Sample Questions

Reading Sample Questions
Grade 4 Sample Reading Questions

The 2017 digitally based reading assessment comprised ten distinct sets of texts and questions at grade 4. Each student assessed typically read two texts and answered approximately 20 questions about them. Questions are presented in multiple-choice and constructed-response (open-ended) formats. Each question in the assessment is classified according to one of three cognitive targets: locate/recall, integrate/interpret, and critique/evaluate as specified in The NAEP reading framework. The cognitive targets refer to the kinds of thinking that come into play when reading and making meaning from written texts. A mix of cognitive targets across the questions about a text intends to elicit a range of reading behaviors and to engage students to think about the text in different ways.

A story and three sample questions from a set administered to fourth-graders in the 2017 reading assessment can be viewed below. You may also experience the full set as students did during the assessment. Details for each sample question include the correct answer, student performance data, sample student responses, and scoring guides. Also included for each question is a “student action” captured by the digital delivery of the assessment. The student action provides insight into how students interacted when reading this particular story and responding to each of these questions. That is, the student actions are specific to these questions and do not describe fourth-graders’ reading behavior in general. Following the questions, you can view a time-lapse feature showing how students moved between the story and the questions during the 30-minute assessment time.

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Five Boiled Eggs

Five Boiled Eggs

An Old Turkish Tale
retold by Laura S. Sassi

Introduction: Nasreddin Hodja, a character in this story, is familiar in many Turkish legends. "Hodja" means teacher.

Long ago, a poor country boy left home to seek his fortune. Day and night he traveled, stopping to eat at inns along the way. Though he ate sparingly, his money quickly dwindled until, one day, no silver akches* remained.

Still, the boy kept walking. Soon, however, his empty belly began to ache. Staggering up to the next inn he saw, he approached the innkeeper.

"Please feed me!" he said. "I don't have any money now, but I promise to pay you as soon as I can."

"I'll see what I can spare," the innkeeper grumbled. He took five boiled eggs out of a large bowl and put them on a plate with some stale bread. "Here," he said, plopping the platter in front of the boy.

The famished lad gratefully gobbled every morsel. Then, repeating his promise to pay back the innkeeper, he journeyed on.

Revived by his five-egg breakfast, the boy soon reached a bustling seaport. Intent on finding his fortune, he set sail on the first ship that was leaving the harbor.

Years passed, and the lad prospered. As a sea merchant, he sailed far, stopping in many exotic ports. However, he never forgot his humble beginnings or the money he owed the innkeeper.

When he finally returned home, he stopped by the old roadside inn.

*An akche is a unit of Turkish money.

"Kind sir," he respectfully inquired, "how much for the five boiled eggs that you served me so long ago?"

In truth, the innkeeper did not remember him, for this fine-looking fellow looked nothing like the scrawny lad who had begged for food some ten years before. Still, eager to make a profit, he readily added up the charges. "That'll be ten thousand akches," he declared.

"For five eggs?" The rich stranger gasped. He had thought that he would have to pay no more than ten or twenty akches.

"Ah, but you must consider their lost worth," the greedy innkeeper replied. "Had you not eaten those eggs, they would have hatched into hens. Those hens, in turn, would have laid eggs that would have hatched into hens. . . ." On and on he ranted until at last he reached his grand total.

When the stunned merchant refused to pay, the innkeeper declared that he would take him to court.

A trial was set for the following week. Alas, rumor had it that the judge was a close friend of the innkeeper.

"I'm ruined!" the merchant muttered as he sat in the village square. "What will I do?"

At that moment, he was approached by a sturdy little man wearing a white turban and riding a donkey. "Nasreddin Hodja, at your service," the man said with a friendly nod. "What seems to be the problem?"

After hearing the merchant's story, Hodja announced, "This is your lucky day! It would be my honor to defend you. I have great experience in these matters."

"Thank you," the merchant said, amazed at his good fortune. But when the court date finally arrived, Nasreddin Hodja was nowhere in sight.

"Woe is me," mumbled the merchant.

"I'll soon be rich!" cried the innkeeper.

"Where is Hodja?" demanded the judge, growing angrier by the minute. He was about to render judgment in the innkeeper's favor when Hodja boldly barged in.

"Pardon me," he said, panting, as he hastily took the witness stand. "I would have been here sooner, but this morning I had the cleverest plan. Instead of eating my boiled corn for breakfast, I planted it. Think of the rich harvest I'll reap!"

"That's absurd," the innkeeper scoffed. "You can't grow corn from cooked kernels!" "Indeed?" Hodja said with mock wonder. "Then, sir, how is it that you would have been able to hatch chickens from boiled eggs?"

At that, the whole room reeled with laughter.

"Order in the court!" shouted the judge, pounding his gavel and scowling at the innkeeper.

The judge then ruled that the merchant would not have to pay even one akche for the eggs. Instead, the innkeeper would have to pay a fine for wasting the court's time with such foolishness.

Copyright © 2004 Highlights for Children, Inc., Columbus, Ohio.

Recognize reason related to plot
Multiple choice
52% Correct
Evaluate story character and support opinion
Constructed response
24% Extensive / Essential
Interpret dialogue and story action
Multiple choice
46% Correct

All the passages and questions released from the 2017 reading assessment are available in the NAEP Questions Tool.

Experience the Reading Assessment

You can experience the digitally based reading assessment as students did.

Read the story and take the full set of questions

To view these questions in eNAEP, you will need to use Chrome (48 or higher). The questions are best viewed at a zoom of 67 percent.

Item Maps

One way to understand the NAEP reading scale is by seeing the types of questions that students performing at different points on the scale are likely to answer correctly. See the reading item map with examples of questions that reflect the reading skills demonstrated by students performing at different points on the reading scale within the score range for each achievement level.