It's the third part that gets me. The word "perform" uses a fairly basic phonics skill of what we call the R-controlled vowel. The R that comes after the O keeps the O from being long (phone) or short (hop). Instead the sound the two make together says "or" like the word. So let's look at the answer choices...
- far - has an R-controlled A so that sound obviously doesn't match
- sharp - same as above
- tour - the vowel team "ou" can have four sounds. So, technically tour could be said like TORE and be the correct answer.
So what is the answer?!?! It is TOUR.
After all of this research (for one freaking question) trying to figure out why the heck the answer is tour, I brought it to a colleague of mine. She said that in Idaho and Utah (where she is from) they do pronounce it closer to TORE. In California, we pronounce it as to-er. So even, if there's a possibility it could follow the phonics rule of #2, the dictionary doesn't show it AND it's not something we hear regionally. And then to add in that many of my kids do hear motor as mow-TOR at home...how are they supposed to answer this!?!?!
I know the test makers like to make the kids "think" by putting words that have the same sound but different spelling, but maybe they could have used oar, boar, or warn which are much more clear about their sound.
It's questions like this that make me question whether the tests can indicate anything like student achievement or teacher effectiveness.