Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Slice of Life: What does it really say?

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

On Friday night, we went to watch our second daughter's college soccer game. Since it was a Friday night, she opted out of the bus ride back to campus and came home with us for a night. As we drove home, the results from her psychology test posted on-line, and she went through the answers, checking her score. Julia tends to do well, and she came across a multiple choice question she'd missed. 

"Listen to this ridiculous question," she said from the back seat. "How do you conduct a study that looks at the casual relationship between social media use and anxiety?"

She read off the choices. 

"Read them again," I said. I was a little miffed that I didn't know any study that would provide insight on a casual relationship. In face, I had no idea what was meant by a casual relationship. 

Then I thought of something. 

"Are you sure it says casual?" I asked. "Could it be causal?"

In the back seat, Julia started to laugh. "We really do see what we are programmed to see," she said.

She passed me her phone with the question on it. From a letter by letter standpoint, causal is pretty close to casual, but miles apart in meaning.

While this interaction has kept me chuckling that weekend, it has also made me remember how we really do see what we expect or what makes sense to our own brain, as opposed to what's really there. And, I'm sure that more times than we know, students miss questions not because they don't understand the content we're assessing, but because of some other factor that gets in the way. 

Happy Slicing,


  1. Funny and yet so much wisdom . . . "And, I'm sure that more times than we know, students miss questions not because they don't understand the content we're assessing, but because of some other factor that gets in the way."

  2. There are so many "other factors" that get in the way of our assessment of students. Your example made me chuckle too but also realize that assessing reading is not that exact of a science. We have to make many assumptions until we can be certain we are on the right track.

  3. Love that you wrote this out. And that you made the connection with how we all learn and assume. I heard another funny story like this just this weekend and thought of this story of your's and Julia's. xo

  4. Funny story. I believe that if a study was done to answer your question about interpretation and misunderstandings we would discover a huge correlation. My gifted students often read and process quickly, so quickly that they can totally mess up and not show their true knowledge.

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