I found question 22 poorly worded and ambiguous. The independent variable could be the cost (I think they meant "the price") of carrots, in which case choice 2 would be the correct response. Had the problem stated that "a study showed that DECREASING the price of ..." this would be a fair assumption. However, in "A DECREASE in the cost of ...", the decrease itself is the subject and, thus, the variable being discussed. In this case, the correct response would be choice 1.
I am fairly certain that the author of this question had the first scenario in mind and, this scenario being the more conventional one, that most people reading this question , students and teachers alike, will read it in that way. But we cannot insist on precise mathematical language in our students' communication unless we are willing to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards. And the second interpretation is linguistically more appropriate. Thus, in my humble opinion, both answers should be accepted as correct.
In the light of the changes in the scoring policy, by which we cannot revisit exams with scores close to 65, we owe it to our students to maximize their opportunities right from the start. If you agree, please contact SED at (518) 474-8220.