I think you make a great point about how it compares to the “real” thing. One thing to consider is that at the beginning of the year, our expectations for how students read and respond to questions may be different than at the end of the year.
This is my 4th year teaching the course and I always find that this “Unit 1” built in assessment is a little rough for students and it seems to be linked to their reading and vocab skills. In the past, I have made it a “partner” task which has helped them think out loud and a little more confident in their answers. I found the learning that takes place (how to be a critical test reader) tends to be more powerful than the assessment itself. Sometimes this takes longer but it seems to pay off in the end.