Florida standardized science tests are a disaster

Florida students and their teachers are held to account based the scores on the high-stakes FCAT tests. School funding is partially contingent on test performance. Robert Krampf, a Florida science educator, has been reviewing the test-prep materials given to teachers in order to refine his own curriculum and prepare his students.

However, the test-prep materials were very poor. They consist of multiple-choice questions with more than one correct answer. For example: "This sample question offers the following observations, and asks which is scientifically testable: 1 The petals of red roses are softer than the petals of yellow roses; 2 The song of a mockingbird is prettier than the song of a cardinal; 3 Orange blossoms give off a sweeter smell than gardenia flowers; 4 Sunflowers with larger petals attract more bees than sunflowers with smaller petals."

The curriculum guide says that the correct answer is 4, but 1 and 3 are also correct. Krampf asked FLDOE's Test Development Center for clarification, and the Center told him that although the question had three answers, only one was "correct" in the context of the curriculum -- that is, students would only have learned about testing 1, and not about the chemistry needed to test 3, or the observational methodologies to test 4. This is just dumb. It means that the test doesn't distinguish between students who misunderstand the curriculum, students who are making guesses, and students who have progressed beyond the curriculum. In other words, the test can't tell you anything useful about the students' understanding or the teachers' methodology.

The question about isn't an isolated example, apparently. Krampf reports finding many examples like this from all parts of the test, some of which weren't just bad test-design, but factually incorrect; for example, the test defines a "predator" as "An organism that obtains nutrients from other organisms." As Krampf points out, "By that definition, cows are predators because they obtain nutrients from plants. The plants are predators too, since they obtain nutrients from decaying remains of other organisms."

I wonder how many students got "wrong" answers on the FCAT because their teachers taught them too much. How many "F" schools would have higher grades if those scientifically correct "wrong" answers were counted as correct answers. How many "B" schools would get the extra funding that "A" schools get, if those scientifically correct "wrong" answers were counted as correct answers?

We may never know the answers to those questions. The Test Item Specifications are the guidelines that are used to write the test questions. If the Science FCAT test is reviewed by the same Content Advisory Committee that reviewed the Test Item Specifications, then it probably has similar errors. But as much as I would LOVE to check the accuracy of the questions from the actual Science FCAT, I can't. Teachers, scientists, and the general public are not allowed to see actual test questions, even after the tests have been graded and the penalties for those grades have been imposed.

Standardized testing is usually a mess. High-stakes standardized testing is usually a bigger mess. But even by those standards, the FCAT science tests are a disaster, and the lack of transparency and accountability in them means that they're doomed to fail Florida's students for a long time to come.

Problems with Florida's Science FCAT Test? (via /.)

(Image: Dunce, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from scjn's photostream)


  1. “You can only pass this test if you are as stupid as we are.”

    Please someone grind these small-minded troglodytes down into pink slime.

    1.  Damn straight.

      The number of tests I’ve sat that were obviously made of fail pisses me off immensely. How the flying fuck are you meant to meaningfully test people if the person designing the test isn’t intelligent enough to say, correctly parse grammar for example?

      Surely such folks should be at least as smart as 98% of the people sitting the test.

      I once got robbed for 100% on a statistics and symbolic logic test because I answered the question exactly as it was written, ie I provided the requested ‘any’ values rather than all values as my lecturer expected me to ascertain via ESP or something.

    1. State and Federal programs like “No Child Left Behind” seek to fix the shortcomings in public education by linking school funding with test scores, and have introduced ever-more tests to measure student success. Which is kind of like trying to fix your car by stopping to check the fluid levels every hour or so (but not actually topping them off or going to a mechanic).

      The people tasked with administering these tests generally hate them as much as anyone, if not more. But if they refuse they’ll be out of a job.

      1. And it’s worth noting that “trying to fix your car by stopping to check the fluid levels every hour or so (but not actually topping them off or going to a mechanic)” isn’t just ineffective. Chances are it’s going to be a lot more expensive to fix in the long run.

      2. So, the tests identify schools that are in need of extra assistance and funding to help their pupils achieve good academic results, and then reduces their funding?

        To extend your metaphor, that’s like stopping to check the fluid levels, and adding more wiper fluid because the wiper tank is full (“good wiper tank, here’s your reward”), but not adding more oil because the oil level is low (“bad oil pan, no oil for you”).  That oughta work.

      3. Since schools have now become educational factories and any means of personally evaluating students has disappeared, the only way to assure the quality of the product, the educated student, is to give standardized tests. It always has been a growing distasteful trend; after all, isn’t this what SATs and ACTs have been all about?

      4. Actually the metaphore would be more accurate as “kind of like trying to fix your car by stopping to check the fluid levels every hour or so (but only spending money on car maintenance if everything looks good)”.

  2. One of the best things about teaching college (as opposed to teaching at a public elementary school, as my wife does) is that I don’t have to use standardized tests in my curriculum. At most I might throw in a quiz now and then to make sure my students have a working understanding of basic terminology. If you think standardized tests are annoying for students and parents, imagine the frustration of most teachers.

    1. Just wait. The articles I have been reading about how universities should be responsible for the percent of freshmen who actually graduate are just the tip of the “accountability” movement that will soon overtake higher ed. How soon do you think it will be before someone dictates a “Common Core” for college degrees, or exit exams mandated by the fed or state governments, or basing your evaluation on the test scores of your students?

  3. *ahem*…So they are just realizing this NOW? If they bother to look, I’m sure there will be no surprise to learn that California’s tests (Which are under way this week) are just as fucking stupid. The questions….are based on the perceived curriculum, not on whether the answers are correct or not…& do not take into account teachers who went outside the curriculum and actually taught something.  The tests are a joke & they cannot be used as an indicator of anything….except how idiotic the people who designed them are.

    1. The California Real Estate exam never throws out a question.  So they still have old questions with wrong answers.  Which may show up on your exam along with the new question on the same subject with the new, correct answer.  The way that you prep for the exam is by rote memorization of 1,500 questions and answers.  Yay licensing scams!

  4. I think 2 is also possibly correct.   Assuming people prefer things that they consider pretty, you could define a metric for ‘prettier’ by taking a sample population, playing the bird songs in random order, and asking which they prefer, or think is prettier.  Then look for statistically significant outcomes.  Even “neither was significantly prettier than the other” is a result.  And you could look at things like “Most women prefer x and most men prefer y”, “Older people prefered x two to one…” and so on.

    1.  Except that “prettier” is in part a social construct (hence the range of available music, from twee to peculiar) . Thus, depending on your sample population, “prettier” could mean all sorts of things, and in this case what you would be testing would not be the birdsongs, but instead the sample  populations.

      1. Sure, but the key here is “in part”.

        Figure out what aspects are universal and/or near-universal and bingo.

        What are the aural equivalents of symmetry and the golden ratio etc? Seems an interesting question.

      2.  Prettier (in terms of sounds) is not entirely a social construct. It also has to do with the structure of our auditory organs and brains. There has already been cross-cultural research done into emotional responses to different kinds of music. I think there’s plenty of room to do valid research into the prettiness of birdsong.

    2. Answer 2 as stated is false, but one could restate a related question in a scientifically testable way. A survey asking “which do you find prettier” would not be testing an intrinsic property of the roses, though, but rather the psychology of the observers.

    3. No, you’re quite correct, it can most certainly be tested scientifically.  To take sound and wavelength data and determine which sounds, patterns, pitch, tone, etc… produce a greater hotspot on fMRI of known centers of pleasurable experiences in the brain.  The only thing the question tests is the imagination and understanding of science of the test creator. 

    4. Well the problem comes from the vagueness of the question, which is the point of the article after all.   It says “This sample question offers the following observations, and asks which is scientifically testable”, i.e., is it possible to ‘test’ that “The song of a mockingbird is prettier than the song of a cardinal”?

      If we consider ‘prettier’ as a social construct (Arguably that is, there are probably some aestheticians out there who might disagree) then for a given social population, which could even be ‘all humans’, we should be able to “test” whether or not a majority of people, given human-kind’s possibly wide variances in aesthetics and interpretation of the construct “pretty”, nonetheless think a mockingbird’s song is prettier.  In that sense it would be prettier in that a majority of people think it is more pretty than the other song.

      That statement is therefore testable and we can subject it to scientific conclusions based on statistics.  The individual’s responses are just data, not a conclusion in themselves. “De gustibus non disputandum est”, after all.  But once we get enough data together we get a sense that one really can be more “pretty” than the other in a meaningful way.  Possibly untrue for individuals, but true for society as a whole.

      This is separate from any sort of ontological aesthetic conclusion; that one song is fundamentally and intrinsically ‘prettier’ in its very being, even if humans did not exist to recognize it.  This gets into whether ‘beauty’ is intrinsic, and if so, how can we describe it, how do we recognize it, why don’t we all just agree automatically that one is ‘prettier’, and so on.  That would be difficult, if not impossible to prove scientifically, even if it could possibly exist philosophically.

    5.  Yeah, I was thinking that.

      Pretty has a generally-accepted definition that’s only somewhat subject to variation and can be tested for.

  5. “The song of a mockingbird is prettier than the song of a cardinal”

    That’s extremely testable.  Social scientists test broad-based perceptual phenomena like these every day.

    1. That is subject to dispute.  Many scientists believe that a distinction should be made between “surveyable” phenomena that are inherently non-objective, and “testable” phenomena that can be assessed without human judgement.  It seems a useful distinction, to me, well worth making – so personally I would say social scientists “survey” these things rather than “test” them.

      You, of course, may say whatever you like!

  6. Here’s the thing…soft is a determination of value, just as describing something as “prettier” or “sweeter”. The fourth statement suggests an observable trait in sunflowers and can be scientifically tested. 

    1.  No, soft and sweet are scientifically testable qualities. Your perception of either maybe subjective, but the amount the sweetness or hardness of a thing has is a perfectly objective thing.

      1.  The point of that research is that proper interpretation of those experiments needs careful analysis, NOT that it’s no better than phrenology.

      2.  Hardness and sweetness ARE perceptions.  Just because some scientist defines some measurement as meaning ‘hard’ or ‘sweet’ doesn’t mean that it really is sweet or hard.  The so called objective measurement is a tautology: I define the quality of hardness as a reading on some meter.  Therefore, I call it hard if it gets a certain score.  But, if no one perceives that as hard, then it isn’t hard.

        So, I could do the same thing with prettiness of bird song.  I play a lot of bird songs to people, and ask them which ones are the prettiest.  Then, I abstract from that the sonic qualities that define prettiness, then I measure those sonic properties and declare the one that has them the prettiest.  Same thing.

        Also, there appear to be species-universal evolved preferences for various things that we view as physically attractive (landscapes, people).   No reason to suppose that there aren’t also universal preferences for song.

    2. Scientists measure how soft or sweet things are all the time, they have to choose a particular type of measurement to quantify it. That’s just as true for a petal being “large” – you could measure length, width, or area, different portions, and so on. It doesn’t matter because in each case the measurements will generally reflect the same underlying results.

    3. As a scientist, I think the key point to get across is the importance and methodology of defining testable metrics.  The FCAT question seems poorly written and misleading with respect to that critical concept, but I agree that a very clever student should get what they mean and choose (d).

      As far as the technical correctness of (a,b), I see no reason to call them untestable.  In fact, from the standpoint of some industries, measurements like that are what science is all about.  There are metrics for hardness, like the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and identifying what basic metrics underlie our perception of the softness of flower petals could be extremely valuable for luxury goods industries.  I’ll bet a lot of kids (particularly low income?) will have heard that “splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar”, equal is 200 times sweeter, etc., based on dilution tests.

    4. DuPont’s engineering department, when I worked there, had several instruments that measured hardness and softness.  There are different scales depending on what your application is – metals, for example, are measured on the Rockwell scale of hardness using a diamond bit, but leather goods are measured by deflection of material in millimeters when pressed with a calibrated probe.   Medical measurements of the softness of tissues are done yet another way.

    5. I agree.  Arguing that there are feasible metrics for “prettier” or “sweeter” is like refusing to answer a physics problem because there’s no such thing as a frictionless plane in a perfect vacuum, or something.  Within the scope of the question, the fourth statement is considerably more correct than the others.

      1. Tests shouldn’t be about being “more correct,” unless it’s a test about semantics.  In a science test, there should be a clear correct answer, but the test makers are too lazy to even consider the questions they’re posing.  In testing, the wrong answers are just as important as the right ones.

  7. I’ve heard a lot of negativity expressed about standardized testing, but it honestly never occurred to me that there would be a significant problem with tests just being straight-up wrong.

    I expect subtler problems, like teaching the test, or punishing the schools that most need resources to improve – those are problems I can understand. This monstrosity – where knowing information that’s not on the curriculum is actually an impediment – I find this kind of shocking.

    1. Clearly you have not been perusing children’s “educational” materials.   What Krampf is showing you is not at all exceptional, at least from my reading of my kids’ tests and papers.

      1. I agree.  Just yesterday I told my youngest “if I – as an intelligent, well-educated adult – cannot figure out which multiple-choice option a 4th grade workbook is looking for as the right answer, then the question is not well written.”  I’ve had issues with that particular workbook all year.  To their credit, the kids in that class all recognize its educational weakness as well.

  8. The notion that these tests are sabotaging student’s scores seems to me misguided. My experience has been that tests designed like this are in fact dead simple since answering “correctly” requires no knowledge more significant than being able to recognize which item on the menu of choices most resembles the class material. It is more likely that the design of the test has inflated the student’s scores, since no genuine understanding of the topic is likely required to provide answers. That this kind of educational practice serves no need other than promulgating a thoughtless obedience to authority is, however, certainly true.

    1. The notion that these tests are sabotaging student’s scores seems to me misguided. My experience has been that tests designed like this are in fact dead simple since answering “correctly” requires no knowledge more significant than being able to recognize which item on the menu of choices most resembles the class material.

      That’s exactly the point Krampf and Cory are making: students who are taught more than the test prep material are likely to score worse.

    2. I don’t believe the children are necessarily told to only respond based on what they’ve learned in class, and I don’t see how that would work anyway. What if a student happens to know much more about, say, the scientific method than what was taught in school? Is a third grader supposed to understand how to respond based on what he’s supposed to remember as “class material,” filtering out anything he picked up from reading books on his own, watching documentaries, etc.? This essentially begs kids to stick to class material and avoid letting any extra learning in, lest they flunk the test due to too much outside knowledge. It’s the ultimate “teaching to the test,” actually punishing kids for knowing more than what they got from classroom test prep. 

      1. Yes, it does encourage children to heed only the kind of things that are taught in classes that will end up on tests. Which is what they end up doing and instructors teaching to the test can pretty easily train students to recognize the prompts and the types of answers. In later years these students learn to just constantly question their teachers about what will be on their finals, because getting that kind of prompting is an incredibly successful strategy for performing in the school environment.

        Your supposition, “What if the children know more?” is basically something you and the author of the article just made up. Can you establish that there is in fact a large population of students taught beyond the basic curriculum? Yes, it would be nice for those students to exist, but do they really? When positing the real impact of the test design on educational outcomes and scores, you need to grapple with the students as they are, not as you like to imagine them to be. I agree, that designing the answers in contradiction of actual fact is amazing in its open abandonment of even the pretense of fostering knowledge in students.

        I am arguing not that this is a good idea, but that the actual impact on the students and their test scores is not likely to be congruous with that proposed by the author of the article. I just do not think the impact on scores is what the original author posits. These kinds of tests are easier, easier to teach to, and easier to take. They don’t require a real understanding of the material in order to pass. That is the real problem, not that they potentially penalize knowledge, but that they don’t even particularly care about its acquisition.

        1. Ha! We didn’t make up the fact that kids can know more than what they learn in the classroom. Families go to museums and kids do read books. There are entire “gifted and talented” programs in schools designed to serve kids with advanced knowledge. I’m not saying the cohort is so huge as to throw off test results, just that these children might actually get a lousier score on a test like this than a kid who has less knowledge. The tests are idiotic. 

          I never said kids with extra knowledge are the only issue here. I only pointed out that they could potentially do quite poorly on a test like this, since it is designed for kids who learn nothing outside the classroom. I’m guessing you don’t have a child in a US public school or you wouldn’t be so blasé about kids being taught nothing and then being tested on that. 

          1.  I think you are focusing only on a disagreement of analysis and prediction, because I’m not sure how the following statement could be considered blasé with respect to the quality of education this represents: “That this kind of educational practice serves no need other than
            promulgating a thoughtless obedience to authority is, however, certainly

            I’ll also point out that the families that go to museums, read books, and get their children into gifted programs? Correlate quite well with the people with the personal and financial resources to teach their children how to game tests like this. These tests aren’t really penalizing those kids in the fashion you or the author of the article indicate. Those kids and their schools are the ones that do just fine under these testing regimes.

          2. Correlate quite well with the people with the personal and financial resources to teach their children how to game tests like this.

            You’re simply wrong here.  In my experience, once kids get burned for knowing more than the test a few times, they decide tests are stupid.  Maybe some worry about “gaming” them, but others are too busy learning real things to care.

            And, of course, not caring about tests is only a good outcome if everyone else understands they’re stupid. Even if there were a loose correlation, a metric that measures the wrong thing is always a problem.

        2. If knowing more and being smarter could lead any students to select “incorrect” answers, the test questions are flawed. Yes, those students exist. I was one. I know many others. Contrary to popular belief, kids – particularly smart kids – learn a great deal that they weren’t taught in class. For many of them nearly all of their learning comes from outside school.

          Asking whether this affects the scores of most students is begging the questions of: “are the questions valid in the first place?” and “does the test accurately measure the knowledge it purports to measure?” If not, then corporal punishment is in order for the administrators and developers.

  9. I agree that all four are conceivably  testable, although few kids would know that social scientists can create systems to rate seemingly subjective things like beauty. This testing phenom, btw, is hardly new. I remember coming across questions like this all the time as a high-school student in New Jersey. It is dumb, and it was annoying as hell. I learned to get the questions right by figuring out how the stupid test-takers wanted you to answer. It’s pretty lame that a kid should have to make that assumption. 

  10. This is just psychometric malpractice. Question validation is a crucial part of developing  any professionally standardized test.

    The sad thing is that with item-response theory and Rasch measures we have the ability to easily vet large pools of questions and determine their validity and difficulty on not just the one dimension of adherence to a (terribly flawed) curriculum, but as many different dimensions as there are kinds of knowledge. Unfortunately the educrats developing these tests rarely understand even cookbook statistics, let alone modern methods.

    Education PhD.s don’t even really know much about any academic subject, it’s just an echo chamber of fads and content-free blathering for apparatchiks who just aren’t smart enough to get any kind of real degree.

    Edit: Yes, education grad students are not all that smart. GRE scores for ed majors intending to go into “evaluation/research”: 451Verbal 531Quantitative. The other 8 types of ed majors are within 30-40 points, generally lower than ed research majors, filling most of the spots on the bottom of the list of averages for majors on both tests. This 982 total GRE is about equal to 15sd IQ of 110, ~74th percentile for the general population. (s.d. ~=100points for each part of the GRE) Anyone with a high school math education who actually understood most of the material should be able to get over 600Q. Even math majors, not known for being particularly verbally intelligible, get over 500Verbal average (13th of 50 among majors), over half a standard deviation better than ed research majors.

    1.  They exist to staff the schools of education that teach the content free classes that public school teachers take in order to secure raises and promotions.

  11. The curriculum guide says that the correct answer is 4, but 1 and 3 are also correct … students would only have learned about testing 1, and not about the chemistry needed to test 3, or the observational methodologies to test 4.

    Someone needs to fix the numbers in the second sentence there.

  12. This could not be more accurate.  I was hired to teach Elementary Music in an “F” school in Florida but am scheduled to spend 40% of my week pulling students for test prep.  I have been nothing short of completely freaked out by these exact issues.  Just today a colleague said “So how are they doing on the FCAT this week?” and I told her straight up that, based upon what I’m seeing, they’re gonna bomb. Didn’t go over well.

  13. Good Lord….back in the 70s in high school I had a kick-ass biology teacher fresh out of Uni. She treated us juniors like college kids and cracked the whip on us and the chemistry teacher rocked as well. We understood scientific methodology plain and simple. There would have been plenty of us who would have read this question and blown our stacks trying to convince the test giver that it was shit.

    How is that shit has gotten so much dumber??

  14. I know everyone complains about standardized testing in schools, but surely it is possible to create a standardized test that isn’t awful.

    And while this test is awful, if it is just used for gaining money and doesn’t reflect at all on the student, then no matter how bad this test is, as long as everyone does poorly, it shouldn’t have much of an effect.

    1.  Yes, good tests are possible. The problem is politics (in the big state and ETS tests) and profit (in the testing centers such as Pearson and Sylvan). Scientific and mathematical methods are subjugated to evil, stupid bureaucracies in both cases. In test development  there can be no substitute for knowledge and intelligence of the test developers, but the decisions end up being made by organizations with a collective IQ of negative mud.

    2. Good Multiple choice exams are very difficult and time consuming to compose. The advantage is in the ease of administering to a large number of people and rapid results. 

      However it appears some idiots believe this is not the case and that they should be prepared without thought or review.

    3. Even a perfect test would not avoid the problem that attempts at incentivizing good performance will beat down those schools that most need a hand up.  

      Worse yet, poverty tends to be pretty rough on children’s academic performance.  This means that even if those educators are doing their absolute best, they can be fighting an uphill battle.  It also means that standardized testing serves as a way, intentional or not, of screwing kids in the poor neighborhoods.

  15. “The curriculum guide says that the correct answer is 4, but 1 and 3 are also correct. Kampf asked FLDOE’s Test Development Center for clarification, and the Center told him that although the question had three answers, only one was “correct” in the context of the curriculum — that is, students would only have learned about testing 1, and not about the chemistry needed to test 3, or the observational methodologies to test 4.”

    They’re looking for the answer to be 4 but claim students won’t have the observational methodologies to think it’s the correct answer?  Are they purposefully attempting to have their students score low? The question made my brain hurt and their attempt to excuse it away twisted the knife.

  16. Doesn’t this all just mean they’ve got it right? Is my understanding correct – that the worse the school performs on the test, the less funding they get? If so, then the schools who get higher scores because they actually understand less science will get the funding they need to better understand the scientific method. Then they’ll perform worse, because they’re better at science and so don’t need the funding any more.

    1.  My understanding is that it’s pretty much pass- fail for schools. Get most kids up to the bare minimum as assessed on these faulty tests, and you keep your funding. No credit for kids who learn more, no penalty for failing to teach kids who could do more, so long as the average student passes the faulty tests.

  17. All standardized tests are a disaster. Unless you’re aiming for enforced mediocrity, that is: in which case, they’re the gold standard.

  18. This is not news to science teachers all over the country who have to deal with standardized tests. Even in states with good prep materials there are always some questions that either are blatantly wrong, have more than one answer, or more onerously, ask questions that only worldly children of upper middle class families would be able to confidently answer.

    also – during test prep teachers mostly focus on how to think like the exam writer (for example, if the question says x then the answer is likely going to be y) instead of teaching students actual science skills.  If you’ve ever taken any SAT or GRE test prep courses you’d understand.

  19. Seems to me the most glaring issue this article brings up is that these tests are secret.  The only people that know what is on the test are the students taking it and the company that creates and grades it.  There is no accountability here.  Tests should be made public as the schools have finished administering them.

  20. If one assumes the purpose of the test is to fail as many students and schools to reduce funding for public ed and “force” the state government to find private sector crony capitalism “alternatives” to “educate” young people, the test serves its purpose well. We are rapidly moving to a 2 tier educational system, a privatized tax-funded McSchool ‘teach to the test’ environment for people whose lives will be marginal and REAL education for future managers and professionals.

  21. I worked as a temp at McGraw-Hill, which grades these tests for Florida and Indiana and some other states. I was fired for refusing to mark zeros for the 10% of the kids who had found a more correct answer to the question I was grading. That was 6 years ago, and I haven’t had a regular job since. The “correct” answer was 36.4 centimeters, but the better answer was 36 centimeters, because the instructions specified “give your answer in centimeters.”

  22. This has probably been asked and answered before, but why do under-performing schools get dinged on money? Isn’t that like shooting a sinking ship? Wouldn’t you want to invest more to try to shore up the school, educate the kids better, etc etc? I understand the other side of the argument, that giving them money is like polishing a turd or waste of money.

  23. About 6000 years ago, God created the heavens and the earth in: 
    A. 5 days
    B. 6 days
    C. 7 days
    D. 8 days

    See you at the final!

  24. Just from one science teacher’s perspective. We teach that “scientists like” quantitative observations more than qualitative observations. AND it must be easily testable WITHOUT bias. So the answer that is labeled number 4 is the only one that is clearly testable without bias. Just to make sure, I gave this to my 3 seventh grade science classes in Georgia. I have 31 in my first class, 29 in second and 31 in my third class. (my other classes are social studies with the same students). Of the 91 students who answered this as their “ticket out the door”, only 2 answered incorrectly so the question can’t be too bad.

    On the other hand the definition of predator is so far off it is not even funny. The author is correct. With that definition everything on the planet is a predator even plants.  That needs revised.

    One of the things that people may need to understand is that with science and social studies content, sometimes the only way that  the testing companies can find to have students miss questions is to try to confuse them about answers. So they make questions like these with answers that are ambiguous and close to faulty so the students get confused and they can say the students don’t know the content when they miss the questions. These are perfect examples of how they do it and really the only way they can make students miss questions. Sorry, but that is what I see every year……and I have been teaching life sciences in 7th grade for over 25 years

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