Kate Farb-Johnson’s single word change test

I’ve always wanted a rule of thumb to aid in spotting word problems that cause above-average reading difficulties. Now I’ve found one:

What are word problems really testing?

Unfortunately for his argument, the most likely reason to get this problem wrong is misreading it. Of the 4 incorrect answers, 3 of them can be obtained by changing/misreading a single word of the problem. Answer A)9 comes from adding “more” between “many” and “employees” in the question. Answer B comes from changing “increased” to “decreased”. Answer E comes from dropping the word “percent” after the number 10.

2 Responses

  1. I’m glad that was useful to you!

  2. […] It isn’t sensitive to misunderstanding by single word changes. To go back to Kate Farb-Johnson’s example: “There were 90 employees in a company last […]

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