TCAP Success Grade 8 ELA Pre Test

TCAP Success Grade 8 ELA Pre Test Sample

Read the passages and answer the questions that follow.

Ivory Trade in Africa

1 The Sun blazed relentlessly. In the steaming heat of the African summer afternoon, the herd of female elephants browsed lazily. They had been awake much of the night before, eating grass and leaves in the Eastern savannas of Senegal, on the west coast of the great continent. Elephants spend 16 hours a day eating, and only 4–5 hours sleeping.

2 A 9-month-old calf nestled in the shade of her private "tent," formed by her mother’s four legs and belly. The baby rarely left her mother’s side. Elephant calves remain within yards of their mothers for the first nine years of their lives. If they stray further away, their mothers are quick to find them. Every day the mother deftly bathes her baby by sucking water into her trunk and spraying the refreshing shower over the baby. Then she makes mud for the baby to roll in. Mud relieves elephants from the heat of the Sun.

3 The Senegal calf’s mother seemed to have infinite patience with her. She was always close by, ready to affectionately entwine trunks, playfully nudge her, or gently support her over difficult terrain. Elephants are known to be family-oriented animals who lavish tender, loving care on their young and maintain close ties with them. While young males leave the herd at around 12 years of age, the bond between mother and daughter elephants can last up to 50 years.

4 The calf, lounging under her mother’s belly, felt sleepy. Lulled by the sounds of the savanna and the comforting presence of the herd around her, she felt relaxed and safe. She knew that the herd’s matriarch was close by. As the oldest female in the family group, the matriarch provided the leadership for the herd. All members of the herd looked to the "grandmother" for direction. When she fed, they fed. When she began to move on, the herd regrouped and followed her. The matriarch provided security and order for her herd.

5 A shrill trumpeting sound suddenly splintered the tranquility of the afternoon. The calf pulled herself up to a standing position as her mother raised her head to study the commotion around her. Other adults moved towards her, herding their young ahead of them. The group quickly formed a circle with three calves in the middle. The matriarch stood with her head raised, trunk straight up in the air, sniffing. Her ears spread out in a position of alarm.

6 The shots were heard before any of the elephants perceived human presence. The elephants began to panic, but they stood by their young. No one had been hurt. The matriarch began to flee in the opposite direction from the shots. The rest of the group followed, herding their young ahead of them. Elephants can stride up to 25 miles per hour, a speed much faster than humans on foot can keep pace with. The herd was able to put distance between themselves and their only real predator.

7 Later, as night fell, the herd settled in a new area. The poacher was obviously inexperienced. None of the herd was killed. A more skilled hunter would have possibly slaughtered the entire herd. He would have come closer to the peaceful animals before firing. He may have used a more powerful gun. Even if the herd had circled, he would have targeted the matriarch and felled her first.

8 Skilled poachers know that elephants are some of the most social animals in the world. They are loyal to their herd, their young, and their leader. If a matriarch falls, the others will not leave her. Even in the face of death, they will surround their fallen companion. Elephants on either side of her would use their trunks and feet in an effort to get her to stand. This refusal to leave a downed relative, however, makes the elephants "sitting ducks." The poacher is able to kill one after the other. Entire herds are wiped out in this way.

9 What do poachers want with a herd of elephants? They only want their tusks. The tusks provide ivory, a valuable material that can be sold illegally in many countries, including the United States. Ivory is used to make craftwork such as statues, jewelry, and carvings. For this ivory, poachers saw off the tusks of the ambushed elephants and leave the dead animals where they lay.

10 Because of people’s desire for ivory, African elephants are now on the list of endangered species. This list was created by a 1973 U.S. law to identify animals that are in need of human protection. Still, it was during the 1970s and 1980s that the most catastrophic loss of elephants to ivory hunters took place. Many countries in Africa lost up to 80% of their elephant population during that time.

11 In 1989, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) imposed a world-wide ivory ban and recommended the most stringent protection possible for the African elephant. Since that time, the elephant population has rebounded somewhat, but illegal slaughter still continues in some African countries. As long as there is a market for ivory somewhere in the world, poachers will continue to hunt for their cash reward.

12 The elephant calf and her herd grazed and slept through the night. She forgot about the terror of the previous day. She was once again cradled in the safety of her family. She had no way of knowing that her chances for survival, for another year or for many years to come, depended on the will of international agencies and on people’s decision to shun all products made from the tusks of her beloved family.

1 pt

What does the word poachers mean as used in paragraph 8 in the passage?

1 pt

Which of the following best summarizes why the matriarch is so important to the elephant family?

1 pt

What is the author’s purpose in paragraph 5 in the passage?

1 pt

What are the advantages for the author of depicting a mother elephant with her calf early in passage 1?

Elephant Emotions

1 Elephants, the most prodigious land animals on the planet, have some of the most complicated group rituals of any animal. They are complex, passionate animals that openly express joy, anger, grief, compassion, and love. Through years of research, scientists have found that elephants are capable of rational thought and deep feelings. The emotional attachments elephants form with family members are equal to our own emotional family attachments.

2 Joy

In the wild, joy is an emotion that elephants have no shame in showing. They express their happiness and joy when they are with their family and friends. Playing games and greeting friends or family members are some ways that elephants show joy. Elephants also express extreme joy when a baby elephant is born. Family members bellow and trumpet during the birth of the new baby. Elephants also show joy when reunited with family members. The greeting ceremony begins as elephants begin calling each other from a quarter a mile away. As they get closer, their pace quickens. The elephants run toward each other, screaming and trumpeting the whole time. With heads held high, the reunited pair fill the air with sounds of trumpets, rumbles, screams, and roars.

3 Love

There is no greater love in the animal kingdom than that of a mother elephant and her baby. The calf is very small compared to the mother, so the calf walks under its mother for protection. Mother and baby constantly touch each other to form a close and loving bond. If a calf strays too far from its mother, she will bring it back to her. She bathes the baby, using her trunk to spray water over it and then to scrub it gently. The mother steers her calf by grasping its tail with her trunk, and the calf follows, holding its mother’s tail. When the calf squeals in distress, its mother and others rush to its protection immediately.

4 Grief

One of the most moving displays of elephant emotion is the grieving process. While standing over the remains of a recently deceased elephant, elephants may touch the bones of the dead elephant, smelling them, turning them over and caressing the bones with their trunks. Researchers don’t quite understand the reason for this behavior. They guess the elephants could be grieving. Or they could they be reliving memories. Or perhaps the elephant is trying to recognize the deceased. Whatever the reason, researchers suspect that the sheer interest in the dead elephant is evidence that elephants have a concept of death. Elephants remember and mourn loved ones, even many years after their death. When elephants walk past a place that a loved one died, they will stop and be still for several minutes. When a beloved elephant family member dies, those left behind will mourn by "burying" the body with leaves and grass, and keeping vigil over the body for a week. And just like humans, elephants visit the gravesites of their lost loved ones.

5 Terror, Rage, and Stress

Terror is expressed when baby African elephants wake up screaming in the middle of the night after they have witnessed their families murdered and poached. Scientists believe that this is a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Researchers indicate that the recent surge in cases of wild elephant rage is a sad indicator of the kind of stress that wild elephants are experiencing. Nearly 300 people are killed every year by wild elephants in India due to the increasing number of people in traditional wild elephant habitats. The ongoing competition between elephants and humans for available land and resources is leading to unfortunate and often deadly consequences. This is because elephants fiercely guard and protect calves. Adult elephants will go into a rage if they think a calf is in danger. They will charge a village, storm into huts, destroy fields, and sometimes kill humans.

6 Compassion

In addition to mourning the loss of their own family members, elephants show compassion when non-family elephants die. Older females of different herds gather their families at the remains of a deceased elephant. Elephants also show compassion towards injured members of the herd. If an elephant hurts its foot or leg, the rest of the herd will walk slowly so that the injured elephant does not become separated from its family. Researchers say that this shows that elephants truly care about each other whether they are related or not.

1 pt

Which statement best expresses the central idea of the passage?