Grade 8: THE OPEN BOAT by Stephen Crane


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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.


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


This Grade 8 mini-assessment titled, “ Chapter III from THE OPEN BOAT by Stephen Crane” cited on is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of a complex text to demonstrate deep understanding.  In this mini-assessment there are six selected-response questions that address the reading standards listed and one (optional) constructed-response question that addresses the writing standards listed. It is designed to be completed in one class session.


It is recommended that Connecticut teachers do not make the writing prompt optional.


This mini-assessment is a good example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards. These high quality questions require students to analyze the text, determine it central idea, and draw evidence to support their analysis.  It could be used as a formative assessment at the start of the school year.  An annotated Teacher’s Guide gives a specific rationale for each answer option and lists the standards addressed.  Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials, as well as a scoring rubric for text-based writing prompts and a sample student response.