greek, or other linguistic roots and affixes;
Supporting Standard
(B) analyze textual context (within a sentence and in larger sections of
text) to distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings
of words; Readiness Standard
(C) infer word meaning through the identification and analysis of analogies
and other word relationships; Supporting Standard
(D) show the relationship between the origins and meaning of foreign words
or phrases used frequently in written English and historical events or
developments (e.g., glasnost, avant-garde, coup d’état);
Supporting Standard
(E) use a dictionary, a glossary, or a thesaurus (printed or electronic) to
determine or confirm the meanings of words and phrases, including
their connotations and denotations, and their etymology.
Readiness Standard
(2) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre. Students
analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about theme and genre in
different cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence
from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to

(A) compare and contrast differences in similar themes expressed in


different time periods; Supporting Standard

STAAR English II Page 2 of 12

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
(9) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Expository Text.
Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about expository
text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students
are expected to

(D) synthesize and make logical connections between ideas and details in
several texts selected to reflect a range of viewpoints on the same topic
and support those findings with textual evidence.
Supporting Standard
(Figure 19) Reading/Comprehension Skills. Students use a flexible range of
metacognitive reading skills in both assigned and independent reading to
understand an author’s message. The student is expected to

(B) make complex inferences about text and use textual evidence to
support understanding. Readiness Standard

STAAR English II Page 3 of 12

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
Reporting Category 2:
Understanding and Analysis of Literary Texts
The student will demonstrate an ability to understand and analyze literary
texts.

(2) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre. Students


analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about theme and genre in
different cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence
from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to

(B) analyze archetypes (e.g., journey of a hero, tragic flaw) in mythic,


traditional and classical literature; Supporting Standard
(C) relate the figurative language of a literary work to its historical and
cultural setting. Supporting Standard
(3) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Poetry. Students understand,
make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of
poetry and provide evidence from text to support their understanding.
Students are expected to

(A) analyze the structure or prosody (e.g., meter, rhyme scheme) and
graphic elements (e.g., line length, punctuation, word position) in
poetry. Supporting Standard
(4) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Drama. Students understand,
make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of
drama and provide evidence from text to support their understanding.
Students are expected to

(A) analyze how archetypes and motifs in drama affect the plot of plays.
Supporting Standard
(5) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Fiction. Students understand,
make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of
fiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding.
Students are expected to

(A) analyze isolated scenes and their contribution to the success of the plot
as a whole in a variety of works of fiction; Readiness Standard
(B) analyze differences in the characters’ moral dilemmas in works of fiction
across different countries or cultures; Supporting Standard
(C) evaluate the connection between forms of narration (e.g., unreliable,
omniscient) and tone in works of fiction. Supporting Standard

STAAR English II Page 4 of 12

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
(6) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Literary Nonfiction.
Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the varied
structural patterns and features of literary nonfiction and provide evidence
from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to

(A) evaluate the role of syntax and diction and the effect of voice, tone, and
imagery on a speech, literary essay, or other forms of literary
nonfiction. Supporting Standard
(7) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Sensory Language. Students
understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about how an author’s
sensory language creates imagery in literary text and provide evidence from
text to support their understanding. Students are expected to

(A) explain the function of symbolism, allegory, and allusions in literary


works. Supporting Standard
(12) Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze
how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to
impact meaning. Students are expected to

(A) evaluate how messages presented in media reflect social and cultural
views in ways different from traditional texts; Supporting Standard
(D) evaluate changes in formality and tone within the same medium for
specific audiences and purposes. Supporting Standard
(Figure 19) Reading/Comprehension Skills. Students use a flexible range of
metacognitive reading skills in both assigned and independent reading to
understand an author’s message. The student is expected to

(B) make complex inferences about text and use textual evidence to
support understanding. Readiness Standard (Fiction) /
Supporting Standard (Literary Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama, Media
Literacy)

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Student Assessment Division
December 2013
Reporting Category 3:
Understanding and Analysis of Informational Texts
The student will demonstrate an ability to understand and analyze
informational texts.

(8) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Culture and History.


Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about the author’s
purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide
evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected
to

(A) analyze the controlling idea and specific purpose of a passage and the
textual elements that support and elaborate it, including both the most
important details and the less important details. Readiness Standard
(9) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Expository Text.
Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about expository
text and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students
are expected to

(A) summarize text and distinguish between a summary and a critique and
identify non-essential information in a summary and unsubstantiated
opinions in a critique; Readiness Standard
(B) distinguish among different kinds of evidence (e.g., logical, empirical,
anecdotal) used to support conclusions and arguments in texts;
Supporting Standard
(C) make and defend subtle inferences and complex conclusions about the
ideas in text and their organizational patterns. Readiness Standard
(10) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Persuasive Text.
Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about persuasive
text and provide evidence from text to support their analysis. Students are
expected to

(A) explain shifts in perspective in arguments about the same topic and
evaluate the accuracy of the evidence used to support the different
viewpoints within those arguments. Supporting Standard

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Student Assessment Division
December 2013
(11) Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts.
Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts
and documents. Students are expected to

(A) evaluate text for the clarity of its graphics and its visual appeal;
Supporting Standard
(B) synthesize information from multiple graphical sources to draw
conclusions about the ideas presented (e.g., maps, charts, schematics).
Supporting Standard
(12) Reading/Media Literacy. Students use comprehension skills to analyze
how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to
impact meaning. Students are expected to

(A) evaluate how messages presented in media reflect social and cultural
views in ways different from traditional texts; Supporting Standard
(D) evaluate changes in formality and tone within the same medium for
specific audiences and purposes. Supporting Standard
(Figure 19) Reading/Comprehension Skills. Students use a flexible range of
metacognitive reading skills in both assigned and independent reading to
understand an author’s message. The student is expected to

(B) make complex inferences about text and use textual evidence to
support understanding. Readiness Standard (Expository) /
Supporting Standard (Persuasive, Procedural, Media Literacy)

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Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
Reporting Category 4:
Composition
The student will demonstrate an ability to compose a variety of written
texts with a clear, controlling thesis; coherent organization; sufficient
development; and effective use of language and conventions.

(13) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process


(planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text.
Students are expected to

(B) structure ideas in a sustained and persuasive way (e.g., using outlines,
note taking, graphic organizers, lists) and develop drafts in timed and
open-ended situations that include transitions and rhetorical devices
used to convey meaning; Readiness Standard
(C) revise drafts to improve style, word choice, figurative language,
sentence variety, and subtlety of meaning after rethinking how well
questions of purpose, audience, and genre have been addressed;
Readiness Standard
(D) edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling. Readiness Standard
*(15) Writing/Expository [and Procedural] Texts. Students write expository
[and procedural or work-related] texts to communicate ideas and information
to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to

(A) write an [analytical] essay of sufficient length Readiness Standard


that includes
(i) effective introductory and concluding paragraphs and a variety of
sentence structures;
(ii) rhetorical devices, and transitions between paragraphs;
(iii) a thesis or controlling idea;
(iv) an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience, and
context;
(v) relevant evidence and well-chosen details;
(vi) distinctions about the relative value of specific data, facts, ideas
that support the thesis statement.

*Expository writing will no longer be assessed on STAAR English II. However, expository writing will continue to
be the type of writing assessed on STAAR Modified English II, since April 2014 will be the last administration of
that assessment.

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Student Assessment Division
December 2013
(16) Writing/Persuasive Texts. Students write persuasive texts to influence the
attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students are
expected to write an argumentative essay to the appropriate audience
Readiness Standard
that includes
(A) a clear thesis or position based on logical reasons supported by precise
and relevant evidence;
(D) an organizing structure appropriate to the purpose, audience, and
context;
(E) an analysis of the relative value of specific data, facts, and ideas.

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Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
Genres Represented in the Revision and Editing Sections of the Test:
Literary Informational
• Literary Nonfiction • Expository
• Persuasive

Reporting Category 5:
Revision
The student will demonstrate an ability to revise a variety of written texts.

(13) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process


(planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text.
Students are expected to

(C) revise drafts to improve style, word choice, figurative language,


sentence variety, and subtlety of meaning after rethinking how well
questions of purpose, audience, and genre have been addressed.
Readiness Standard
(15) Writing/Expository [and Procedural] Texts. Students write expository
[and procedural or work-related] texts to communicate ideas and information
to specific audiences for specific purposes. Students are expected to

(A) write an [analytical] essay of sufficient length that includes


(i) effective introductory and concluding paragraphs and a variety of
sentence structures; Supporting Standard
(ii) rhetorical devices, and transitions between paragraphs;
Supporting Standard
(iii) a thesis or controlling idea; Supporting Standard
(iv) an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience, and
context; Supporting Standard
(v) relevant evidence and well-chosen details;
Supporting Standard
(vi) distinctions about the relative value of specific data, facts, and
ideas that support the thesis statement. Supporting Standard
(16) Writing/Persuasive Texts. Students write persuasive texts to influence the
attitudes or actions of a specific audience on specific issues. Students are
expected to write an argumentative essay to the appropriate audience that
includes

(A) a clear thesis or position based on logical reasons supported by precise


and relevant evidence; Supporting Standard
(C) counter–arguments based on evidence to anticipate and address
objections; Supporting Standard
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Student Assessment Division
December 2013
(D) an organizing structure appropriate to the purpose, audience, and
context; Supporting Standard
(E) an analysis of the relative value of specific data, facts, and ideas;
Supporting Standard
(F) a range of appropriate appeals (e.g., descriptions, anecdotes, case
studies, analogies, illustrations). Supporting Standard

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Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
December 2013
Reporting Category 6:
Editing
The student will demonstrate an ability to edit a variety of texts.

(13) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process


(planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text.
Students are expected to

(D) edit drafts for grammar, mechanics, and spelling. Readiness Standard
(17) [Oral and] Written Conventions/Conventions. Students understand the
function of and use the conventions of academic language when [speaking
and] writing. Students are expected to

(A) use and understand the function of the following parts of speech in the
context of reading, writing, [and speaking]: Readiness Standard
(i) more complex active and passive tenses and verbals (gerunds,
infinitives, participles); Supporting Standard
(ii) restrictive and nonrestrictive relative clauses;
Supporting Standard
(iii) reciprocal pronouns (e.g., each other, one another);
Supporting Standard
(C) use a variety of correctly structured sentences (e.g., compound,
complex, compound-complex). Readiness Standard
(18) [Oral and] Written Conventions/Handwriting, Capitalization, and
Punctuation. Students write legibly and use appropriate capitalization and
punctuation conventions in their compositions. Students are expected to

(A) use conventions of capitalization; Readiness Standard


(B) use correct punctuation marks Readiness Standard
including
(i) comma placement in nonrestrictive phrases, clauses, and
contrasting expressions; Supporting Standard
(ii) quotation marks to indicate sarcasm or irony.
Supporting Standard
(19) [Oral and] Written Conventions/Spelling. Students spell correctly.
Students are expected to

(A) spell correctly, including using various resources to determine and


check correct spellings. Readiness Standard

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Student Assessment Division
December 2013
English II

Short Answer
Connecting Selections
Scoring Guide

March 2015

Copyright © 2015, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction of all
or portions of this work is prohibited without express written permission from Texas
Education Agency.
Read the next two selections and answer the questions that follow.

1 If you are at a point in your life where you are ready to grow, to push
yourself a little, to open your heart to a deeper compassion, drop in at the
Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India. Offer yourself up as a volunteer—for
as long as you are comfortable. Even a week would work, as it did for me.
Then watch with awe as Dr. V, or Thulasi, his second-in-command, finds a
place just for you.

2 In your “free” time, don’t miss 6 A.M. in the waiting room of the hospital
when Dr. V walks about in the river of humanity. Hundreds of village folk
stand in lines, waiting patiently for inexpensive, often free, outpatient eye
care. In an adjoining wing, long lines of the blind and the near-blind, guided
by friends and relatives, await the 10-minute miracle of surgery that will
give them back their sight.

3 Or join Dr. V’s sister, a brilliant eye surgeon in her own right, as she, after
six hours of surgery, leads a class of nurses in meditation and song.

4 After you have wandered around enough to begin to understand what this
hospital is really about, ask Dr. V if you could visit one of his Sunday
morning family sessions with his brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, in-laws
and all the children. Each week a different child presents something: it could
be one of the holy stories of India through which the Hindu people
contemplate their values and incorporate them into their lives. Or a political
issue, a world public health issue, an environmental issue, a family issue.
After the presentation, all three generations hang out together and discuss
the way they can put into practice the values brought forth in the
presentation.

5 Dr. V is a hero for these people for alleviating preventable and curable
blindness in the world. He is a winner of the highest honors, and “chief” of
this huge, world-class eye hospital complex. A strangely arresting man—with
his gnarled arthritic hands and feet, his gray rumpled suit, his seventy-odd
years and a perfect “poster man” at the same time—a brilliant mirror of
compassion to all. His work is not only a response to the great need he sees
every day. It is motivated by his belief that “intelligence and capability are
not enough to solve our problems. There must be a joy of doing something
beautiful.”

6 In the waiting room scene at sunrise, Dr. V is simultaneously the fellow


villager that he once was, and continues to be, and the extraordinary healer
he has become. For a moment, his hand rests reassuringly on the arm of a
frightened elderly woman. He explains a surgical procedure to a man. He
nods to people and keeps the line moving. He cautions the children to be
careful of others in their play. He is both village elder and hospital chief. He
is also keeping an eye on the staff, insisting on their impeccability in
service—guiding his superbly honed institution of compassion with a glance,
a word, a silent presence, a smile. As Gandhi once said, “My life is my
message.” So Dr. V’s blend of being and doing is his message. He continually
seeks to be an instrument of imbuing the physical world with Living Spirit.

7 “India will enter the 21st century with 13 million of her people needlessly
blind,” says Dr. V. “If you allow the divine force to flow through you, you will
accomplish things far greater than you imagined.”

8 Dr. V and his staff perform 92,000 cataract surgeries a year and nearly
850,000 outpatient treatments. That’s over 300 surgeries a day and 2,800
outpatients registered and seen each day. At the Seva Foundation, hundreds
of our members help support special people like Dr. V and their noble work
in underprivileged communities around the world. The Aravind Clinic has
become a factory of caring for human beings. Their tall building of cement
and steel and large plate-glass windows is a shining monument to Western
technology. But it is also, like Dr. V himself, a blend of being and doing.

9 From my experiences with Dr. V and the Aravind family, I have deepened my
understanding of a basic tenet of the Seva Foundation—that one need not
forgo doing for being, or being for doing. In Madurai I found myself
immersed in a demonstration of the successful integration of these two
aspects of life—actions involving the best skills and technology balanced with
caring hearts rooted in a sweet spiritual presence that is embracing of all
fellow souls. It is a great teaching.

“Helping Others to See” by Ram Dass, from STONE SOUP FOR THE WORLD: LIFE-CHANGING STORIES OF
EVERYDAY HEROES, edited by Marianne Larned. Copyright © 1998 and 2002 by Marianne Larned. Published
by Three Rivers Press. Reprinted by permission.
The Aravind Eye-Care System
Dr. G. Venkataswamy, known as
Dr. V, founded the Aravind Eye
Hospital in 1976. What began as
an 11-bed hospital is now the
largest eye-care medical
organization in the world, with
4,000 beds, seven hospitals, and
36 small satellite eye-care
centers in remote regions.

Aravind’s guiding philosophy


is compassionate, self-
sustaining care. One-third of the
center’s patients pay for their
eye care. These funds pay for

© 2011 Aravind Eye Care System


the other two-thirds, who
receive their care at no cost.

Dr. V at His Desk


© Ryan Pyle/CORBIS

Patients of Aravind After Their Surgeries, Waiting


Aboard the Bus That Will Take Them Home
A Ball to Roll Around
by Robert Allman
This I Believe, broadcast during the 1950s

1 I lost my sight when I was 4 years old by falling off a boxcar in a freight yard
in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and landing on my head. Now, I am 32. I can
vaguely remember the brightness of sunshine and what color red is. It would
be wonderful to see again. But a calamity can do strange things to people.

2 It occurred to me the other day that I might not have come to love life so,
as I do, if I hadn’t been blind. I believe in life now. I am not so sure that I
would have believed in it so deeply, otherwise. I don’t mean that I would
prefer to go without my eyes. I simply mean that the loss of them made me
more appreciate what I had left.

3 Life, I believe, asks a continuous series of adjustments to reality. The more


readily a person is able to make these adjustments, the more meaningful his
own private world becomes. The adjustment is never easy. I was bewildered
and afraid, but I was lucky. My parents and my teachers saw something in
me—oh, a potential to live you might call it—which I didn’t see. And they
made me want to fight it out with blindness.

4 The hardest lesson I had to learn was to believe in myself. That was basic. If
I hadn’t been able to do that, I would have collapsed and become a chair
rocker on the front porch for the rest of my life. When I say believe in
myself, I am not talking about simply the kind of self-confidence that helps
me down an unfamiliar staircase alone. That is part of it, but I mean
something bigger than that: an assurance that I am, despite imperfections,
a real, positive person; that somewhere in the sweeping, intricate pattern of
people, there is a special place where I can make myself fit. It took me
years to discover and strengthen this assurance. It had to start with the
most elementary things.

5 When I was a youngster, once a man gave me an indoor baseball. I thought


he was mocking me, and I was hurt.

6 “I can’t use this,” I said.

7 “Take it with you,” he urged me, “and roll it around.”

8 The words stuck in my head: “Roll it around, roll it around.” By rolling the
ball, I could listen where it went. This gave me an idea—how to achieve a
goal I had thought impossible: playing baseball. At Philadelphia’s Overbrook
School for the Blind, I invented a successful variation of baseball. We called
it groundball.
9 All my life, I have set ahead of me a series of goals, and then tried to reach
them one at a time. I had to learn my limitations. It was no good to try for
something I knew at the start was wildly out of reach, because that only
invited the bitterness of failure. I would fail sometimes anyway, but on the
average, I made progress.

10 I believe I made progress more readily because of a pattern of life shaped


by certain values. I find it easier to live with myself if I try to be honest. I
find strength in the friendship and interdependence of people. I would be
blind, indeed, without my sighted friends. And very humbly, I say that I have
found purpose and comfort in a mortal’s ambition toward godliness.

11 Perhaps a man without sight is blinded less by the importance of material


things than other men are. All I know is that a belief in the higher existence
of a nobility for men to strive for has been an inspiration that has helped me
more than anything else to hold my life together.
“A Ball to Roll Around,” written by Robert Allman, part of the This I Believe Essay Collection found at
www.thisibelieve.org. Copyright © 2005–2013 by This I Believe, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Did You Know?

© Alexandr Vinokurov/Bigstock.com

Facts About Robert Allman (1918–1994):

• At the University of Pennsylvania, Allman was an intercollegiate wrestling


champion and captain of the Quaker wrestling squad during his senior
year.
• He was the recipient of the Class of 1915 Award, bestowed annually on a
member of the senior class who most closely approaches the ideal
University of Pennsylvania student-athlete.
• He was believed to be the first blind athlete ever to compete with sighted
athletes in any American sport and was the first blind athlete to be
awarded a varsity letter at the University of Pennsylvania.
• In 1940 Allman was presented the Most Courageous Athlete Award by
the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.
• He once said, “I have done nothing more than the average American
boy. . . . Courage is nothing more than doing the best you can in the
good old American Way.”
• After college he became a successful lawyer in the Philadelphia area and
worked until his death at age 75.
English II Short Answer
Connecting Selections

How are Dr. V in “Helping Others to See” and the author of “A Ball to Roll
Around” similar? Support your answer with evidence from both selections.
STAAR English II
Connecting Selections

Score Point 0—Insufficient Response to the Question


Insufficient responses indicate a very limited reading performance.

These responses have one of the following problems.

For one or both selections, the idea is not an answer to the question asked.

The idea is incorrect because it is not based on one or both selections.

For one or both selections, the idea is too general, vague, or unclear to
determine whether it is reasonable.

No idea is present from either selection. Sometimes the response contains


only text evidence from one or both selections. At other times there appears
to be an idea; however, this idea cannot be considered an answer to the
question because it merely repeats verbatim, or “echoes,” the text evidence.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 1

Score Point 0
This response is insufficient because the student presents an idea that is too vague to determine
whether it is reasonable. Phrases such as “being real,” “making it,” “doing the right thing,”
and “living the right way” are not specific enough to constitute a valid answer to the question
asked.

Connecting — 2

Score Point 0
This response is insufficient because the idea is not an answer to the question asked. The student
notes a similarity between the selections (“Both passages majorly talk about blindness”);
however, the question requires students to identify a similarity between Dr. V and the author.
While the student’s statements about Dr. V and the author are true (Dr. V helps people who
are blind; the author lost his eyesight at age four), these statements do not demonstrate how
Dr. V and the author are similar.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 3

Score Point 0
In this response the student provides several ideas that are vague as well as one idea that is incorrect. The
ideas that Dr. V and the author of “A Ball to Roll Around” had a “goal in life” and were “very determined
to do what they loved” are so vague that it is difficult to tell whether the student has read the selections.
In addition, the student offers an idea that is based on a misreading of “Helping Others to See.” The
student’s claim that Dr. V and the author are “both blind” is incorrect, since Dr. V is sighted throughout the
selection. Because the response contains both vague and incorrect ideas, the student’s reading performance
is considered very limited.
Connecting — 4

Score Point 0
The student provides textual evidence from both selections but does not offer an idea. Stating
that Dr. V and the author are similar only repeats the question; this statement does not
constitute an idea. Responses that contain only text evidence indicate a very limited reading
performance.
STAAR English II
Connecting Selections

Score Point 1—Partially Sufficient Response to the


Question
Partially sufficient responses indicate a basic reading performance.

These responses have one of the following characteristics.

The idea is reasonable for both selections, but the response contains no text
evidence (from one or both selections).

The idea is reasonable for both selections, but the text evidence (from one or
both selections) is flawed and does not adequately support the idea. Text
evidence is considered inadequate when it is

o only a general reference to the text,


o too partial to support the idea,
o weakly linked to the idea, or
o used inappropriately because it wrongly manipulates the meaning of the
text.

For one or both selections, the idea needs more explanation or specificity
even though it is supported with text evidence from both selections.

For one or both selections, the idea represents only a literal reading of the
text, with or without text evidence (from one or both selections).

The response contains relevant textual evidence from both selections, but
the student offers an idea that is reasonable for only one selection.

The response contains an idea and relevant text evidence for both selections,
but the idea for one selection contains an inaccuracy.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 5

Score Point 1
The student presents the reasonable idea that Dr. V and the author are both a great inspiration
to others. The student explains that Dr. V helps others in need and the author teaches readers
about self-confidence. Although these ideas are reasonable based on the selections, the student
does not provide any textual evidence. Responses that contain a reasonable idea but no textual
evidence supporting that idea indicate a basic reading performance.

Connecting — 6

Score Point 1
The student offers the reasonable idea that Dr. V and the author are similar because they both are trying
to move past the problem of blindness, Dr. V by building up people who are blind and the author building
up himself. However, the textual evidence provided for each selection is flawed because it is too partial
to adequately support the idea, since ellipses cannot be used in place of actual text. For this reason, the
response represents only a basic reading performance.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 7

Score Point 1
The student offers the general idea that Dr. V and the author are similar because they both believe in
something. Although the student presents relevant textual evidence from both selections that shows what
they believe in, the idea itself lacks the explanation or specificity needed for a sufficient response. For this
reason, the student’s reading performance is basic.
Connecting — 8

Score Point 1
The student offers the reasonable idea that Dr. V and the author are similar because they help people
who are blind. The quotation from “A Ball to Roll Around” directly supports the idea that the author’s
invention of a successful variation of baseball gave blind students at the school an opportunity to play the
game. However, the textual evidence provided for “Helping Others to See” is flawed because it is weakly
linked to the idea. The quotation addresses the challenges India faces, but it does not directly support Dr.
V’s efforts to treat those who are blind. Because the idea is not supported with relevant textual evidence
from both selections, this response represents a basic reading performance.
STAAR English II
Connecting Selections

Score Point 2—Sufficient Response to the Question


Sufficient responses indicate a satisfactory reading performanc
e.

These responses have the following characteristics.

For both selections, the idea is reasonable and goes beyond a literal reading
of the text. It is explained specifically enough to show that the student can
make appropriate connections across the selections and draw valid
conclusions.

For both selections, the text evidence that is used to support the idea is
accurate and relevant.

For both selections, the idea and text evidence used to support it are clearly
linked.

For both selections, the combination of the idea and the text evidence
demonstrates a good understanding of the text.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 9

Score Point 2
The student presents the idea that Dr. V and Robert Allman are similar because they have been successful
in helping people who are blind. The idea is specific and reasonable and demonstrates the student’s ability
to make appropriate connections across the selections. The student also provides an accurate and relevant
direct quotation from each selection to support this idea. The combination of the idea and the text evidence
makes this a sufficient response.
Connecting — 10

Score Point 2
In this sufficient response the student presents the reasonable ideas that Dr. V and the author are hard
workers and never give up. For “Helping Others to See,” the student offers a direct quotation that accurately
supports how hard Dr. V works every year. For “A Ball to Roll Around,” the student offers a direct quotation
from the first sentence in paragraph 9 as well as a paraphrase of the last sentence in paragraph 9 to show
that Allman worked hard to make incremental progress toward achieving his goals, refusing to give up
despite occasional failures. For both selections, the ideas and the text evidence used to support them are
clearly linked and demonstrate that the student has a good understanding of the texts.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 11

Score Point 2
The student offers the reasonable idea that Dr. V and the author are similar because they fulfilled their
goals—Dr. V through his extraordinary efforts to help those suffering from vision problems and the
author through his personal achievements despite his own blindness. This idea shows that the student
can make appropriate connections across the selections. The student offers relevant and clearly linked
direct quotations to show how both men realized their dreams regardless of the obstacles they faced. This
response represents a satisfactory reading performance.
Connecting — 12

Score Point 2
In this sufficient response the student presents the reasonable idea that Dr. V and Robert Allman
are similar because they have a positive outlook on life. The student uses a direct quotation
from each selection to support the idea that both men are optimistic. The combination of the
idea and textual evidence demonstrates a good understanding of the selections.
STAAR English II
Connecting Selections

Score Point 3—Exemplary Response to the Question


Exemplary responses indicate an accomplished reading performance.

These responses have the following characteristics.

For both selections, the idea is perceptive and reflects an awareness of the
complexities of the text. The student is able to develop a coherent
explanation of the idea by making discerning connections across both
selections.

For both selections, the text evidence that is used to support the idea is
specific and well chosen. Overall, the evidence strongly supports the validity
of the idea.

For both selections, the combination of the idea and the text evidence
demonstrates a deep understanding of the text.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 13

Score Point 3
The student makes discerning connections across the selections by presenting the perceptive idea that Dr. V and
the author are similar in that they share a humble approach to life. The student strengthens this idea by explaining
how Allman’s inspiration and the author’s benevolence allow them to resist the temptations of a material lifestyle
and “pursue nobler causes.” A well-chosen direct quotation from each selection strongly supports the validity of the
idea. The combination of idea, analysis, and textual evidence demonstrates the student’s deep understanding of the
selections.
Connecting — 14

Score Point 3
The student demonstrates an accomplished reading performance by developing the perceptive idea that Dr. V and
the author are similar because of their refusal to allow blindness to destroy people’s lives. The student provides an
analysis that shows how this refusal unfolds in different ways. To support this analysis, the student notes how “Dr.
V gives care to ‘hundreds of village folk’ for little to no cost,” while the author maintains the “belief that he was ‘a
real, positive person’ and that there was a ‘special place’ where he could ‘make [himself] fit.’” This combination of
well-chosen direct quotations and paraphrased text strongly supports the validity of the idea. Overall, this student
demonstrates a deep understanding of the texts.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Connecting — 15

Score Point 3
In this exemplary response the student presents the idea that Dr. V and the author are similar
because they have found joy and purpose in life amid hardship. The student shows an ability
to make discerning connections across the selections by comparing how Dr. V and the author
persevere and find fulfillment despite the obstacle of blindness. The textual evidence the
student provides strongly supports the validity of the analysis.

Connecting — 16

Score Point 3
The student presents the perceptive idea that Dr. V and the author are similar because they are
both spiritually inspired. The direct quotations the student uses are particularly well chosen, as
they support the idea that both men are acutely aware of the importance of a higher spiritual
power in their lives. The combination of the idea and textual evidence demonstrates that the
student has an awareness of the complexities of the texts, making this response exemplary.
English II

Persuasive
Scoring Guide

March 2015

Copyright © 2015, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction of all
or portions of this work is prohibited without express written permission from Texas
Education Agency.
English II
Persuasive Prompt

Read the information in the box below.

Source: Copyright © 2011 The College


Idealistic people are those who pursue great

Prompt. Reproduced with permission.


ideas in the hope of changing the world.

Board, January 2011 SAT® Essay


Because their plans are often quite ambitious,
these people can have difficulty accomplishing
smaller, concrete goals. In contrast, practical
people concentrate on workable ideas and
goals. Their approach is likely to lend itself to
tangible solutions, even if these people fail to
envision grand ideas.

Which approach is more valuable in life: an idealistic one or a practical one?


Think carefully about this question.

Write an essay stating your opinion on whether it’s better to dream big or to
be realistic.

Be sure to —

state your position clearly


use appropriate organization
provide specific support for your argument
choose your words carefully
edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling
STAAR English II Persuasive

Score Point 1
The essay represents a very limited writing performance.

Organization/Progression

The organizing structure of the essay is inappropriate to the purpose or the


specific demands of the prompt. The writer uses organizational strategies
that are only marginally suited to the persuasive task, or they are
inappropriate or not evident at all. The absence of a functional organizational
structure causes the essay to lack clarity and direction.

Most ideas are generally related to the issue specified in the prompt, but the
writer’s position is missing, unclear, or illogical. The writer may fail to
maintain focus on the issue, may include extraneous information, or may
shift abruptly from idea to idea, weakening the coherence of the essay.

The writer’s progression of ideas is weak. Repetition or wordiness sometimes


causes serious disruptions in the flow of the essay. At other times the lack of
transitions and sentence-to-sentence connections causes the writer to
present ideas in a random or illogical way, making one or more parts of the
essay unclear or difficult to follow.

Development of Ideas

The development of ideas is weak. The argument is ineffective and


unconvincing because the reasons and evidence the writer uses to support
the position are inappropriate, vague, or insufficient.

The essay is insubstantial because the writer’s response to the prompt is


vague or confused. In some cases, the essay as a whole is only weakly linked
to the prompt. In other cases, the writer develops the essay in a manner that
demonstrates a lack of understanding of the persuasive writing task.

Use of Language/Conventions

The writer’s word choice may be vague or limited. It reflects little or no


awareness of the persuasive purpose and does not establish a tone
appropriate to the task. Word choice may impede the quality and clarity of
the essay.

Sentences are simplistic, awkward, or uncontrolled, significantly limiting the


effectiveness of the essay.

The writer has little or no command of sentence boundaries and spelling,


capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage conventions. Serious and
persistent errors create disruptions in the fluency of the writing and
sometimes interfere with meaning.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 1

Score Point 1
In the opening of this ineffective essay, the writer takes the position that it is better to dream big
because a dream can become a person’s motivation. Support for this position statement is weak
because limited word choice and uncontrolled sentences make the argument unclear and difficult
to follow (Realistic isn’t always as good and calm to how dreaming can turn out to be. Dreaming
is just another way to be let free and dream what you want to). Overall, the writer’s lack of fluency
at the word and sentence levels causes her response to the prompt to be vague and confused. These
problems represent a very limited writing performance.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 2

Score Point 1
The writer takes the qualified position that “its better to have both because if you have a dream it
should be realistic, somthing you can actually make true.” Although this is an acceptable position
statement, the entire essay is written as one long run-on sentence. The writer demonstrates no
command of sentence boundaries, which is a serious and persistent error that disrupts the fluency
of the writing and makes the argument ineffective.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 3

Score Point 1
The writer begins the essay by taking the position that big ideas are always best if they come from
a practical approach. In fact, he contends that “all big ideas” come from a practical approach,
but his explanation of what he means by this statement is unclear, in part because he confuses the
meanings of the words “practical” and “practice.” Limited and imprecise word choice impedes the
writer’s ability to clearly communicate his ideas, and the lack of connections from one sentence
to the next makes the argument difficult to follow. For the most part, the writer’s response to the
prompt is vague and confused, demonstrating that he does not understand the persuasive writing
task.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 4

Score Point 1
In this very limited writing performance, the writer offers the position that it is better to be realistic
because you will only end up disappointed by big dreams. She does not offer any support for this
position; instead, she merely repeats it throughout the essay (just be realistic and stick with reality
so you don’t get excited with just “dreaming big”; you will already know the reality and don’t get
slapped on the face with a lie). This repetition not only weakens the development but also stalls the
progression of ideas. For these reasons, the argument is ineffective and unconvincing.
STAAR English II Persuasive

Score Point 2
The essay represents a basic writing performance.

Organization/Progression

The organizing structure of the essay is evident but may not always be
appropriate to the purpose or the specific demands of the prompt. The essay
is not always clear because the writer uses organizational strategies that are
only somewhat suited to the persuasive task.

Most ideas are generally related to the issue specified in the prompt, but the
writer’s position is weak or somewhat unclear. The lack of a clear, effective
position or the writer’s inclusion of irrelevant information interferes with the
focus and coherence of the essay.

The writer’s progression of ideas is not always logical and controlled.


Sometimes repetition or wordiness causes minor disruptions in the flow of
the essay. At other times transitions and sentence-to-sentence connections
are too perfunctory or weak to support the flow of the essay or show the
relationships among ideas.

Development of Ideas

The development of ideas is minimal. The argument is superficial and largely


unconvincing because the reasons and evidence the writer uses to support
the position are not always appropriate or are too briefly or partially
presented.

The essay reflects little or no thoughtfulness. The writer’s response to the


prompt is sometimes formulaic. The writer develops the essay in a manner
that demonstrates only a limited understanding of the persuasive writing
task.

Use of Language/Conventions

The writer’s word choice may be general or imprecise. It reflects a basic


awareness of the persuasive purpose but does little to establish a tone
appropriate to the task. Word choice may not contribute to the quality and
clarity of the essay.

Sentences are awkward or only somewhat controlled, weakening the


effectiveness of the essay.

The writer demonstrates a partial command of sentence boundaries and


spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage conventions. Some
distracting errors may be evident, at times creating minor disruptions in the
fluency or meaning of the writing.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 5

Score Point 2
The writer takes the qualified position that people have the best chance of achieving big goals if
they take a realistic approach and achieve smaller goals along the way. To support this position,
he lists working hard, thinking, and using common sense as important characteristics of being
realistic and presents the example of a person who aspires to be like Beyoncé ([Sara] can’t wake
up and be famous. She has to work hard for it, like doing talent shows and other things). Though
this example is clear, it is superficial because it is so briefly developed. In addition, the writer’s
attempt to generalize the point of the example in paragraph three is unsuccessful because he merely
repeats what he has already said in the first two paragraphs, stalling the progression of ideas and
weakening the flow of the essay. Overall, this essay represents a basic writing performance.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 6

Score Point 2
In this basic writing performance, the writer takes the position that being realistic will give you “a
better chance of accomplishing what you want,” while dreaming big will just “waste your time.” She
uses a series of examples (getting a better job, a new car, and a raise) to illustrate the advantages
of being realistic and working hard to get what you want. However, the development of each
example is brief, and transitions (For example, Another example) are too perfunctory to connect
the examples or build any depth. In addition, the writer never addresses the second part of the
position statement (how dreaming big will waste your time), weakening the coherence of the essay.
Overall, these problems cause the argument to be largely unconvincing and demonstrate that the
writer has only a limited understanding of the persuasive writing task.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 7

Score Point 2
In the position statement, the writer asserts that dreaming big makes you look forward to things
and brings you success. To support this position, the writer presents a series of general statements
(It makes your life more exciting; Being positive . . . could make you succeed in so many different
ways; Dreaming could take you so far in life). The lack of any specificity causes the argument
to be superficial and largely unconvincing. The word choice is general throughout and does not
contribute to the quality or clarity of the essay. Although the writer demonstrates an adequate
control of sentences and command of conventions, his general approach to the topic reflects little
thoughtfulness.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 8

Score Point 2
In this basic writing performance, the writer offers the position statement that it is better to be
realistic than to pursue “an outrageous dream.” The writer briefly explains how high school
students are encouraged to prepare for “the ‘real’ world” and why it’s smart to set short-term goals
before setting long-term goals. However, in the second half of the essay, the progression of ideas
is not always controlled. The writer claims that getting caught up in dreams could “sidetrack”
students “from reality,” but she neglects to explain how that occurs. In addition, the writer does not
move logically from sentence to sentence because each sentence introduces a different idea about
dreams or reality. The lack of transitions and logical connections between sentences disrupt the
flow of ideas and make the writing jumpy.
STAAR English II Persuasive

Score Point 3
The essay represents a satisfactory writing performance.

Organization/Progression

The organizing structure of the essay is, for the most part, appropriate to the
purpose and responsive to the specific demands of the prompt. The essay is
clear because the writer uses organizational strategies that are adequately
suited to the persuasive task.

The writer establishes a clear position. Most ideas are related to the position
and are focused on the issue specified in the prompt. The essay is coherent,
though it may not always be unified due to minor lapses in focus.

The writer’s progression of ideas is generally logical and controlled. For the
most part, transitions are meaningful, and sentence-to-sentence connections
are sufficient to support the flow of the essay and show the relationships
among ideas.

Development of Ideas

The development of ideas is sufficient. The argument is largely convincing


because the reasons and evidence the writer uses to support the position are
specific and appropriate.

The essay reflects some thoughtfulness. The writer’s response to the prompt
is original rather than formulaic. The writer develops the essay in a manner
that demonstrates a good understanding of the persuasive writing task.

Use of Language/Conventions

The writer’s word choice is, for the most part, clear and specific. It reflects an
awareness of the persuasive purpose and establishes a tone appropriate to
the task. Word choice usually contributes to the quality and clarity of the
essay.

Sentences are reasonably varied and adequately controlled, contributing for


the most part to the effectiveness of the essay.

The writer demonstrates an adequate command of sentence boundaries and


spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage conventions.
Although some errors may be evident, they create few (if any) disruptions in
the fluency of the writing, and they do not affect the clarity of the essay.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 9

Score Point 3
In this satisfactory writing performance, the writer establishes the clear position that taking a
practical approach to life and pursuing small goals helps us accomplish big ideas. The writer uses
a cause-and-effect organizational strategy throughout the essay to show why working from small
goals to big goals is valuable. The development is sufficient to make the argument largely convincing,
and both the introduction and the conclusion add some substance. In addition, strong sentence-to-
sentence connections and meaningful transitions—both within and between paragraphs—support
the flow of the essay. In addition, the writer’s control of sentences and command of conventions
contribute to the overall quality of the essay.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 10

Score Point 3
The writer takes the clear position that big dreams “lead to great accomplishments” because
dreaming big gives people the drive to work hard and pursue their idealistic goals. The argument
is focused on the specific example of 13-year-old Fallon Taylor and her dream to qualify for the
National Finals Rodeo. The argument is largely convincing because this example is specific and
sufficiently developed, providing good support for the position statement. Although the writer
briefly acknowledges the other side of the argument (some people choose simpler lives with goals
that are easier to reach), she refutes this idea in the conclusion. The word choice is specific and
clear, helping to establish an appropriate tone. In addition, the writer’s response to the prompt is
thoughtful and original; she demonstrates a good understanding of the persuasive writing task.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 11

Score Point 3
In this concise, satisfactory essay, the writer establishes the clear position that it is better to dream big because
when you choose to be realistic, you are placing limits on yourself. The writer uses a compare/contrast
organizational strategy to develop the essay. The argument centers on the philosophical idea that choosing
to be realistic is just “a mask” that people wear to hide their “fear of failure.” He contrasts this idea with
the satisfaction and happiness people gain just from attempting to achieve their dreams. Although the essay
is relatively short, the development is sufficient because each sentence builds upon the previous sentence. In
addition, the writer’s approach to the topic is thoughtful and original, and his use of language, particularly his
effective use of rhetorical questions, helps to establish an appropriate persuasive tone. The writer’s control of
sentences and command of conventions contribute to the effectiveness of the essay.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 12

Score Point 3
The writer establishes the clear position that “people who pursue practical goals are able to accomplish and
contribute more to society than those with bigger ideas.” In paragraph two, the writer supports her position
with the example of rescue workers providing immediate help to some Hurricane Katrina victims rather than
“waiting for a master plan to rescue all the victims at once.” This example is sufficiently developed with specific
information. The writer extends this idea in paragraph three by contrasting practical people, who “begin a
project immediately after it’s been assigned,” with idealistic people, who are more likely to procrastinate until
they have an “idealistic plan.” Though the writer does not develop this paragraph with as much specificity as
the previous one, the development overall reflects some thoughtfulness. Although the transition between the
two body paragraphs could be stronger, the connection between the paragraphs is sufficient to support the flow
of the essay. Overall, this essay reflects a satisfactory writing performance.
STAAR English II Persuasive

Score Point 4
The essay represents an accomplished writing performance.

Organization/Progression

The organizing structure of the essay is clearly appropriate to the purpose


and responsive to the specific demands of the prompt. The essay is skillfully
crafted because the writer uses organizational strategies that are particularly
well suited to the persuasive task.

The writer establishes a clear position. All ideas are strongly related to the
position and are focused on the issue specified in the prompt. By sustaining
this focus, the writer is able to create an essay that is unified and coherent.

The writer’s progression of ideas is logical and well controlled. Meaningful


transitions and strong sentence-to-sentence connections enhance the flow of
the essay by clearly showing the relationships among ideas, making the
writer’s train of thought easy to follow.

Development of Ideas

The development of ideas is highly effective. The argument is forceful and


convincing because the reasons and evidence the writer uses to support the
position are specific and well chosen.

The essay is thoughtful and engaging. The writer may choose to recognize
the complexities of the issue, consider opposing or alternate points of view,
use his/her unique experiences or view of the world as a basis for writing, or
connect ideas in interesting ways. The writer develops the essay in a manner
that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the persuasive writing task.

Use of Language/Conventions

The writer’s word choice is purposeful and precise. It reflects a keen


awareness of the persuasive purpose and maintains a tone appropriate to the
task. Word choice strongly contributes to the quality and clarity of the essay.

Sentences are purposeful, varied, and well controlled, enhancing the


effectiveness of the essay.

The writer demonstrates a consistent command of sentence boundaries and


spelling, capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and usage conventions.
Although minor errors may be evident, they do not detract from the fluency
of the writing or the clarity of the essay. The overall strength of the
conventions contributes to the effectiveness of the essay.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 13

Score Point 4
The writer develops this skillfully crafted essay using a historical context. At the outset of the response, the
writer establishes that the one aspect of life that unites people is their mutual mortality (life is short). He uses
this philosophical idea as the impetus for his position statement: “With that in mind, it’s no wonder that so
many of our ancestors chose to dream big in their lifetimes in order to improve the world.” The support for
this position is narrowly focused: the writer appeals to our patriotism and urges us to see ourselves as part of a
historical continuum with an appreciation for the past and a devotion to the future. The essay is thoughtful and
engaging. Although it is written as one paragraph, the movement from sentence to sentence is well controlled,
and the writer’s train of thought is easy to follow. Using purposeful and precise language, the writer is able to
communicate complex ideas concisely. Every sentence contributes to this accomplished essay.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 14

Score Point 4
In this accomplished writing performance, the writer uses an anecdote to support the position that in order
to live happily, you must be willing to follow your idealistic dream. The writer specifically describes her
father’s situation: he settled for his practical, achievable dream instead of pursuing his dream of becoming a
sportswriter. She uses this anecdote as a cautionary tale, making the point that her father is not just regretful
about the past but saddened that he will never achieve his big dream. In the last paragraph, she focuses on the
lessons that can be learned from her father’s example. She acknowledges the complexity of the issue by noting
that following a dream takes hard work and that failures along the way are inevitable. The transitional sentence
at the beginning of paragraph three enhances the coherence of the argument by providing a strong connection
between paragraphs two and three. Overall, the writer’s argument is forceful, demonstrating that she has a
thorough understanding of the persuasive task.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 15

Score Point 4
This accomplished essay opens with a thoughtful introduction in which the writer clearly establishes the position
that “it’s better to dream big as the world’s most life changing ideas/inventions were created by those who
chose to be idealistic.” He supports this position with two specific historical examples—Thomas Edison and
the Wright Brothers—inventors who gave the world important new technology because they dared to dream.
The writer uses an effective transitional sentence (“Like the light bulb, airplane transportation has changed
the history of mankind) to thread these two examples together and unify the argument. The conclusion adds
substance to the essay, and strong sentence-to-sentence connections enhance the flow of ideas. The writer’s word
choice reflects a keen awareness of the persuasive purpose, and the strength of the conventions contributes to
the overall effectiveness of the essay.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Persuasive — 16

Score Point 4
In this accomplished writing performance, the writer presents a highly effective argument in
support of the position that realistic people accomplish more through steady progress than the
“eager dreamers” whose good intentions are usually just “empty promises.” She uses a cause-
effect organizational structure to prove that being realistic is the better choice. The development is
effective because the reasons are specific and thoughtful. The movement from sentence to sentence
is fluid and well controlled, making the writer’s train of thought easy to follow. In addition, the
purposeful use of language helps to create a strong persuasive tone that enhances the forcefulness of
the argument. Varied, well-controlled sentences and a strong command of conventions contribute
to the overall effectiveness of the essay.
English II

Short Answer
Single Selection
Scoring Guide

March 2015

Copyright © 2015, Texas Education Agency. All rights reserved. Reproduction of all
or portions of this work is prohibited without express written permission from Texas
Education Agency.
Read the selection and choose the best answer to each question. Then fill
in the answer on your answer document.

The Fox
by Faith Shearin

It was an ordinary morning: November, thin light,


and we paused over our pancakes to watch
something red move outside. Our house is on

an untamed patch of land and, across the lagoon,


5 another house surrounded by trees. On the banks
of their shore, facing us: a fox. We thought

he might be a dog at first for he trotted and sniffed


like a dog but when he turned to us
we knew he was nobody’s pet. His face was arranged

10 like a child’s face—playful, dainty—and his eyes


were liquid and wild. He stood for awhile, looking out,
as if he could see us in our pajamas, then found

a patch of sand beneath a tree and turned himself


into a circle of fur: his head tucked into his tail.
15 It was awful to watch him sleep: exposed,

tiny, his eyes closed. How can any animal


be safe enough to rest? But while I washed
our dishes he woke again, yawned, and ran
away to the places only foxes know. My God
20 I was tired of being a person. Even now his tail
gestures to me across the disapproving lagoon.

“The Fox” by Faith Shearin, from MOVING THE PIANO, Stephen F. Austin Press, 2011. Used by permission.
English II Short Answer
Single Selection

In “The Fox,” how would you describe the speaker’s attitude toward the fox?
Support your answer with evidence from the selection.
STAAR English II
Single Selection

Score Point 0 — Insufficient Response to the Question


Insufficient responses indicate a very limited reading performance.

These responses have one of the following problems.

The idea is not an answer to the question asked.

The idea is incorrect because it is not based on the text.

The idea is too general, vague, or unclear to determine whether it is


reasonable.

No idea is present. Sometimes the response contains only text evidence. At


other times there appears to be an idea; however, this idea cannot be
considered an answer to the question because it merely repeats verbatim, or
“echoes,” the text evidence.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 1

Score Point 0
The student does not present a reasonable idea. First, the student offers the vague idea that
the speaker has a kind, open-minded attitude toward the fox. The student then provides
additional ideas, one of which is not based on the poem (“she could have been rude at times”)
and others that are too unclear to determine whether they are even linked to the poem (e.g.,
“other times just whatever”). The absence of a reasonable idea causes the response to be
insufficient.
Single — 2

Score Point 0
This response is insufficient because it does not answer the question asked. The student
describes the fox’s freedom and its behavior rather than the speaker’s attitude toward the fox.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 3

Score Point 0
This response is insufficient because the student presents an idea that is incorrect. The idea that
“the speaker’s attitude toward the fox is hatred, disapproval because he/she cannot do what
they want” cannot be supported with evidence from the poem. Because the idea is incorrect,
the direct quotation the student provides is irrelevant.

Single — 4

Score Point 0
This response is insufficient because it lacks an idea. The student restates the question with
the statement “The author’s attitude toward the fox is...” and then provides textual evidence in
the form of a direct quotation, but the student does not offer any description of the speaker’s
attitude toward the fox. For this reason, the student’s reading performance is very limited.
STAAR English II
Single Selection

Score Point 1 — Partially Sufficient Response to the


Question

Partially sufficient responses indicate a basic reading performance.

These responses have one of the following characteristics.

The idea is reasonable, but the response contains no text evidence.

The idea is reasonable, but the text evidence is flawed and does not
adequately support the idea. Text evidence is considered inadequate when it
is

only a general reference to the text,


too partial to support the idea,
weakly linked to the idea, or
used inappropriately because it wrongly manipulates the meaning of the
text.

The idea needs more explanation or specificity even though it is supported


with text evidence.

The idea represents only a literal reading of the text, with or without text
evidence.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 5

Score Point 1
In this partially sufficient response, the student presents the reasonable idea that the speaker
is jealous of the fox. The student attempts to provide relevant textual evidence by referring to
the last stanza (“the speaker is wanting to connect with nature like a fox”), but this evidence is
flawed because it functions only as a general text reference and does not sufficiently support
the idea presented. Therefore, this response indicates a basic reading performance.

Single — 6

Score Point 1
The student offers two reasonable ideas: the speaker admires the fox and cares for it. However,
the student does not provide textual evidence from the poem to support these ideas. For this
reason, the response represents a basic reading performance.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 7

Score Point 1
In this partially sufficient response, the student offers the reasonable idea that the speaker is envious of the fox.
The student strengthens this idea by contrasting the fox’s childlike freedom with the limits and responsibilities
the speaker feels in her own life. Although the student attempts to support the idea with direct quotations
from the poem, this textual evidence is too partial to support the explanation. The student’s use of ellipses
omits the relevant portion of the quotation (the comparison of the fox’s face to a child’s face), which is needed
to support the idea that the speaker is envious.
Single — 8

Score Point 1
This response is partially sufficient because the student’s idea represents a literal reading of the poem. While
it is true that the speaker of the poem demonstrates some curiosity about the fox’s actions, the student does
not connect this temporary curiosity to the speaker’s feelings, or attitude, toward the fox. In addition, this
response indicates only a partial understanding of the poem since the student interprets the question “How
can any animal be safe enough to rest?” as a simple question of curiosity rather than the speaker’s search for
a deeper understanding. Therefore, this response indicates a basic reading performance.
STAAR English II
Single Selection

Score Point 2 — Sufficient Response to the Question

Sufficient responses indicate a satisfactory reading performanc


e.

These responses have the following characteristics.

The idea is reasonable and goes beyond a literal reading of the text. It is
explained specifically enough to show that the student can make appropriate
connections across the text and draw valid conclusions.

The text evidence used to support the idea is accurate and relevant.

The idea and text evidence used to support it are clearly linked.

The combination of the idea and the text evidence demonstrates a good
understanding of the text.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 9

Score Point 2
The student offers the reasonable idea that the speaker’s positive attitude toward the fox is
evident through her use of language. To support this idea, the student points out the diction
the speaker uses to describe the fox (“playful” and “dainty”) as well as the simile the speaker
uses to characterize the fox as innocent (“like a child’s face”). The idea and textual evidence
are clearly linked and show that the student has a good understanding of the poem.
Single — 10

Score Point 2
The student presents the reasonable idea that the speaker is amazed by the fox’s vulnerability.
The student supports this idea with clearly linked direct quotations that illustrate the speaker’s
awareness of how vulnerable the fox is and how worried she is as she watches it sleep. The
combination of the idea and textual evidence indicates that the student’s reading performance
is satisfactory.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 11

Score Point 2
The student offers the reasonable idea that the speaker yearns to be free like the fox. The
student uses a paraphrase of lines 16–17 (“while I washed/our dishes”) to establish that this
yearning takes place in the context of completing a daily chore. The direct quotation the
student provides as support underscores the speaker’s strong desire to escape her everyday
responsibilities. Overall, the student’s response to the question is sufficient.
Single — 12

Score Point 2
The student presents several reasonable ideas that demonstrate the ability to draw valid
conclusions: the speaker admires the fox, shows concern for it, and envies it. The student
paraphrases parts of lines 11–20 to support these ideas. The ideas and textual evidence are
clearly linked, indicating a satisfactory reading performance.
STAAR English II
Single Selection

Score Point 3 — Exemplary Response to the Question

Exemplary responses indicate an accomplished reading performance.

These responses have the following characteristics.

The idea is perceptive and reflects an awareness of the complexities of the


text. The student is able to develop a coherent explanation of the idea by
making discerning connections across the text.

The text evidence used to support the idea is specific and well chosen.
Overall, the evidence strongly supports the validity of the idea.

The combination of the idea and the text evidence demonstrates a deep
understanding of the text.

Texas Education Agency


Student Assessment Division
March 2015
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 13

Score Point 3
In this exemplary response, the student presents the reasonable idea that the speaker is jealous of the fox’s
freedom. The student further explains this idea by contrasting the speaker’s burdens and responsibilities
with the fox’s freedom to do what it wants. This explanation shows that the student can make discerning
connections. In addition, the direct quotations the student uses are well chosen and strongly support the idea
and explanation. Overall, this response demonstrates that the student has a deep understanding of the poem.
Single — 14

Score Point 3
The student develops a coherent analysis of why the speaker is envious of the fox’s freedom. The student
analyzes the speaker’s jealousy by focusing on her use of descriptive language to contrast the sense of safety
and trust the sleeping fox exudes with her own feelings of vulnerability. The speaker can watch but not
experience the freedom the fox has because, unlike the fox, she is not free to let her guard down. The student
uses a specific, well-chosen direct quotation to support the validity of the idea. The combination of perceptive
analysis and strong textual evidence indicates an accomplished reading performance.
STAAR English II
March 2015 Single — 15

Score Point 3
The student offers a coherent explanation of how the speaker’s tone reveals the depth of her admiration for
the fox and her desire to protect her own freedom, as symbolized by the fox. The student makes discerning
connections across the poem to explain how the speaker’s feelings of protectiveness toward the fox actually
represent her own longing for the “natural freedom he symbolizes.” The student supports the idea with well-
chosen direct quotations from the text, demonstrating an accomplished reading performance.

Single — 16

Score Point 3
The student presents the perceptive idea that observing the fox’s freedom causes the speaker to feel wistful and
dissatisfied with her life. The student contrasts the fox’s carefree lifestyle with the speaker’s “stressful, human
life,” noting that the speaker’s wish to escape a tedious life is so strong that even the lagoon “judged her for
staying put.” The direct quotation that student uses is particularly apt, as it strongly supports the speaker’s
overpowering and lingering desire to be free like the fox. The combination of idea, explanation, and textual
evidence demonstrates a deep understanding of the poem.