Sample Ohio Eighth Grade English Achievement Test

Matt Kuenzel
12 min readOct 22, 2021

FIRST STORY

I projected an excursion with my eldest son, to explore the limits of our country, and satisfy ourselves that it was an island, and not a part of the continent. We set out, ostensibly, to bring the sledge we had left the previous evening. I took Turk and the ass with us, and left Flora with my wife and children, and, with a bag of provisions, we left Falcon’s Nest as soon as breakfast was over.

In crossing a wood of oaks, covered with the sweet, eatable acorn, we again met with the sow; our service to her in the evening did not seem to be forgotten, for she appeared tamer, and did not run from us. A little farther on, we saw some beautiful birds. Fritz shot some, among which I recognized the large blue Virginian jay, and some different kinds of parrots. As he was reloading his gun, we heard at a distance a singular noise, like a muffled drum, mingled with the sound made in sharpening a saw. It might be savages; and we plunged into a thicket, and there discovered the cause of the noise in a brilliant green bird, seated on the withered trunk of a tree. It spread its wings and tail, and strutted about with strange contortions, to the great delight of its mates, who seemed lost in admiration of him. At the same time, he made the sharp cry we heard, and, striking his wing against the tree, produced the drum-like sound. I knew this to be the ruffed grouse, one of the greatest ornaments of the forests of America. My insatiable hunter soon put an end to the scene; he fired at the bird, who fell dead, and his crowd of admirers, with piercing cries, took to flight.

I reprimanded my son for so rashly killing everything we met with without consideration, and for the mere love of destruction. He seemed sensible of his error, and, as the thing was done, I thought it as well to make the best of it, and sent him to pick up his game.

“What a creature!” said he, as he brought it; “how it would have figured in our poultry-yard, if I had not been in such a hurry.”

We went on to our sledge in the Gourd Wood, and, as the morning was not far advanced, we determined to leave all here, and proceed in our projected excursion beyond the chain of rocks. But we took the ass with us to carry our provisions, and any game or other object we should meet with in the new country we hoped to penetrate. Amongst gigantic trees, and through grass of a prodigious height, we travelled with some labour, looking right and left to avoid danger, or to make discoveries. Turk walked the first, smelling the air; then came the donkey, with his grave and careless step; and we followed, with our guns in readiness. We met with plains of potatoes and of manioc, amongst the stalks of which were sporting tribes of agoutis; but we were not tempted by such game.

We now met with a new kind of bush covered with small white berries about the size of a pea. On pressing these berries, which adhered to my fingers, I discovered that this plant was the Myrica cerifera, or candle-berry myrtle, from which a wax is obtained that may be made into candles. With great pleasure I gathered a bag of these berries, knowing how my wife would appreciate this acquisition; for she often lamented that we were compelled to go to bed with the birds, as soon as the sun set.

We forgot our fatigue, as we proceeded, in contemplation of the wonders of nature, flowers of marvellous beauty, butterflies of more dazzling colours than the flowers, and birds graceful in form, and brilliant in plumage. Fritz climbed a tree, and succeeded in securing a young green parrot, which he enveloped in his handkerchief, with the intention of bringing it up, and teaching it to speak. And now we met with another wonder: a number of birds who lived in a community, in nests, sheltered by a common roof, in the formation of which they had probably laboured jointly. This roof was composed of straw and dry sticks, plastered with clay, which rendered it equally impenetrable to sun or rain. Pressed as we were for time, I could not help stopping to admire this feathered colony. This leading us to speak of natural history, as it relates to animals who live in societies, we recalled in succession the ingenious labours of the beavers and the marmots; the not less marvellous constructions of the bees, the wasps, and the ants; and I mentioned particularly those immense ant-hills of America, of which the masonry is finished with such skill and solidity that they are sometimes used for ovens, to which they bear a resemblance.

We had now reached some trees quite unknown to us. They were from forty to sixty feet in height, and from the bark, which was cracked in many places, issued small balls of a thick gum. Fritz got one off with difficulty, it was so hardened by the sun. He wished to soften it with his hands, but found that heat only gave it the power of extension, and that by pulling the two extremities, and then releasing them, it immediately resumed its first form.

Fritz ran to me, crying out, “I have found some India-rubber!”

“If that be true,” said I, “you have made a most valuable discovery.”

He thought I was laughing at him, for we had no drawing to rub out here.

I told him this gum might be turned to many useful purposes; among the rest we might make excellent shoes of it. This interested him. How could we accomplish this?

“The caoutchouc,” said I, “is the milky sap which is obtained from certain trees of the Euphorbium kind, by incisions made in the bark. It is collected in vessels, care being taken to agitate them, that the liquid may not coagulate. In this state they cover little clay bottles with successive layers of it, till it attains the required thickness. It is then dried in smoke, which gives it the dark brown colour. Before it is quite dry, it is ornamented by lines and flowers drawn with the knife. Finally, they break the clay form, and extract it from the mouth; and there remains the India-rubber bottle of commerce, soft and flexible. Now, this is my plan for shoemaking; we will fill a stocking with sand, cover it with repeated layers of the gum till it is of the proper thickness; then empty out the sand, and, if I do not deceive myself, we shall have perfect boots or shoes.”

Comfortable in the hope of new boots, we advanced through an interminable forest of various trees. The monkeys on the cocoa-nut trees furnished us with pleasant refreshment, and a small store of nuts besides. Among these trees I saw some lower bushes, whose leaves were covered with a white dust. I opened the trunk of one of these, which had been torn up by the wind, and found in the interior a white farinaceous substance, which, on tasting, I knew to be the sago imported into Europe. This, as connected with our subsistence, was a most important affair, and my son and I, with our hatchets, laid open the tree, and obtained from it twenty-five pounds of the valuable sago.

This occupied us an hour; and, weary and hungry, I thought it prudent not to push our discoveries farther this day. We therefore returned to the Gourd Wood, placed all our treasures on the sledge, and took our way home. We arrived without more adventures, and were warmly greeted, and our various offerings gratefully welcomed, especially the green parrot. We talked of the caoutchouc, and new boots, with great delight during supper; and, afterwards, my wife looked with exceeding content at her bag of candle-berries, anticipating the time when we should not have to go to bed, as we did now, as soon as the sun set.

DEFINED:

marmots
coagulate
interminable
farinaceous
sago

Questions

Questions 27 and 33 are worth 2 possible points, question 35 is worth 10 possible points, the rest are worth 1 possible point.

SECOND STORY

Tire Reef

A mile offshore from this city’s high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million tires, strewn across the ocean floor — a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.

The tires were dropped there in 1972 to create an artificial reef intended to attract a rich variety of marine life and to free up space in clogged landfills. Decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.

Very little sea life has formed on the tires. Some tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life.

“The really good idea was to provide habitat for marine critters so we could double or triple marine life in the area. It just didn’t work that way,” said Ray McAllister, a professor of ocean engineering at Florida Atlantic University who was instrumental in organizing the project. “I look back now and see it was a bad idea.”

In fact, similar problems have been reported at tire reefs worldwide.

“They’re a constantly killing, coral-destruction machine,” said William Nuckols, coordinator for Coastal America, a federal group involved in organizing a cleanup effort that includes Broward County biologists, state scientists and Army and Navy salvage divers.

Gov. Charlie Crist’s proposed budget includes $2 million to help remove the tires. Military divers would do their share of the work at no cost to the state by making it part of their training.

A monthlong pilot project is set for June. The full-scale salvage operation is expected to run through 2010 at a cost to the state of about $3.4 million.

McAllister helped put together the ill-fated reef project with the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He helped raise several thousand dollars (the county also chipped in), organized hundreds of volunteers with boats and barges and got tires from Goodyear.

Goodyear also donated equipment to bind and compress the tires, and the Goodyear blimp dropped a gold-painted tire into the ocean in a ceremonial start to the project.

The tire company issued a press releaseproclaiming the reef would “provide a haven for fish and other aquatic species” and noting the “excellent properties of scrap tires as reef material.”

It was a disappointment, just like other tire reefs created off coastal states and around the world.

Virginia tried it several decades ago. Hurricane Bonnie in 1998 ripped the tires loose, and they washed up in North Carolina.

“We’ve literally dumped millions of tires in our oceans,” said Jack Sobel, an Ocean Conservancy scientist. “I believe that people who were behind the artificial tire reef promotions actually were well-intentioned and thought they were doing the right thing. In hindsight, we now realize that we made a mistake.”

No one can say with certainty why the idea doesn’t work, but one problem is that, unlike large ships that have been sunk for reefs, tires are too light. They can be swept away by the tides and powerful storms before marine life has a chance to attach. Some scientists also believe the rubber leaches toxins.

Most states have stopped using tires to create reefs, but they continue to wash up worldwide. In 2005, volunteers for the Ocean Conservancy’s annual international coastal cleanup removed more than 11,000 tires.

The tires retrieved from the waters off Fort Lauderdale will be ground up for road projects and burned for fuel, among other uses.

“It’s going to be a huge job bringing them all up,” said Michael Sole, chief of the state Department of Environmental Protection. “It’s vigorous work. You have to dig the tires out of the sand.”

— — — — — — — part 2

Reef Ball

Jasmine Jeffers is proud to know a science project she helped float will be around for generations to come.

The Plantation junior was one of about 20 South Plantation High School students who recently participated in creating a series of artificial reefs off South Florida’s shores.

‘’It’s a really wonderful feeling to know you’ve helped revive the ecosystem,’’ Jasmine said. ``After I’m gone, it will still be here for my grandchildren.’’

The reef creation is the result of a nearly yearlong project. The students helped install 30 artificial reefs, known as reef balls, in the waters off Oleta River State Park in North Miami and about a mile off Golden Beach.

The balls, made of concrete and weighing from 300 to 2,000 pounds, will serve as a home for sea life.

‘’They are designed to help let things grow on them,’’ said Veronica LaFranchise of Plantation, one of three students who led the project.

It began as a project for the Girl Scouts. Veronica and Jasmine, with fellow scout Rebecca Schultz, then decided to expand it into a school science project. All are part of the Everglades Restoration Magnet Program at South Plantation High School.

‘’It brings together so many people and is something that shows we all can do something to protect our reefs and encourage regrowth, so that future generations can benefit,’’ said advisor Allan Phipps, who teaches Advanced Placement Environmental Science.

The project took months of preparation. The girls had to get permits from a number of agencies, create the reef balls and study the best way to create different habitats.

They got help from a company called Reef Innovations in Sarasota, which donated the molds to create the reef balls.

On March 25, with help from park employees, they floated the smaller reef balls into 15 feet of water off the park. A research vessel from Florida Atlantic University helped sink the others 40 feet down off Golden Beach. Veronica and Rebecca, both scuba divers, dove down to help anchor them.

‘’I want to be a marine biologist, so it was great,’’ said Veronica.

Rebecca’s mother, Elena Schultz, their Girl Scout leader, said the project will provide ongoing learning experiences.

‘’They’ll be measuring the growth on it, and finding out what plants grow and what fish take to it,’’ said Schultz, a parent advisor.

The reef balls are reportedly the only ones off Oleta River State Park and will take years of careful monitoring, long after the students have graduated. The long-term benefits are what impress Rebecca the most.

‘’These types of projects are for other students to take over and help monitor,’’ she said.

ANSWERS

23 D
24 A
25 A
26 B
27 A, WE TALKED OF THE …
28 B
29 A
30 OPTION 2
31 D
32 A
33 OPTION D
34 OPTION 1 AND OPTION 5
35 WRITING

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