Grade 11: “Luck” by Mark Twain


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Reading Literature

RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

RL.11-12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.

RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).


W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


L.11-12.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.11-12.3 Apply knowledge of language and how it functions in different contexts, to make more effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


This Grade 11 annotated mini-assessment titled “Luck” by Mark Twain cited on is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of a complex text in order to demonstrate deep understanding. In this mini- assessment there are seven selected-response questions and two paper/pencil equivalents of technology-enhanced items that together address the Reading Standards listed above. There is also an optional constructed-response item, which is aligned to the Reading, Writing, and Language Standards. The writing prompt requires students to write an argumentative essay that takes a position on the importance of luck in achieving success, and support it using details from the passage.


This mini-assessment is designed to be completed in one class period; however, educators are encouraged to allow students additional time as necessary. It is strongly recommended that the writing prompt not be optional.


This mini-assessment is an exemplary example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards. It could be used as a formative assessment at the start of a school year and/or to assess the growth in students’ abilities to engage in the close reading of a complex text. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives specific rationale for each answer option and lists which standards it addresses. There is an aligned rubric for the writing prompt as well as assessment guidelines. Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.