Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A case for sensible, rational, reasoned, logical, and level-headed vocabulary instruction

Last week's 8th grade vocabulary quiz:

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word from the list

sensible, rational, reasoned, logical, levelheaded

______ exercising or showing good judgment
______ being consistent with decisions
______ a decision made in an intelligent manner
______ sound argument
______ making a decision based on facts
Hint:  J's score was 20 out of 100.

(Every week lately, J has been assigned a half dozen highly similar vocabulary words. His take-home study materials consist of flash cards. This past week, one side of each card had one of the five words written on it, along with "calm and cool" in parentheses. The other side of each card was blank).

6 comments:

LexAequitas said...

That's bizarre. What ugly definitions. Several of the definitions are nouns while the words are adjectives, which means really none should work (I half-suspect this is why some teachers put a "select the best answer" proviso on their tests).

My best guess is
sensible = exercising or showing good judgment
levelheaded = being consistent with decisions (not being consistent could imply emotionality)
logical = a decision made in an intelligent manner (mostly because teachers think logical = intelligent, and it allows for the possibility of starting with incorrect facts)
reasoned = sound argument(noun/adjective discrepancy again)
rational= making a decision based on facts

How did I do?

Joanne Jacobs said...

This quiz is not sensible, rational, reasoned or logical. Who's the pointy-headed idiot who designed it?

Happy Elf Mom said...

All the definitions are nearly interchangeable...

FedUpMom said...

Wow, one of the ideas that I've been trying to teach my daughter and her clueless friends is that a definition must match the part of speech being defined. In other words, you shouldn't take an adjective and define it with a noun ("sound argument"), or a vague verbal phrase ("making a decision ..."). (What is that, a gerund?)

Have you complained to the teacher? I've seen bad assignments in my time, but this is way up there.

Eowyn said...

I can't agree what the answers are. Neither can my husband. This is ... ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

You should ask if he can make a poster to express his feelings about the words, rather than take a test about them!