Grade 8: ‘1984’ by George Orwell


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Reading Literature

RL.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.

RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

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

RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

RL.8.7 Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors.


This grade 8 mini-assessment titled “Grade 8: ‘1984’ by George Orwell” cited on is based on an excerpt from the beginning of the book by the same title. It is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of complex text in order to demonstrate deep understanding. Students first independently read the excerpt; then, together as a class, they watch a short film clip twice from Michael Anderson’s film adaptation of the novel. The first seven selected-response questions in this assessment are based on the text excerpt; the final question is based on a clip from the film adaptation of the novel.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that although this mini-assessment is designed to be completed in one class period, educators are encouraged to allow students additional time as necessary to read closely, view the film clip, and answer the questions. Teachers will need to provide the excerpted paragraphs from text.


This mini-assessment is a good 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, as well as their ability to analyze a film clip adaption of the novel. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives specific rationale for each answer option and lists which standards it addresses.

Click here for a write-up on this website for the “1984” Lesson.