Regents Exams: ELA - Sample Items

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Regents Exams: ELA - Sample Items

New York State Regents Examination in English Language Arts (Common Core): Sample Items

With the adoption of the New York P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics, the Board of Regents signaled a shift in both instruction and assessment. Educators around the state have already begun instituting Common Core-aligned instruction in their classrooms. To aid in this transition, we are providing sample questions for the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core) to help students, parents, and educators better understand the instructional shifts demanded by the Common Core and the rigor required to ensure that all students are on track to College and Career Readiness.

These Samples Are Teaching Tools
The sample questions are teaching tools for educators and may be shared freely with students and parents. They are designed to illuminate the way the Common Core should drive instruction and how students will be assessed starting in the 2013-14 school year should schools/districts elect to administer the Regents Examination in English Language Arts (Common Core).

The sample texts, multiple-choice questions, writing from sources task, and text analysis task emphasize the instructional shifts demanded by the Common Core. For the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core) we have provided 18 multiple-choice questions, one writing from sources task, and one text analysis task.

These Samples Do Not Comprise Complete Test Forms
The sample questions are designed to emphasize the instructional shifts demanded by the Common Core and, as such, they may be different from previous years' Regents Exam questions. The sample questions are constructed in a manner that places an emphasis on the use of specific text-based evidence and a demand for close reading of the text. The multiple-choice questions may involve multiple steps to arrive at a correct answer.

The sample multiple-choice questions from Part 1 of the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core) reflect the demands of the CCLS for Reading and Language for students to engage in analyses of a variety of complex literature and informational texts. As we are limited to using public domain/non-copyrighted texts for the purpose of these sample questions, these passages may NOT represent the balance of historical periods, ethnicities, perspectives, and genders that will be present on the operational tests.

This document includes samples of two other parts of the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core): Part 2 - Writing from Sources and Part 3-Text Analysis. Part 2 requires students to write an evidence-based argument using a collection of authentic texts that relate to a specific event, topic or issue. Part 3 requires students to write a two to three paragraph response that identifies a central idea in a text and analyzes how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. These tasks and their prominent role in the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core) reflect the centrality of writing to most forms of inquiry as demanded by the CCLS.

Parts 2 and 3 of the test address the Common Core's target that "all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school," and accordingly, at the high school level the writing standards demand that students:

  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (11-12.W.1)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. (11-12.W.2)

This document is NOT intended to show how operational tests look exactly or to provide information about how teachers should administer the test; rather, its purpose is to provide an overview of how the new test reflects the CCLS. Additional information will be provided in the Test Guide and other documents providing directions for administrators and teachers.

How to Use This Document

Passages (Parts 1-3)
To see the full range of Standards that may be measured on the Regents Exam in English Language Arts (Common Core), please reference the Test Blueprint. The Common Core Learning Standards listed below encompass only the standards measured in the sample.

  • Use them to help guide text choices for instructional materials and expose students to similarly complex texts.
  • Use them to help guide resources to support evidence-based arguments and text analysis.

Multiple-Choice Questions (Part 1)

  • Use the questions to understand how the test will assess students’ mastery of CCLS Reading Standards for Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6; Reading Standards for Informational Text 2, 3, 4, and 5; and Language Standard 5.

Writing from Sources Example (Part 2)

  • Use the task to understand how the test will assess students' mastery of CCLS Reading Standards for Informational Text 1, 2, 3, and 4; CCLS Writing Standards 1, 4, and 9; and CCLS Language Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Text Analysis Writing Example (Part 3)

  • Use the task to understand how the test will assess students' mastery of CCLS Reading Standards for Informational Text 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10; CCLS Writing Standards 2, 4, and 9; and CCLS Language Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Created on:
Wed 06/5/2013
Posted by NYSED
Grade(s):
High School / Commencement Level Grade 11
Subject(s):
English Language Arts
Topic(s):
Common Core Learning Standards