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  In 1989, just a year before the girl was born, treasure hunters found a great trove on the banks of the Dvina River in *Arkhangelsk. People said it had been buried nearly a thousand years earlier.

  Most of the objects were silver coins. (A)They had been brought from all over Europe, at a time when Arkhangelsk was a great port city. People traveled there to live, to seek their fortunes, or just to stop briefly on their passage through the great continent. Even the Vikings had come.

  But now it was just a gray city, with faceless apartment blocks left over from the Communists, and garbage on the streets.

  The girl rarely even left her room. She was not permitted to, except to attend school, to study math and science and English. At school she was known as a quiet, pretty girl, with fair skin and long legs and big dark eyes and an expressionless face that never revealed anything about her soul.

  Not that she believed in souls. All she believed in was surviving till the next day, and doing what her father and his brother told her to do. (B)She'd learned long before that she had no choice but to listen and obey.


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所詮、下線部訳の問題だから、必要以上に内容に拘っても仕方ないが、それにしても、一行目に出てくるthe girl最後の最後まで、誰のことやらわからず仕舞い。その気持ち悪さが引っかかったので、日本人とネイティブの両方に意見を聞いてみたところ、二人とも同様の感想を抱いたことがわかった。


This particular passage starts with an introduction of "the girl was born." This sets up the girl for a central role in the following passage. However, we immediately are taken from "the girl" to "a great trove (of treasure)" and historical background of the city. If this were a longer passage it would be ok as the reader is taken back to "the girl." But here, we only have a total of five paragraphs and only get to the main subject of "the girl" in the final two.

Although I can't say I have never seen test items like this, I would reiterate that it does leave the reader a little confused about what is important. If we want to accurately assess students, we should avoid confusing passages as much as possible.


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