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The Happy Scientist,” blogger Robert Krampf, notes a number of problemswith questions on Florida’s 5th and 8th grade FCAT science exams.
Among the issues are correct answers that rely on incorrect definitions, and answers test designers consider incorrect but actually are scientifically correct.
A glossary of definitions (Appendix C) is provided for test item writers to indicate the level of understanding expected of fifth grade students. Included in that list is the following definition:
Predator—An organism that obtains nutrients from other organisms.
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 have yet to find anyone who thinks that this is a proper definition of a predator.
This sample question offers the following observations, and asks which is scientifically testable.