The Praxis Series
Educational Testing Service
District: na
State: na

The fact that paraprofessionals making $8.00 an hour–or less–are beseiged by inappropriate NCLB credentialism rules goes ignored by the media.

Comment: I won\’t go into a rant about the wrong-mindedness of basing reading comprehension on someone\’s being familiar with the antiquated idiom playing possum.

What my husband, the hard-headed scientist, and I argued for half an hour over was the right answer. I insist there are two \”not wrong\” answers. He sides with ETS and says you have to go with the obvious answer and not get involved in any deep meaning crap. He agrees that it is a subtle distinction and intend to separate the wheat from the chaff. He also agrees that it is abusive to post this as the first question on the test.

I don\’t think tests for paraprofessionals, or third graders, or high schoolers, should be about sorting out winners and losers. They should only test for minimum competency. Let the Graduate Record Exam and tests for lawyers and doctors do that.

The opossum is famous for \”playing possum\” (faking death to avoid danger). When the animal plays possum, its body becomes limp and its breathing is difficult to detect. Some scientists claim that this is an involuntary condition, like fainting. I disagree. I have seen the opossum recover at will from the supposedly involuntary state of shock. If the opossum thinks the danger has departed, it soon arises, looks around, and takes off quickly.

The author of the passage disagrees with the scientists about

a) the reasons why the opossum plays possum
b) the frequency with which the opossum plays possum.
c) whether the opossum has voluntary control when playing possum
d) whether the opossum\’s breathing slows when playing possum