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Reading Sample QuestionsTest yourself and see how students responded to the same questions on NAEP.

This section presents sample reading passages and questions at all three ages. These questions provide some insight into the types of comprehension skills measured by the long-term trend reading assessment.

 Age 9
 Age 13
Age 17

Sample question 1 asked students to use their understanding of the narrator's words in the passage to recognize the nature of fear. See the full text of the reading passage below.

 84 percent of 17-year-olds answered this question correctly.

Which of the following best describes the man's fear?


He was worried that his dog was becoming ill.


He kept having fearful thoughts even though he knew there was no danger.


He suspected that there were dangerous animals outside.


He heard voices of people trying to break into the cabin.


The correct answer is B. 

See more about this question in the NAEP Questions Tool.

Sample Reading Passage

Travels with Charley in Search of America

Even the cabin was dismal and damp. I turned the gas mantle high, lit the kerosene lamp, and lighted two burners of my stove to drive the loneliness away. The rain drummed on the metal roof. Nothing in my stock of food looked edible. The darkness fell and the trees moved closer. Over the rain drums I seemed to hear voices, as though a crowd of people muttered and mumbled offstage. Charley was restless. He didn’t bark an alarm, but he growled and whined uneasily, which is very unlike him, and he didn’t eat his supper and he left his water dish untouched—and that by a dog who drinks his weight in water every day and needs to because of the outgo. I succumbed utterly to my desolation, made two peanut-butter sandwiches, and went to bed and wrote letters home, passing my loneliness around. Then the rain stopped falling and the trees dripped and I helped spawn a school of secret dangers. Oh, we can populate the dark with horrors, even we who think ourselves informed and sure, believing nothing we cannot measure or weigh. I knew beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid. I thought how terrible the nights must have been in a time when men knew the things were there and were deadly. But no, that’s wrong. If I knew they were there, I would have weapons against them, charms, prayers, some kind of alliance with forces equally strong but on my side. Knowing they were not there made me defenseless against them and perhaps more afraid.

2008 Long-Term Trend Report Card 2008 Long-Term Trend Report Card