Re: Ha! The man has a point.
- Subject: Re: Ha! The man has a point.
- From: George Sheridan <gsheridan@BOMUSD.K12.CA.US>
- Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 15:50:21 -0800
- In-reply-to: <ARN-L%2002031510552123@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
At 03:58 PM 03/15/2002 GMT, Rick sighs in exasperation:
>And to think, Juanita: this fellow considers the tax code to be an
>*higher mathematics*, as if the instructional set for the forms was *higher
The majority of Americans hire someone to do their taxes. Why, since none
of the required math goes beyond sixth-grade difficulty? The taxpayer has
to gather all the receipts or other evidence to support deductions. All
that's left is to follow directions, do some simple math, and fill in
blanks. So why do people think it's hard to do taxes?
1. There is an affective filter. Anything we don't enjoy for whatever
reason (such as, it's going to cost us money) becomes harder.
2. The language of instructions, if not exactly "higher language arts," is
abstract. People who can read narrative text with ease, or maybe even lyric
poetry, find the instructions baffling because they can't see, feel, or
visualize the entities to be manipulated. The effect of the affective
filter is heightened by the frustration of being uncertain that one is
following directions correctly.
These two reasons apply to many people's experience with tests. The alien
language and format of the test booklet has the same effect on the reader
as the IRS instruction booklet. If I understand Harold Berlak correctly,
the affective filter is a major reason for the "achievement gap" on tests
between groups of white and African-American students, even when
controlling for parent education and income. As a group, African-American
students who are relatively successful in high school don't score as well
as expected on standardized tests, in part because they believe the tests
are likely to have negative consequence for them.
Black Oak Mine Unified School District
860 Cave Valley Road
Cool, California 95614
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