Questions 1 – 5 are based on the following:
Joey wanted to learn more about the U.S. Coast Guard, and chose it as his topic when his teacher asked each student to write an informational essay. A draft of his essay follows.
(1) The United States Coast Guard was founded in 1790 as the branch of military service responsible for safeguarding the country’s sea-related interests. (2) It was originally created to protect the U.S. from smugglers, and to enforce tariff and trade laws. (3) It may seem like this would be a job for the Navy, but the purpose of the Navy is very different from that of the Coast Guard. (4) The Navy’s job is to engage in combat and defend the seas from threats to the U.S. and its interests worldwide. (5) The Coast Guard is actually a part of the Department of Homeland Security, and is considered a federal law enforcement agency. (6) Its mission is to protect and enforce laws on our coastlines and in our ports, and to safeguard other interests within American waters.
(7) In addition to its role as a maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard also serves as a guardian of the environment. (8) This includes stopping waste and other types of pollution from being dumped into the ocean, preventing and helping to clean up oil spills, and even ensuring that species of marine life that could threaten the balance of existing environments are prevented from being introduced. (9) This is a very important job for the Coast Guard, because there would not be much of a coastline to protect if our seas were too polluted to enjoy and sustain us.
(10) On the whole, Coast Guard personnel perform the following in a single day: save 12 lives; respond to 64 search and rescue cases; keep 842 pounds of cocaine off the streets; service 116 buoys and fix 24 discrepancies; screen 720 commercial vessels, and 183,000 crew and passengers; issue 173 credentials to merchant mariners; investigate 13 marine accidents; inspect 68 containers and 29 vessels for compliance with air emissions standards; perform 28 safety and environmental examinations of foreign vessels; board 13 fishing boats to ensure compliance with fisheries laws; and respond and investigate 10 pollution incidents.
(11) In addition to the day-to-day role of the Coast Guard, this branch of service also plays an important role in many large-scale and humanitarian operations. (12) In 2010, the Coast Guard launched a mission to provide assistance directly following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. (13) It was there in response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion that caused the dumping of millions of gallons of crude oil in to the Gulf of Mexico. (14) It was there to seize $80 million worth of cocaine out of the hands of smugglers.
1. Which paragraph establishes the subject and context of this article?
- paragraph 1
- paragraph 2
- paragraph 3
- paragraph 4
2. Write a sentence that if placed before sentence 10, would create a better transition from the second paragraph to the third paragraph.
3. Adding which of the following sentences to paragraph 3 would make it more credible?
- This information comes from the official Coast Guard Web site.
- The average age of Coast Guard members is 28.
- The Coast Guard has a long history of service.
- There are 33,200 enlisted Coast Guard members.
4. Which of the following would be the best conclusion for this essay?
- There is much more that we can learn about the Coast Guard. To list all of the great things about this organization would take all day. The opportunities available to members of the Coast Guard are endless, and we should all consider becoming a “Coastie.”
- Being a “Coastie” would be the fulfillment of anyone’s dreams. Who wouldn’t want a career that is full of adventure and honor? There is no better job that a person could pursue as their life’s work.
- The Coast Guard is a very diverse and exciting branch of the U.S. military. Though many may not believe it is as important as the Navy, the Army, the Marines, or the Air Force, it’s plain to see that the Coast Guard plays a vital role in ensuring our nation’s security and prosperity.
- The Coast Guard provides little support toward defending our nation from threats, as its members are always so close to home. Greater purpose can be found in a different branch of service. The threats that the Coast Guard faces are insignificant when compared to those faced by the Army, the Navy, the Marines, or the Air Force.
5. Joey’s teacher likes his essay, but wants him to revise it so that it focuses more on the role of the Coast Guard in U.S. history. Which of the following would be the best place for him to look to find out what the Coast Guard did to protect our shores during World War II?
- The Greatest Battles of WWII documentary from the History Channel
- An article entitled “U.S. Coast Guard Combat Victories of World War II” on the official Coast Guard Web site
- An entry entitled “World War II” found in the Encyclopedia Britannica
- An article entitled “History of the United States Navy” found on Wikipedia
1. A: This paragraph establishes that the U.S. Coast Guard is being discussed in an informational context. The other paragraphs provide supporting details.
2. A good sentence would be “Enforcement of laws and protection of the environment are just two of the many responsibilities that a member of the Coast Guard (or “Coastie”) can expect to have in the line of duty.” Sentence 10 basically provides a laundry list of things that Coast Guard members do on a daily basis.
3. A: Paragraph 3 gives information about what the Coast Guard does in an average day, but there is no indication as to where this very specific information comes from. Adding a line saying that the information came from the official Coast Guard Web site would add credibility.
4. C: This answer choice best sums up the information in this essay, and rounds out the writer’s discussion about the organization as a whole. Answers A and B talk about the Coast Guard as a career, which isn’t a theme in this essay. Answer D contradicts the information and ideas in the essay.
5. B: This source is the most reliable, and will provide the most relevant information. The other sources are either too broad or unrelated to the assigned topic.