Comment author:TimS
19 April 2012 07:41:03PM
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5 points
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Because it doesn't seem to me like an explanation at all.

Doing badly on written word problems can be explained by illiteracy. Why can't doing badly on math problems be explained by innumeracy (i.e. failure to comprehend mathematical concepts)?

When regression toward the mean is considered a moderate to advanced mathematical concept, I don't think innumeracy is an unreasonable label of the average person. Certainly it is a reasonable critique of the education system that it does not reliably generate numerate graduates (on parallel with the critique that some specific education systems do not reliably generate graduates who can read).

Comment author:[deleted]
19 April 2012 07:45:54PM
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1 point
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children)

Comment author:[deleted]
19 April 2012 07:45:54PM
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1 point
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When regression toward the mean is considered a moderate to advanced mathematical concept, I don't think innumeracy is an unreasonable label of the average person.

I don't think 'illiteracy' or 'innumeracy' is much of an explanation in either case, since in both cases the content of those terms is or is close to 'does badly in these studies'. (ETA: I mean that we'd need further evidence to show that failure to do well on these tests is a failure to comprehend mathematical concepts.) But I don't have any reason to argue with what you've said. I was responding to Topo (ETA: ugh, 5 years after the fact. Nevermind.)

Doing badly on written word problems can be explained by failure to comprehend linguistic concepts.
Doing badly on math problems can be explained by failure to comprehend mathematical concepts.

## Comments (65)

Old*5 points [-]Doing badly on written word problems can be explained by illiteracy. Why can't doing badly on math problems be explained by innumeracy (i.e. failure to comprehend mathematical concepts)?

When regression toward the mean is considered a moderate to advanced mathematical concept, I don't think innumeracy is an unreasonable label of the average person. Certainly it is a reasonable critique of the education system that it does not reliably generate numerate graduates (on parallel with the critique that some specific education systems do not reliably generate graduates who can read).

*1 point [-]I don't think 'illiteracy' or 'innumeracy' is much of an explanation in either case, since in both cases the content of those terms is or is close to 'does badly in these studies'. (ETA: I mean that we'd need further evidence to show that failure to do well on these tests is a failure to comprehend mathematical concepts.) But I don't have any reason to argue with what

you'vesaid. I was responding to Topo (ETA: ugh, 5 years after the fact. Nevermind.)*0 points [-]Doing badly on written word problems can be explained by failure to comprehend linguistic concepts. Doing badly on math problems can be explained by failure to comprehend mathematical concepts.

You see, this explanation makes perfect sense.