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Unit Test for Avi's Nothing But the Truth

By Peter Boysen

This test uses identification and short-answer questions to assess student learning and comprehension of Avi's documentary novel about a boy who tells a tiny lie and watches it grow to the point where he has to leave his school. Designed for regular and Pre-AP 7th grade students.

Roles and Significance

Write the ROLE (who they are) and SIGNIFICANCE (what specific lesson we can learn from them) for SIX of these characters: (5 points each)

  1. Ted Griffen
  2. Allison Doresett
  3. Mr. Malloy
  4. Dr. Doane
  5. Miss Narwin
  6. Mr. Lunser
  7. Dr. Palleni
  8. Mr. Seymour

Note to Teacher: In this section, you want to be sure to give partial credit. For example, students may miss a particular character's significance but get the role correct. Also, they may get the role and some of the significance, but not all of it, so you might give 4 points instead of 5 for that answer. In my classes, if students want to do more than the required number, I'll take their best answers, but if you are on a tight time frame as far as grading, you can tell them you will only read their first six if they do more than the required number.

Key Questons

Answer the following Nothing But The Truth questions.10 points each.

1. What is the reason for Philip’s conflict with Miss Narwin? How does Ted Griffen use this conflict for his own benefit?

2. How is the story’s ending ironic?

3. What is the actual truth behind Philip’s suspension from school?

4. How are Mr. Seymour’s priorities different than the other people who work in the school system?

5. Why do you think that Philip’s story is more interesting, and therefore more newsworthy, than Miss Narwin’s? Give specific details.

6. Why do you think that the school budget failed to pass? Give specific details.

7. Based on his description, what is Dr. Palleni’s personality like? Give specific details.

Note to Teacher: For this section, I would have students answer in complete sentences. In my expereince, seventh graders believe that a phrase beginning with the word "that" or "because" constitutes a complete sentence, which gets them in trouble when they take the state writing assessment the same year. Also, when you evaluate student responses, be sure to focus on how well the student supports opinions with text evidence.