Oak Trees In The Northeastern United States Have Survived For Hundreds Of Years In Spite Of Attacks By Native Insects.

different structures are and know what they do. I guess the link between the cell membrane and the kidney is supposed to be that they both filter material, but this is neither a useful nor relevant comparison for understanding what either really does or for understanding comparative anatomy, if that is in fact what they were trying to test. The point is that the comparison is kind of stupid and a student who knows the diagrams and all of the components well might get it wrong.

Let's take another example, question 42.

Oak trees in the northeastern United States have survived for hundreds of years, in spite of attacks by native insects. Recently, the gypsy moth, which has a caterpillar stage that eats leaves, was imported from Europe. The gypsy moth now has become quite common in New England ecosystems. As a result, many oak trees are being damaged more seriously than ever before.

Certain insects are kept under control by sterilizing the males with x rays so that sperm production stops. Explain how this technique reduces the survival of this insect species.

This question seems deliberately long and complex to get to a simple point, Sterile animals can't reproduce. Duh! Where is the science? After a year-long class are there any students that don't get that concept? I would hazard that most of the students that get this question wrong are actually confused by the wording of the question itself, not the concept that sterile animals can't make babies. Question 31 is even weirder.

An experimental setup is shown below.

Which hypothesis would most likely be tested using this setup?

(1) Light is needed for the process of reproduction.

(2) Glucose is not synthesized by plants in the dark.

(3) Protein synthesis takes place in leaves.

(4) Plants need fertilizers for proper growth.

Besides having an experimental setup from the Stone Age, it is absolutely ridiculous to ask a question like this because not every student that takes the test is required to do this experiment and most are not even shown it, so it is a pretty pointless question. No one will ever need to have skills that require them to look at a foreign experimental setup and divine what they are trying to test... unless, of course, aliens set up camp here and start designing experiments on plants. To get this question right, a student can just be good at taking tests and use a little logic. Without any results from this antiquated experiment, the student can hazard a guess covering both sides of the leaf

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covering both sides of the leaf

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Which hypothesis would most likely be tested using this setup?

(1) Light is needed for the process of reproduction.

(2) Glucose is not synthesized by plants in the dark.

(3) Protein synthesis takes place in leaves.

(4) Plants need fertilizers for proper growth.

that light has something to do with it: the giant light bulb and dark paper kind of give that away. With just two answers to guess from that involve light, the average person could guess that the answer is 2 without knowing anything about the experiment or glucose production in plants. All you have to know is that leaves don't have anything to do with plants making more plants. A little test-taking skill should never be able to substitute for knowledge.

It gets worse. The test is graded on a curve, so that in 2005 a student only had to get 39 out of a total of 85 points on the test to pass. That's 46%! Believe it or not, New York State actually lowered that number from 2004, when a student had to get 48% correct to pass. I don't want to pick on New York here. I use them as an example because their curriculum is actually considered good and New York State students actually tend to go on to higher education more frequently than a lot of other states. Often you hear states' administrators talk about 'raising the bar' for science education. These administrators seem to be out of touch: the schools are playing limbo, not high jump. The science curriculum in every single state is antiquated and does not adequately cover modern-day science. They need to change the game, not the standards for the one they are losing now. Calling the situation dire at this point does not seem too extreme. So what are we to do about it?

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