Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sample Common Core PARCC Test Questions

Since Arizona is in the same testing consortia, PARCC, as Louisiana, we thought you might enjoy the following sample questions for English III students produced by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Remember, it's just a set of "standards."

The items that follow are based on an excerpt from the book In Defense of Women, which is located at the end of this set of questions. 

1. What are two central ideas presented in the excerpt? 
A. Men have prevented women from succeeding, but with new-found economic security, women will have the upper hand in the workplace. 
B. Women have more economic freedom, which means they will have more choices, especially when it comes to marriage. 
C. Women have a little more freedom, but the progress has been slow and the gains very small. 
D. Most women prefer to work than to marry, and as a result, family life is diminishing. 

Correct Answer: B

2. What is the purpose of mentioning “grandmothers” and “woman of a century ago”? 
A. To show that women of all generations prefer marriage to working 
B. To illustrate how little progress women have made through the years 
C. To emphasize the change in what women can expect in their lives 
D. To acknowledge the efforts of the first women activists  

 Correct Answer: C

3. In paragraph 3, the author refers to certain “propagandists” of the women’s movement. Based on the author’s description, his attitude toward them is best described as 
A. amused. 
B. fearful. 
C. confused. 
D. scornful. 

Correct Answer: D

4. Which words or phrases from paragraph 3 provide the best clues to how the author feels about the “propagandists”? 
A. “averse to marriage” 
B. “man-eating suffragettes” 
C. “preachers” and “prophetess” 
D. “wake the world with no such noisy eloquence” 

Correct Answer: B

Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956) was an American journalist, essayist, and magazine editor. Mencken is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first 
half of the twentieth century. His book In Defense of Women was published in 1918 during the height of the suffragist movement, whose supporters sought to give women the right to vote. 

from In Defense of Women 

by H.L. Mencken 

1 The gradual emancipation of women that has been going on for the last century has still a long way to proceed before they are wholly delivered from their traditional burdens and so stand clear of the oppressions of men. But already, it must be plain, they have made enormous progress—perhaps more than they made in the ten thousand years preceding. The rise of the industrial system, which has borne so harshly upon the race in general, has brought them certain unmistakable benefits. Their economic dependence, though still sufficient to make marriage highly attractive to them, is nevertheless so far broken down that large classes of women are now almost free agents, and quite independent of the favor of men. Most of these women, responding to ideas that are still powerful, are yet intrigued, of course, by marriage, and prefer it to the autonomy that 
is coming in, but the fact remains that they now have a free choice in the matter, and that dire necessity no longer controls them. After all, they needn’t marry if they don’t want to; it is possible to get their bread by their own labor in the workshops of the world. Their grandmothers were in a far more difficult position. Failing marriage, they not only suffered a cruel ignominy,[1] but in many cases faced the menace of actual starvation. There was simply no respectable place in the economy of those times for the free woman. She either had to enter a nunnery or accept a disdainful patronage[2] that was as galling[3] as charity. 

2 Nothing could be plainer than the effect that the increasing economic security of women is having upon their whole habit of life and mind. The diminishing marriage rate and the even more 
rapidly diminishing birth rates show which way the wind is blowing. It is common for male statisticians, with characteristic imbecility,[4] to ascribe the fall in the marriage rate to a growing disinclination on the male side. This growing disinclination is actually on the female side. Even though no considerable body of women has yet reached the definite doctrine that marriage is less desirable than freedom, it must be plain that large numbers of them now approach the business 
with far greater fastidiousness[5] than their grandmothers or even their mothers exhibited. They are harder to please, and hence pleased less often. The woman of a century ago could imagine nothing 
more favorable to her than marriage; even marriage with a fifth-rate man was better than no marriage at all. This notion is gradually feeling the opposition of a contrary notion. Women in general may still prefer marriage to work, but there is an increasing minority which begins to realize that work may offer the greater contentment. 

3 There already appears in the world, indeed, a class of women, who, while still not genuinely averse to marriage, are yet free from any theory that it is necessary, or even invariably desirable. Among these women are a good many somewhat vociferous[6] propagandists, almost male in their violent earnestness; they range from the man-eating suffragettes to such preachers of free motherhood as Ellen Key[7] and such professional shockers of the bourgeoisie[8] as the American prophetess of birth-control, Margaret Sanger. But among them are many more who wake the world with no such noisy eloquence, but content themselves with carrying out their ideas in a quiet and respectable manner. The number of such women is much larger than is generally imagined, and that number tends to increase steadily. They are women who, with their economic independence 
assured, either by inheritance or by their own efforts, chiefly in the arts and professions, do exactly as they please, and make no pother[9] about it. Naturally enough, their superiority to convention 
and the common frenzy makes them extremely attractive to the better sort of men, and so it is not uncommon for one of them to find herself voluntarily sought in marriage, without any preliminary scheming by herself—surely an experience that very few ordinary women ever enjoy, save perhaps in dreams or delirium. The old order changeth and giveth place to the new. 

[1] humiliation 
[2] financial support controlled by a person or organization 
[3] irritating 
[4] silliness, absurdity, or stupidity 
[5] excessive care or delicacy 
[6] outspoken 
[7] Swedish feminist writer 
[8] middle class 
[9] fuss, disturbance