Statistical Literacy Ratio Statement Validator

Print out these instructions before you use this program.   Click on the above link to use this program.



To write a single sentence in ordinary English that describes a single ratio or compares two ratios contained in a table of percentages or rates and that can be quoted out of context without being misunderstood: no grammar errors, no ambiguities and no missing relevant terms.


To decode the user’s sentence describing a ratio or comparing two ratios contained in a table of percentages or rates, to accurately identify user errors relative to the data in the table and to provide error messages that help the user improve their answer.




0.  In the "Instructions" text box to the right of the Data Table, read the problem instructions.

      Study the Data Table to see how to describe/compare the data using ordinary English.

      Note the whether the instructions request a Description or a Comparison.  Note the kind of grammar to be used.


1.  In the "Enter Answer" text box immediately below the Data Table, key in your answer.


2.  Press the “Analyze Answer” button located to the right of the Enter Answer text box.


3.  Read and understand the “Answer Analysis” shown in the text box in the lower left.

     The analysis shown refers to the last statement analyzed (shown at the bottom of the screen).

     “Word not in dictionary!” means the dictionary for this problem does not contain that word.

Correct any misspellings or abbreviations or eliminate this word from your answer.

     “No problems found” means you succeeded.


4.   To change your answer, return to #1 and modify your answer.  Then repeat #2, etc. 



5.   If all words used are in the problem dictionary, a “More Detail” button may be shown to give extra help.

     To get more detail on your error, press the "More Detail" button if it is shown.


6. To get a right answer, press the "Show An Answer" button near the bottom of the screen.

    To see how the program interprets your answer (part vs. whole), Press "Analyze Ps and Ws" button.

    To send a comment to the program designers, enter your comment in the Comment box
           at the bottom right and press the “Store Comment” button.

    To enter your name into your log file, go to A below.

    To get a different problem, go to B below.

    To change the type of data, activity or grammar, go to C , D or E below.
    To leave the program, Press the EXIT button in the lower right corner. This updates the master log file.


A.  [Optional]   Enter your name into the User ID box in upper-right corner at any time during the session.

B.  Press the “New Problem” button to get a new Problem: a new table of ratios and a new “Problem Statement”

C.  Table Buttons: Select the Table desired. Start with "100% margins", then "Full Margins" and finally "Other".

D.  Activity Buttons: Select the activity.  Start with Describe a single percentage, then Compare two percentages.

E.  Grammar Buttons: Select the type of grammar that will be used.   Start with "% of" grammar.

·         Description: ‘% of’, ‘Percentage’ or 'Rate' grammar

·         Comparison: ‘Percentage’,  'Rate',  'Likely' or 'Prevalent' grammar.



Review the Ratio Description Grammar Template for Describing Percentages:

'Percentage' grammar is different from "X% of" grammar.   "X% of" grammar is simpler.  Start with that. 

  • % of” grammar:  X% of {whole} are {part}.  E.g., 20% of men are runners.

  • ‘Percentage’ grammar:  The percentage of {whole} who are {part} is X%.  The percentage of {part} among {whole} is X%.

        The percentage of men who are runners is 20%.  Among men, the percentage of runners is 20%.


Definitions of Terms used in Analyzing User Answers in Writing Descriptions:

1a.  Whole & Part: The pieces of a ratio presented as a pie. See 'whole' and 'part' in examples above.

1b.  Slot: Place in the Ratio Describe template where the 'part' or 'whole' is inserted.  See examples above.

1c.  Word in wrong slot: E.g., 'Part' word in 'whole' slot or vice versa.

1d.  Word not in dictionary.  Word not in program dictionary for this problem.  Correct spelling or try another word.

1e.  Copula: A connecting verb like ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’ or ‘were.’  


General Advice in forming Descriptions and Comparisons:

2a.  Use the words shown in the table. Avoid synonyms.

2b.  Do not repeat words used in the table. Doing so generates "disallowed redundancy"

2c.  Do not use extraneous words/phrases such as who responded to the survey or in the survey.
2d.  Do not use ordinary pronouns ("them", "those", etc.), individual pronouns ("I", "he", "it", etc.) or possessive pronouns ("hers", "their", etc.) since the current problem cannot decode them.   Instead of writing "Among men, the percentage of them that smoke" write "Among men, the percentage that smoke."  The current program can only handle three relative pronouns: "who", "which" and "that".


Review the Ratio Comparison Grammar Template for Comparing Percentages:


Definitions of Terms used in Analyzing User Answers in Writing Comparisons:

1a.  Test & Base:  'Base' is the basis of the comparison; 'test' is the item being compared to the 'base'. 

    Simple Ratio Comparison: {Test} is X times as much as {base} E.g., 6 is 3 times as much as 2.

    Percentage Comparison:  {Test} is X% more than {base}.  E.g., 6 is 200% more than 2.

1b.  Slot: Place in compare template where the test or base is inserted. See examples above.

1c.  Word in wrong slot: E.g., 'Base' word in 'test' slot. 

1d. Non-parallel structure:  E.g., Using different prepositions to introduce test and base wholes.


Comparisons: [In “Compare T to B”, the item following “to” is always the base.]

2a.  For these problems, do not use the part as the sentence subject when using likely grammar.

·    Household Pet Ownership

·    Public Schools that Reported a Serious Violent Incident


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If the screen seems unreadable (boxes and text overlay), the font size on your browser may need to be reduced.

Statement version.