Free STAAR Grade 4 Writing Practice Test Questions

1. Write about the best gift you ever received.

Questions 2 - 5 pertain to the following passage:

The Power of Volcanoes

(1) The word volcano comes from Vulcan, the name of the ancient Roman god of fire. (2) A volcano occurs when hot, melted rock called magma breaks through the earth's crust. (3) I once saw a volcano erupt when I was on vacation in Hawaii. (4) When magma comes out on the surface of the earth and it is called lava. (5) Hot lava and ash often explode out of volcanoes, sometimes causing a lot of destruction.

(6) There are four basic types of volcanoes. (7) Shield volcanoes have broad, gentle slopes. (8) Cindercone volcanoes are pointed, kind of like pyramids. (9) Strato-volcanoes have many lairs of rock formed by hardened lava and ash from previous eruptions. (10) Dome volcanoes were shaped like steep mounds and are the result of slow-flowing lava.

(11) Whatever the type, volcanoes happen in places where the plates of the earth's crust touch each other. (12) There are many active volcanoes all over the world. (13) Some is in the United States, in places like Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii. (14) Some volcanoes are even under water, far below the surface of the ocean.

(15) When volcanoes erupt, they can change many things. (16) They can add height to mountains and even form new islands. (17) In Iceland, the island of Surtsey was formed by an erupting volcano in 1963. (18) Volcanoes can also collapse mountains. (19) At Crater Lake in Oregon, where a volcano collapsed a mountain, forming the deepest lake in the United States. (20) No matter their type or effects, everyone must agree that volcanoes are very powerful.

2. Which sentence does not belong in paragraph 1?

a. Sentence 1
b. Sentence 4
c. Sentence 3
d. Sentence 5

3. Which of the following is the best version of sentence 13?

a. Some is in the United States, in places like Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii
b. Some were in the United States, in places like Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii
c. Some was in the United States, in places like Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii
d. Some are in the United States, in places like Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii

4. Which spelling change is needed in sentence 9?

a. Change volcanoes to volcanos
b. Change previous to pervious
c. Change eruptions to erupshuns
d. Change lairs to layers

5. What revision, if any, is needed in sentence 4?

a. No revision is needed
b. Replace and with a comma
c Insert a comma before and
d. Replace and with a semicolon

Questions 6 - 10 pertain to the following passage:

Down on the Farm

(1) On the day of the field trip, our classroom was buzzing with excitement. (2) Finally, the time came to get on the bus. (3) I watched out the window as big buildings slipped by, then houses and then fields. (4) The bus turned down a long, gravel driveway and stopped by a big red barn. (5) We were at the farm!

(6) We learned that Farmer Jones and his wife grew corn and pumpkins and raised cows and chickens. (7) First, we took a tour of the farm. (8) They had several farm workers to help take care of the farm. (9) Farmer Jones and his wife also have a small market where they sold there crops and some crops from other farmers who lived nearby.

(10) I loved walking through the cornfield with the dry stalks rustling above my head. (11) Farmer Jones also let me feed a calf from a bottle, and I loved feeling it suck and tug to get at the milk. (12) When we were done seeing the farm. (13) Farmer Jones took us all up to the market for some fresh, hot corn on the cob. (14) It was so yummy!

(15) When the time came to get back on the bus, no one wanted to leave. (16) We thanked Farmer Jones and headed back to town. (17) I loved visiting the farm and seeing how Farmer Jones lived maybe I will decide to be a farmer someday.

6. Which sentence is the best choice for the first sentence of paragraph 2?

a. Sentence 6
b. Sentence 7
c. Sentence 8
d. Sentence 9

7. What revision, if any, is needed in sentences 12 and 13?

a. No revision is needed
b. Change the period to a semicolon
c. Add Then at the beginning of sentence 13
d. Change the period to a comma

8. What change, if any, is necessary in sentence 17?

a. No change is necessary
b. Insert a comma after lived
c. Insert a period after lived
d. Insert a semicolon and and after lived

9. What revision, if any, is needed in sentences 12 and 13?

a. No revision is needed
b. Change the period to a semicolon
c. Add Then at the beginning of sentence 13
d. Change the period to a comma

10. Which of the following choices is the proper spelling choice for sentence 9?

a. They're
b. There
c. Thier
d. Their

Grade 4 Writing Answer Key

1. Answer:
Here is a well written and effective writing sample: The best gift I ever received was my puppy, Bear. It was a snowy Christmas morning, and all the presents had been opened. Then my parents brought out one more box. It was moving and whining. They gave it to me, and I opened it. It was Bear! Ever since then, Bear has been my best friend. He sleeps in my bed with me. He loves to play with me and learn new tricks. Every day when I come home from school, Bear is waiting for me. Bear will always be my best gift because he is always there for me. I can tell him anything. Even though he is getting bigger, he still loves me, just like he did when he was a little puppy. I am so glad Bear is mine.

2. Answer: C
C is the best choice because sentence 3 describes a personal experience that does not belong in a factual essay about volcanoes. A, B, and D are not the best choices because sentences 1, 4, and 5 all are essential to develop factual information about volcanoes.

3. Answer: D
D is the best choice because this sentence has a plural subject, and this essay is written in present tense, so are is right choice. A is not the best choice because is is a singular verb, and the subject of this sentence is plural. B is not the best choice because were is a past-tense verb, and this essay is written in present tense. C is not the best choice because was is a singular, past-tense verb, and this sentence has a plural subject and is written in present tense.

4. Answer: D
D is the best choice because layers is a better word choice than lairs in this sentence. A, B, and C are not the best choices because they all change properly spelled words to misspelled versions.

5. Answer: B
B is the best choice because the sentence contains a dependent introductory clause, and a dependent introductory clause always should be separated from the main clause of the sentence with a comma. A and C are not the best choices because they both create a sentence fragment. C is not the best choice because a semicolon cannot join a dependent clause to an independent clause.

6. Answer: B
B is the best choice because it clearly establishes the overall topic of the paragraph, which is what the topic sentence of a paragraph should do. A, C, and D are not the best choices because they all offer details and specifics instead of establishing a broad overview of the paragraph.

7. Answer: D
D is the best choice because sentence 12 actually is a dependent clause that should function as an introductory element to the independent clause in sentence 13, and an introductory dependent clause should be joined to the corresponding independent clause with a comma. A and C are not the best choices because they retain sentence 12 as a sentence fragment. B is not the best choice because a semicolon should not join a dependent clause to an independent clause.

8. Answer: C
C is the best choice because adding a period eliminates the run-on sentence by creating two complete sentences. A is not the best choice because it retains the run-on sentence structure. B is not the best choice because it creates a comma splice, another type of run-on sentence. D is not the best choice because a semicolon should not be used with a conjunction to join two independent clauses.

9. Answer: D
D is the best choice because sentence 12 actually is a dependent clause that should function as an introductory element to the independent clause in sentence 13, and an introductory dependent clause should be joined to the corresponding independent clause with a comma. A and C are not the best choices because they retain sentence 12 as a sentence fragment. B is not the best choice because a semicolon should not join a dependent clause to an independent clause.

10. Answer: D
D is the best choice because their is the proper spelling for a plural personal pronoun showing ownership. A is not the best choice because they're is a contraction for they are, which does not fit in the sentence. B is not the best choice, because there refers to location, which does not fit in the sentence. C is not the best choice because it is misspelled.

STAAR Test Questions - Main

STAAR Grade 4 Writing Overview

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Last Updated: 04/18/2018