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This task is about listening and recalling information.
Listen to the poem about a hedgehog and answer the questions.


a) What, according to the poem, can signal danger to a hedgehog?
    • The scent of an approaching human.

    • An absence of movement.

    • A person's shuffling walk.

    • The sound of a breaking twig.


b) Why did the writer turn the hedgehog over?
    • To stop it pricking him.

    • To look into the hedgehog's eyes.

    • To try to be friendly.

    • To see if it was all right.


c) What does the "coat of lances" refer to?
    • Blades of grass.

    • The hedgehog's spines.

    • Cracked twigs.

    • The hedgehog's clenched claws.


d) What did the writer want to do at this meeting with the hedgehog?
    • Show he was interested in it.

    • Help it find its way out of his garden.

    • Protect it from its enemies.

    • Communicate with it.


e) What did the hedgehog's eyes reveal?
    • fear

    • interest

    • alarm

    • nothing


f) The hedgehog showed awareness of the writer's presence by
    • moving near to the writer.

    • looking in the writer's direction.

    • letting the writer turn it over.

    • stopping suddenly.

Task administration: 

This task can be completed by pencil and paper or online (with auto-marking).

In order to follow the same procedure as the resource trial, and thereby ensure the reliability of the difficulty estimates, we suggest you follow these instructions.

  • Hand out the student sheets which should be turned upside down until you have finished reading the passage.
  • Say: "This is a test of your listening skills. I will read the passage and then you will answer questions about it. Listen carefully."
  • Read the introduction and passage. (Please note the suggested reading time of the text is 40 seconds).
  • Say: "Now turn over your sheet. Listen to each question and circle the best possible answer. Circle only one answer per question. If you wish to change your answer, cross out your first answer and circle your new answer."
  • Read out each question and set of options with an approximately 10 second gap between each question.
  • Except in the case of a significant interruption, read each part of the passage and each question and its options only once.

This poem tells about a brief meeting between the poet and a hedgehog he found in his garden.


Over the grass a hedgehog came
Questing the air for scents of food
And the cracked twig of danger.
He shuffled near in the gloom. Then stopped.
He was aware of me. I went up,
Bent low to look at him, and saw
His coat of lances pointing to my hand
What could I do
To show I was no enemy?
I turned him over, inspected his small clenched paws,
His eyes expressionless as glass,
And did not know how I could speak,
By tongue, or touch, the language of a friend.

Source: Extract from 'Hedgehog in an Air Raid', from 'The Axe in the Wood' by Clifford Dyment.
J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd: London 1944.

Curriculum info: 
Description of task: 
A brief poem about hedgehogs is read to students who then answer retrieval and inferential questions.


Y10 (08/2000)


The sound of a breaking twig.



To try to be friendly.



The hedgehog's spines.



Communicate with it.






stopping suddenly.