PARCC Grade 7 ELA Practice Test Questions

Questions 1 – 5 are based on the following passage:

The following is an excerpt of an article published by The New York Times announcing the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.


President Lincoln Shot by an Assassin 
The Deed Done at Ford’s Theatre Last Night


The President Still Alive at Last Accounts 
No Hopes Entertained of His Recovery 
Attempted Assassination of Secretary Seward



War Department, Washington April 15, 1:30 A.M. – Maj. Gen. Dis.: This evening at about 9:30 P.M. at Ford’s Theatre, the President, while sitting in his private box with Mrs. Lincoln, Mr. Harris, and Major Rathburn, was shot by an assassin, who suddenly entered the box and appeared behind the President.

The assassin then leaped upon the stage, brandishing a large dagger or knife, and made his escape in the rear of the theatre.

The pistol ball entered the back of the President’s head and penetrated nearly through the head. The wound is mortal. The President has been insensible ever since it was inflicted, and is now dying.

About the same hour an assassin, whether the same or not, entered Mr. Sewards’ apartments, and under the pretense of having a prescription, was shown to the Secretary’s sick chamber. The assassin immediately rushed to the bed, and inflicted two or three stabs on the throat and two on the face. It is hoped the wounds may not be mortal. My apprehension is that they will prove fatal.

The nurse alarmed Mr. Frederick Seward, who was in an adjoining room, and hastened to the door of his father’s room, when he met the assassin, who inflicted upon him one or more dangerous wounds. The recovery of Frederick Seward is doubtful.

It is not probable that the President will live throughout the night.

Gen. Grant and wife were advertised to be at the theatre this evening, but he started to Burlington at 6 o’clock this evening.

At a Cabinet meeting at which Gen. Grant was present, the subject of the state of the country and the prospect of a speedy peace was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, and spoke very kindly of Gen. Lee and others of the Confederacy, and of the establishment of government in Virginia.

All the members of the Cabinet except Mr. Seward are now in attendance upon the President.

I have seen Mr. Seward, but he and Frederick were both unconscious.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

1. The underlined word mortal means
  1. recuperative.
  2. painful. 
  3. fatal. 
  4. risky.
2. What is a likely purpose for including so many headlines at the start of the article?
  1. to quickly convey the most important information about a significant event
  2. to sensationalize a front-page news story
  3. to incite panic in readers
  4. to fill empty space on the page
3. Who is the author of this article?
  1. The New York Times
  2. Edwin M. Stanton
  3. Frederick Seward 
  4. Major Rathburn
4. Write a summary of the article.




5. What is implied by the following sentence?
It is hoped the wounds may not be mortal. My apprehension is that they will prove fatal.
  1. Those involved with the events are hopeful for a positive outcome.
  2. There is no hope that Seward or Lincoln will recover from their wounds.
  3. The writer is pessimistic about whether Seward will recover from his wounds.
  4. The writer is doubtful about the legitimacy of accounts regarding the night’s events.


1. C: Based on the sentence that follows the one in which “mortal” appears, it can be inferred that this word is describing the president’s wound as fatal: The wound is mortal. The President has been insensible ever since it was inflicted, and is now dying.

2. A: This article has eight headlines, each containing more specific information than the one that comes before. Though some of the information presented in the headlines is clearly opinion, the overall message that is being communicated is informational: Lincoln was shot at Ford’s theater; he’s still alive, but not expected to survive. An attempt was also made on Secretary Seward’s life.

3. B: The notation at the beginning of the article lets the reader know that the information provided is an official communication from the government. There is no author indicated at the beginning of the article. This is something that is included in most newspaper articles. However, the article is written in the first person, and the identity of the author is revealed at the end:

I have seen Mr. Seward, but he and Frederick were both unconscious.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

Two of the answer choices reference people mentioned in the article. Finally, The New York Times is the publisher, not the author.

4. A good summary of the article would be something close to this: President Lincoln was shot by an assassin at Ford’s Theater; the president is not expected to survive. Secretary Seward and his son were also attacked by an assassin at their home this evening. They remain unconscious, and their chances of survival are questionable. General Grant was scheduled to be at the theater, but changed his plans and was not harmed by the evening’s events.

5. C:The first sentence expresses hope that the wounds inflicted upon Seward are not so severe that he would not be able to recover. The second sentence expresses the writer’s fear that this hope may be misplaced, and it conveys that he is anxious about Seward’s fate.