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Common Core quiz: How many of these 6th-grade English questions can you answer?

Sixth grade students take the New York State

Sixth grade students take the New York State 2015 Common Core English Language Arts test at the Pierson Middle School in Sag Harbor, April 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

New York State is ready to hand out the Common Core exam this spring. But how tough is the test?

See how your English skills stack up by reading the passage below and taking the following sample questions from the Grade 6 ELA 2014 State Test Questions, from

Note: Some questions have been slightly edited for space.

The Pit Ponies

by Leslie Norris

They come like the ghosts of horses, shyly,
To this summer field, this fresh green,
Which scares them.

They have been too long in the blind mine,
Their hooves have trodden only stones
And the soft, thick dust of fine coal,

And they do not understand the grass.
For over two years their sun
Has shone from an electric bulb

That has never set, and their walking
Has been along the one, monotonous
Track of the pulled coal-trucks.

They have bunched their muscles against
The harness and pulled, and hauled.
But now they have come out of the underworld

And are set down in the sun and real air,
Which are strange to them. They are humble
And modest, their heads are downcast, they

Do not expect to see very far. But one
Is attempting a clumsy gallop. It is
Something he could do when he was very young.

When he was a little foal a long time ago
And he could run fleetly on his long foal?s legs,
And almost he can remember this. And look,

One rolls on her back with joy in the clean grass!
And they all, awkwardly and hesitantly, like
Clumsy old men, begin to run, and the field

Is full of happy thunder. They toss their heads,
Their manes fly, they are galloping in freedom.
The ponies have come above ground, they are galloping!



In line one, what does the simile “like the ghosts of horses” suggest?


Why are the ponies scared in line three?


In line seven, why don’t the ponies “understand the grass”?


What is the central theme of the poem?


What is the importance of the passage beginning "Do not expect to see very far..."?


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