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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Sharpen Your Pencils!

Sharpen Your Pencils!

It’s that time of year again. Across California, including here in Ukiah, students and teachers are getting ready for the annual ritual of standardized testing. Are you feeling nostalgic for those days? Wondering how well you’d perform on these tests? Well, do I have a treat for you! Here are five sample test questions from the California standardized English language and math exams for fifth graders. Want to test your skills? I’ll even give you a score (and maybe a prize!). Go sharpen your #2 pencil and find a piece of scratch paper. Ready? Begin.

1) Select the sentence that does NOT use verb tense correctly.  A) Mia asked her sister, “Have you seen my new book? I set it right here on the counter after school.” B) “Mia, I have not seen your book, but I believe that you probably put it somewhere and forgot about it,” her sister explained. C) Mia frowned and replied, “If I had put my book somewhere else, I would not have forget it!”

2) Read the sentence from the text. “Day after day he thought about it, and evening after evening he sat by his grandmother’s fireside and watched the thin, white vapor come out of the teakettle and lose itself in the yawning black throat of the chimney.”  What effect does the author create by using the phrase yawning black throat of the chimney? A) It gives the feeling that steam is very important. B) It gives the feeling that the chimney is very dark and frightening. C) It gives the feeling of being tired and sleepy. D) It gives the feeling that the chimney is very large and wide and swallows the steam.

3) Marshall is using a calculator to multiply 5426 and 30. He enters 5426 x 300 by mistake. What can Marshall do to correct his mistake? A) Add 270 to the product. B) Subtract 270 from the product. C) Multiply the product by 10. D) Divide the product by 10.

4) Justin is packing a container with books. The dimensions of each book are 8 inches by 6 inches by 2 inches. The dimensions of the container are 16 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches. All of the books and the container are rectangular prisms. Part A: How many books can fit in the container if the books are packed so that there is no unused space in the container? Part B: Each book weighs 2 pounds. The maximum weight the container can hold is 40 pounds. What is the greatest number of books that can fit in the container without going over the container’s weight limit?

5) Juana multiplies a number, n, by a two-digit number. Which statement is true? A) When n is a one-digit number, the product will always have three digits. B) When n is a two-digit number, the product will have four or five digits. C) When n is a three-digit number, the product will always have four digits. D) When n is a four-digit number, the product will have five or six digits.

Did you finish? Are you feeling proud of yourself? Or maybe alarmed? Hopefully, you are also feeling amazed and impressed by what our fifth graders are expected to learn and accomplish. Now, here’s the fun part! Email your test answers to me at All entries with the correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card to a local Ukiah coffee shop. And as always, feel free to share whatever thoughts you may have about Ukiah schools. I’d love to hear from you, even if you failed the test!