• Placement tests consist of a series of short passages and multiple choice comprehension questions

  • As students progress through a placement test, the passages become more challenging

  • Tests range from 25 to 35 questions with 10 to 14 short passages

  • Tests take roughly 30-50 minutes to complete

  • If more than one Placement Test is assigned over the course of a school year, students will not see the same Placement Test passages repeated

This is a Level 4 difficulty sample passage. It does not show up on any of our live Placement Tests.

Freed from slavery at the age of nine, educator and activist Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) worked tirelessly for the advancement of African Americans. In this passage, he describes a childhood experience.

From the time that I can remember having any thoughts about anything, I recall that I had an intense longing to learn to read. I determined*, when quite a small child, that if I accomplished nothing else in life, I would in some way get enough education to enable me to read common books and newspapers. Soon after we got settled in some manner in our new cabin in West Virginia, I induced* my mother to get hold of a book for me. How or where she got it I do not know, but in some way she procured an old copy of Webster's "blue-back" spelling book, which contained the alphabet, followed by such meaningless words as ab, ba, ca, da. I began at once to devour* this book, and I think that it was the first one I ever had in my hands. I had learned from somebody that the way to begin to read was to learn the alphabet, so I tried in all the ways I could think of to learn it—all of course without a teacher, for I could find no one to teach me. At that time there was not a single member of my race anywhere near us who could read, and I was too timid to approach any of the white people. In some way, within a few weeks, I mastered the greater portion of the alphabet.

* determined: decided

* induced: persuaded

* devour: read quickly and eagerly

1: The author characterizes learning to read as a(n)

a. all-consuming passion. (correct)

b. way to escape poverty.

c. incredibly difficult chore.

d. universal human right.

2: How does Washington's focus change from the beginning to the end of the paragraph?

a. He begins by showing how difficult reading is and ends by proving that he cannot teach himself.

b. He begins by discussing his childhood education and ends by looking toward his adult life.

c. He begins by praising his mother and ends by celebrating himself.

d. He begins by describing his strong desire to read and ends by showing how he learns how to do it. (correct)

3: The reader can infer that Washington mentions race in this story because

a. at the time it was illegal for African Americans to read in West Virginia.

b. he wants other African Americans to learn from his example.

c. it helps show how race affected his access to education. (correct)

d. it explains how he and his mother were different from their neighbors.

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