Grade 8: “In our digital world, are young people losing their ability to read emotions?” by Stuart Wolpert and “Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool” by Jim Tankersley


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Reading Informational Text

RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

RI.8.5 Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.

RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

RI.8.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

RI.8.9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects

RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.

RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Speaking and Listening

SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.


W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


L.8.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.8.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.8.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading or listening.


This grade 8 assessment titled In our digital world, are young people losing their ability to read emotions?” by Stuart Wolpert and “Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool” by Jim Tankersley cited on is intended to be completed in one class period. This mini-assessment is based on two informational nonfiction articles as well as a short video titled “This is how Cookie Monster Makes your Kid Smarter.” In this mini-assessment students respond to sixteen text-dependent questions that address the Reading Standards listed above. Additionally, there is an optional writing prompt, which is aligned to Reading, Writing, and Language Standards.


Connecticut educators are encouraged to give students the time that they need to read closely and write to the source.  While it is helpful to have students complete the mini-assessment in one class period, educators should allow additional time as is necessary to accommodate students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. It is strongly recommended that the writing prompt not be made optional to more fully assess each student’s ability to meet the targeted Common Core Standards listed above.


This mini-assessment is an excellent example of how to design rigorous text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards using informational-paired passages. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives a specific rationale for each answer option and lists the specific standards addressed. A Scoring Rubric for Text-Based Writing Prompts and information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.  All materials needed for the assessment are provided.