Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) Sample Questions: Grade 7 English Language Arts (ELA)

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment system, commonly abbreviated as MCAS is Massachusetts’s statewide standards-based assessment program. The students will face a variety of new technology-enhanced questions as a part of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.

Some of them are Multiple choice-single correct responses, Multiple choice-multiple correct responses, Matching Tables, Drag and Drop, Hot text, Table Fill in, Graphing, Equation/numeric, Extended constructed response, Short answer, and many more.

Today, we will share several sample questions along with practice test links for Grade 7 English Language Arts (ELA) that gives you an idea of questions that your students are likely to see on the test. After each sample question, an explanation follows that includes any important aspects of the task that you may need to consider with respect to the skills, processes, and information your students need to know.

MCAS Sample Questions: Grade 7 English Language Arts(ELA) Sample Questions & Answers

Domain: Grade 7 >> Reading Standards for Literature
Sample Question:

Egyptian Pyramids

Today, we have high-tech cranes and other machines to help us create massive skyscrapers and other modern works of architecture. Still, some of the most breathtaking architecture in the world, such as the ancient pyramids of Egypt, were created before those high-tech machines even existed. So how did those ancient civilizations create them?

Believe it or not, though they are one of the most studied and admired relics in history, there is no evidence to tell historians exactly how the Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids. Thus, they have been left to create their own theories as to how Egyptians created such amazing and awe-inspiring works of art.

According to one theory, the Egyptians placed logs under the large stone blocks in order to roll or transport them to the pyramid building location. Large groups of men would work to push or pull them into place (although historians also disagree on whether these men were slaves or skilled artisans). Still more, once the men moved the blocks to the pyramid location, they needed to lift them to ever-increasing heights to reach the top levels of the pyramid as it grew. Without modern cranes, many scientists have been baffled as to how they were able to do it. Some believe they used a ramp system that would allow them to roll the blocks upward around or through the pyramids; others believe they must have used a combination of pulleys and lifts. Still, most agree that once they did, they used a mixture of gravel and limestone to help fill any crevices and hold the mound together.

With such a primitive yet impressive building process, it’s obvious that the pyramids must have taken a great deal of time to build. With an estimated 2 million blocks weighing an average of 2.5 million tons each, the Great Pyramid of Giza, for instance, is estimated to have taken some 20 years to build. At 481-feet tall, it held the record of tallest building for 3,800 years – not bad for a building created almost entirely by hand.

Even though scientists don’t know exactly how the Egyptians did it, they do know that the method the Egyptians used to build pyramids changed over time. In the early days, the pyramids were made completely of stone, with limestone used to create the main body and higher quality limestone being used for the smooth outer casing. Later on, the pyramids were made mostly of mud brick with a limestone casing. Though they were likely much easier to build, they didn’t stand up nearly as well over time, leaving archaeologists with even fewer clues about their creation.

What do we know about how the Egyptian pyramids were built?
A.not much– they have only theories
B.everything – the Egyptians left detailed notes on their process
C. the exact way the men moved the large stones to the pyramid area
D. the exact way they lifted the stones to higher levels of the building
Answer: A
Answer Explanation:
The first choice, not much-they only have theories, is the correct answer. The article’s purpose is to explain the various beliefs (theories) of how the pyramids were built.

The second answer choice says that the article explained everything. It did not do this.

The article The last two answer choices us the word “exact.” When looking at answer choices this is often a clue that the answer choice is to narrow of an an answer. Nothing in the article said anything about “exact.”
Practice Resources: Reading: Informational Text (RI.7.1)
Click here to practice: Reading Standards for Literature – Prove it! (With evidence from the text) Grade 7 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 7 >> Reading Standards for Informational Text
Sample Question:

Which sentence below contains a conjunction indicating a possible relationship?
A. Due to the large number of offers, Mike had to increase his giveaway time limit.
B. Kelsey is coming to dinner and a movie with me tonight.
C. The oven did not cook right because the brownies were not completely done.
D. The promise of a better life brought many immigrants to America.
Answer: A
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice number one is the best answer choice. If the reader substitutes “because” for “due,” it is easier to see a relationship. Because indicates a connection of two or more items.
Practice Resources: Reading: Informational Text (RI.7.3)
Click here to practice: Reading Standards for Informational Text – Relationship between people and events Grade 7 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 7 >> Writing Standards
Sample Question:

I ran up to it to attempt a capture. It scooted into the sugarcane field. Following it with my companions, I was at last able to grab it by the scruff of its neck while it snapped and tried to scratch me with its long, hooked claws.

We put it in one of the large jute-bags we had brought and when I got back home I duly presented it to my wife. She was delighted! She at once put a blue colored ribbon around its neck, and after discovering the cub was a ‘boy’ she christened it Bruno.

Bruno soon took to drinking milk from a bottle. It was but a step further and within a very few days he started eating and drinking everything else. And everything is the right word, for he ate porridge made from any ingredients, vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat (especially pork), curry and rice regardless of condiments and chilies, bread, eggs, chocolates, sweets, pudding, ice-cream, etc., etc., etc. As for drink: milk, tea, coffee, limejuice, aerated water, buttermilk, beer, alcoholic liquor and, in fact, anything liquid. It all went down with relish.

The bear became very attached to our two dogs and to all the children living in and around our farm. He was left quite free in his younger days and spent his time in playing, running into the kitchen and going to sleep in our beds.

One day an accident befell him. I put down poison (barium carbonate) to kill the rats and mice that had got into my library. Bruno entered the library as he often did, and ate some of the poison. Paralysis set in to the extent that he could not stand on his feet. But he dragged himself on his stumps to my wife, who called me. I guessed what had happened. Off I rushed him in the car to the vet’s residence. A case of poisoning! Tame Bear—barium carbonate—what to do?

Out came his medical books, and a feverish reference to index began: “What poison did you say, sir?” he asked “Barium carbonate” I said. “Ah yes—B—Ba—Barium Salts—Ah! Barium carbonate! Symptoms— paralysis—treatment—injections of . .. Just a minute, sir. I’ll bring my syringe and the medicine.” Said the doc. I dashed back to the car. Bruno was still floundering about on his stumps, but clearly he was weakening rapidly; there was some vomiting, he was breathing heavily, with heaving flanks and gaping mouth. I was really scared and did not know what to do. I was feeling very guilty and was running in and out of the vet’s house doing everything the doc asked me.

Hold him, everybody! In goes the hypodermic—Bruno squeals — 10 c.c. of the antidote enters his system without a drop being wasted. Ten minutes later: condition unchanged! Another 10 c.c. Injected! Ten minutes later: breathing less torturous— Bruno can move his arms and legs a little although he cannot stand yet. Thirty minutes later: Bruno gets up and has a great feed! He looks at us disdainfully, as much as to say, ‘What’s barium carbonate to a big black bear like me?’ Bruno was still eating. I was really happy to see him recover.

The months rolled on and Bruno had grown many times the size he was when he came. He had equaled the big dogs in height and had even outgrown them. But was just as sweet, just as mischievous, just as playful. And he was very fond of us all. Above all, he loved my wife, and she loved him too! And he could do a few tricks, too. At the command, ‘Bruno, wrestle’, or ‘Bruno, box,’ he vigorously tackled anyone who came forward for a rough and tumble. Give him a stick and say ‘Bruno, hold gun’, and he pointed the stick at you. Ask him, ‘Bruno, where’s baby?’ and he immediately produced and cradled affectionately a stump of wood which he had carefully concealed in his straw bed. But because of the neighborhoods’ and our renters’ children, poor Bruno, had to be kept chained most of the time.
Then my son and I advised my wife, and friends advised her too, to give Bruno to the zoo. He was getting too big to keep at home. After some weeks of such advice she at last consented. Hastily, and before she could change her mind, a letter was written to the curator of the zoo. Did he want a tame bear for his collection? He replied, “Yes”. The zoo sent a cage in a truck, a distance of hundred – eighty – seven miles, and Bruno was packed off.

We all missed him greatly; but in a sense we were relieved. My wife was inconsolable. She wept and fretted. For the first few days she would not eat a thing. Then she wrote a number of letters to the curator. How was Bruno? Back came the replies,“Well, but fretting; he refuses food too.”

After that, friends visiting the zoo were begged to make a point of seeing how Bruno was getting along. They reported that he was well but looked very thin and sad. All the keepers at the zoo said he was fretting. For three months I managed to restrain my wife from visiting the zoo.

Then she said one day, “I must see Bruno. Either you take me by car; or I will go myself by bus or train myself.” So I took her by car.

Friends had conjectured that the bear would not recognize her. I had thought so too. But while she was yet some yards from his cage Bruno saw her and recognized her. He howled with happiness. She ran up to him, petted him through the bars, and he stood on his head in delight.

For the next three hours she would not leave that cage. She gave him tea, lemonade, cakes, ice cream and what not. Then ‘closing time’ came and we had to leave. My wife cried bitterly; Bruno cried bitterly; even the hardened curator and the keepers felt depressed. As for me, I had reconciled myself to what I knew was going to happen next.

“Oh please, sir,” she asked the curator, “may I have my Bruno back”? Hesitantly, he answered, “Madam, he belongs to the zoo and is Government property now. I cannot give away Government property. But if my boss, the superintendent agrees, certainly you may have him back.”

There followed the return journey home and a visit to the superintendent’s office. A tearful pleading: “Bruno and I are both fretting for each other. Will you please give him back to me?” He was a kind-hearted man and consented. Not only that, but he wrote to the curator telling him to lend us a cage for transporting the bear back home. Back we went to the zoo again, armed with the superintendent’s letter. Bruno was driven into a small cage and hoisted on top of the car; the cage was tied securely, and a slow and careful return journey back home was accomplished.

Once home, a squad of workers were engaged for special work around our yard. An island was made for Bruno. It was twenty feet long and fifteen feet wide, and was surrounded by a dry moat, six feet wide and seven feet deep. A wooden box that once housed fowls was brought and put on the island for Bruno to sleep in at night. Straw was placed inside to keep him warm, and his ‘baby’, the gnarled stump, along with his ‘gun’, the piece of bamboo, both of which had been sentimentally preserved since he had been sent away to the zoo, were put back for him to play with. In a few days the workers hoisted the cage on to the island and Bruno was released. He was delighted; standing on his hind legs, he pointed his ‘gun’ and cradled his ‘baby’. My wife spent hours sitting on a chair there while he sat on her lap. He was fifteen months old and pretty heavy too!

The way my wife reaches the island and leaves it is interesting. I have tied a rope to the overhanging branch of a maple tree with a loop at its end. Putting one foot in the loop, she kicks off with the other, to bridge the six-foot gap that constitutes the width of the surrounding moat. The return journey back is made the same way.
But who can say now that a sloth bear has no sense of affection, no memory and no individual characteristics?

Imagine you need to write an essay on the following topic:

What specific details in the above story tell us that the author was a wealthy man?

Which of the following details should NOT be a part of your essay?
Use specific details from the story.
A. The author has a pet bear.
B. The author has a great deal of food in his home.
C. The author has a library room in his home.
D. The author could afford to raise a large bear for many years
Answer: A
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice one is the best answer. The man did NOT give his wife the bear. It became their pet after some time.
Practice Resources: Writing (W.7.3.B)
Click here to practice: Writing Standards – Building your foundation Grade 7 English Language Arts(ELA)

Domain: Grade 7 >> Language Standards
Sample Question:

Which of the following sentences has correct subject-verb agreement?

A. Each of my sisters have their rooms.
B. Marco’s car needs a new transmission and a new clutch.
C. My cat don’t fit through the kitty door because its stomach is so fat.
D. Drinking water help you lose weight.
Answer: B
Answer Explanation:
Answer choice two is correrct. Subjects and verbs must match in number (number of items in the subject) and person (1st, 2nd or 3rd). In this sentence the subject, “car”, is singular and third person. The verb “needs” is also singular, third person.
Practice Resources: Language (L.7.1)
Click here to practice: Language Standards – Good sentences are built on agreement Grade 7 English Language Arts(ELA)

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Jaci Smith