Design Document for a Lesson on 1040 EZ Tax Return

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Created by Annetta Davenport, Matt Marino, Jennifer Parker, Lissa Riley, and Miranda Scorver For a Paper Version click here

Introduction

The 1040 EZ Tax Return lesson was designed for high school students enrolled in a Personal Finance course. The presentation of this lesson will occur in a face-to-face setting. The lesson will take three meetings of their regular forty-five-minute Personal Finance course meeting. Since Personal Finance is a required course the information provided to students is required and it is also applicable to the real word. The lesson will be conducted using a combination of teacher lecture and class discussion.

Description of the Problem

           The students that attend the Personal Finance course at Main Stream High School are provided with an in-depth examination of the 1040EZ tax return form. Students may not have previous exposure to the 1040EZ tax return form if they have no work experience. The IRS website, where they might initially go for information, features substantial instructions that may overwhelm the students. The students of the Personal Finance course will now be provided with additional instruction on the importance of the form, the sections of the form, and be provided data that will teach them how to properly complete the form. These new learning outcomes will allow the students to understand and expand their knowledge about the 1040EZ tax return form. The current situation is that the students have a lack of exposure to the 1040EZ tax return form, the available resources online are too involved, and students will eventually need this knowledge when they join the workforce. The desired situation is that the students will be able to identify the parts of the 1040EZ form, match the data with the W2 form, and enter information into the appropriate section. The desired outcome is that students will be able to apply this knowledge in the workforce when they must file their own tax return. Students currently are unable to file tax returns if they have no employment history. This lesson allows them to be able to submit a tax return on their own after the completion of this guided lesson.

Instructional Goal

           At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to identify and relate the purpose of each part of a 1040EZ tax return and W2 form, while being provided W2 data to input which will reflect a complete form that would be acceptable to submit to the IRS for filing.

Context Analysis

           Data for the context analysis was collected through observation of the facilities and workflow; and through both formal and informal interviews with administrators, faculty members, and other stakeholders with interests related to the course.

Main Stream High School (MSHS) employs an instructor certified in comprehensive business and finance and is assigned to teach the Personal Finance course. The instructor not only has the experience in teaching high school business and computer-related business applications but also has the technical literacy and interest to provide students with a valuable outcome. The administration is highly motivated to support the efforts of the instructor teaching the Personal Finance course, as this course is part of the mission and vision of MSHS to provide academic learning, information technology, and relevant life style instruction to its students to help them prepare for a lifetime of success.

The classroom accommodates up to 25 students with chairs, desks, marker board, and video capability. Internet is available to the classroom. Updates to tax filing procedures and other instructional material can be accessed through the Internal Revenue Service website. Each student will be provided with a 1040EZ tax form and a generic W2 form for instruction purposes.

Learner Analysis

           Data collection for the learner analysis was provided through informal interviews of the students enrolled in the course, the results of their online (self-administered) Multiple Intelligences Self-Assessment instrument, and each student’s academic records/document review.

Each student has passed all prerequisite coursework but have varying levels of competence in math and reading. All students have passed with acceptable scores on standardized tests in reading and math and all students exceeded the reading level required for 8th grade. There are no learning disabilities identified in the students. The grade level for this course is 9th through 11th and the age range is between 14 years to 17 years.

MSHS students are from various cultural backgrounds and include socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Varying range in GPAs in the classroom will promote mentorship among classmates and advanced students participate in a program that assists the teachers as in-classroom tutors. Students were found enrolled in the Personal Finance course as 1) a required course for graduation requirements, and 2) showed a personal interest in learning skills to manage personal finance. Other students enrolled in the course wanted to explore possible career interests in the field of accounting, tax preparation, and bookkeeping.

Learning Objectives and Assessment of Student Learning

Objective Assessment Blueprint (OAB)

 

Task/Number

 

 

Instructional Objective

 

Assessment Item

Develop knowledge of 1040EZ IRS form

1.0

Given a blank 1040EZ Form, students at Main Stream High School will label all sections of the form. Formative-Have students use a marker to label each individual section of the 1040EX Form.
Explain the purpose of each 1040EZ section

1.1

Given a blank 1040EZ Form, students at Main Stream High School will explain the six sections of the form. Formative-Students will respond to a series of questions as a class pertaining to the sections of the 1040EZ Form.

Some of the questions are:

1. Explain the purpose of the Income section.

2. Explain how the Payments, Credits, and Tax section relies on the information from the Income section.

3. Explain the difference between the Refund and Amount You Owe sections.

Compare sections on 1040EZ form

1.2

Given a blank 1040EZ Form, students at Main Stream High School, will name at least two sections of the form. Formative-Students will create nicknames for two sections of the form with a peer.
Find each section

1.2.1

Students at Main Stream High School will summarize [using three sentences] all sectionsgiven a blank 1040EZ Form. Formative-Individual students will be asked to provide a “one-minute essay” to summarize all sections of the 1040EZ Form. NOTE: The “one-minute essay” will be conducted verbally and may not take a full minute.
Diagnose knowledge of W2 form for filing of taxes

2.0

Given a W2 form, students at Main Stream High School will identify the given data in the W2 sections with 100% accuracy. Formative – Students will complete essay questions that relate to diagnosing the data of the W2 form.

Some of the questions are:

1. Explain the reason for the W2 form.

2. Explain the need for the data for the W2 form

3. Explain the origin of the data needed for the W2 form.

Summarize the purpose of each W2 section

2.1

Given a W2 form, students at Main Stream High School will recap the purpose of each section without error. Formative – Through class discussion, students are observed in their synopsis of the process and purpose of the W2.

Some of the questions are:

1. Explain the purpose of the Federal income tax withheld of the W2

2. Explain the purpose of Medicare tax withheld section of the W2

3. Explain the purpose of Social Security wages section of the W2 form.

Classify data items

2.2

Given a W2 form, students of Main Stream High School categorize data items with 100% accuracy. Formative – Students complete a quiz that detects the data items needed to complete a W2 form.

Some of the questions are:

1. What are wages?

2. What are social security wages?

3. What are tips?

List data Items

2.2.1

Students of Main Stream High School list data items of a given W2 form until completed without error. Formative – Students create a “grocery list” of the data items.
Prepare 1040EZ with W2 form data

3.0

Given a W2 data set and a blank 1040EZ form, students at Main Stream High School will prepare the 1040EZ form with 100% accuracy. Formative – students will complete a quiz matching names of W2 data items to corresponding names of 1040EZ sections.
Apply W2 data to 1040EZ

3.1

Given a blank 1040EZ form, and categorized numerical W2 data, students at Main Stream High School will apply appropriate data to 1040EZ Form with 100% accuracy. Formative – Students, as a class, will use the marker board and apply a given data item to the corresponding the 1040 EZ form section.
Locates 1040EZ sections

3.1.1

Given descriptions of 1040EZ sections, students at Main Stream High School will locate the section on the 1040EZ form by name, with 100% accuracy. Formative – Students will take a quiz locating 1040EZ sections from descriptions.
Interpret W2 data

3.1.2

Given W2 items by name, Main stream High School students will decipher items per 1040EZ line category, with 80% accuracy. Formative – Students will take a quiz on W2 item descriptions.
Select W2 data items

3.1.2.1

Given a W2 data set, students at Main Stream High School students will select W2 items by name, with 100% accuracy. Formative – Students will take a quiz selecting types of data that appear on a W2.
Assess accuracy of completed form

4.0

Given an accurately completed 1040EZ form, students at Main Stream High School will assess that the data on the 1040EZ Form agrees with the data on the W2 Form with 100% accuracy. Formative – The teacher asks the students follow up questions regarding the 1040EZ form to determine the form was completed accurately.

Some of the questions are:

1. Where does wages, tips, and compensation go on the 1040EZ Form?

2. What financial data from the W2 Form is needed to fill out the 1040EZ Form?

3. Does federal income tax withheld have an area on both forms?

Apply accuracy check

4.1

Given the accurately completed form, students at Main Stream High School will cross reference the data on the accurately completed form against their completed 1040EZ form to determine their 1040EZ form was completed with 100% accuracy.

 

Formative – The students engage in a peer review with one classmate to check their 1040EZ forms for accuracy.
Locate sections where error occur most often

4.1.2

With cross referencing the student’s form against the accurately completed 1040EZ form, students at Main Stream High School can pinpoint the sections where errors occur most often within five minutes. Formative – Students will be asked to point to an area where an error may occur on the 1040EZ form with their writing utensil. A running tally of student responses will be kept.
Recognizes common types of data errors

4.1.3

With cross referencing the students form against the accurately completed 1040EZ form, students at Main Stream High School are able to recognize common types of data errors on their own with 100% accuracy. Formative – The students will discuss the common errors they recognized during the observation in groups of four.
Propose an IRS-Ready 1040EZ Form

5.0

Given a group discussion format, each student at Main Stream High School will offer one lesson learned regarding the 1040EZ form submission process. Formative – Students in pairs will convey to the class their lessons learned.
Executes submission to instructor for future use

5.1

Using their 100% accurate 1040EZ Form, and their computer, students at Main Stream High School will submit their 1040EZ to a computer file designated by the instructor, with 100% accuracy. Formative – Upload completed 1040EZ to computer folder named My1040EZ.
Locates computer file to submit form

5.1.1

Using a computer, students at Main Stream High School will locate the computer file for submitting completed 1040EZ to the instructor. Formative – Students will do a “walk-through” demonstration to locate the computer file.

Instructional Design Strategies

Introduction

This lesson on the 1040EZ Tax return will be a combination of a print-based and computer-based format.  The lesson will be taught and facilitated by an instructor certified in Comprehensive Business, allowing the instructor to teach K-12 learners in a variety of Business content. The instructor will distribute 1040EZ Forms and sample, provided W2 data that will be kept by the learners.

Due to the real-world application of the 1040EZ Form completion, students toward whom this instruction is directed, it will be effortless to persuade them of the significance of the content. Additionally, since all the students will implement this process once they have secured jobs, they should grasp the need to thoroughly discuss and explore the 1040EZ Form and provided W2 Form.

Motivating the students should not be a problem, given the applicable nature of the content. If the applicable purpose of completing the 1040EZ Form is noted early on and reiterated throughout the lesson, students should remain engaged. Students will complete practical objectives, enhanced by guided instruction.

After demonstrating how a complete and accurate form is reached for the 1040EZ, it will be openly specified that the form may not be directly submitted for tax filing purposes due to the W2 data provided being the same for all students. It will be emphasized that submitting false information on a tax return is against federal law. Students will be reminded that when they enter the workforce that their personal W2 data will be transcribed in the manner presented and will then be acceptable to the IRS.

Students will gain knowledge about the 1040EZ Tax Form, its purpose and the steps to complete it per IRS guidelines.  They will also gain knowledge about the W2 Form and its use in completing the 1040EZ form.

Attention:  A story will be told, providing an example of the benefit of knowing how to complete a 1040EZ Tax Form.

Purpose: The floor will be opened to discuss in what ways this knowledge may also come in handy to the learner.

Finally, the students will submit a completed 1040EZ Form, taking into account the provided instruction and connections related to the W2 data. Forms will be examined for accuracy.

Body (1)

The first module allows the student to demonstrate their understanding of the 1040EZ Form by naming and summarizing sections of the form. As students label sections and determine the links between sections, their proficiency enables them to answer questions that focus on the purpose of each section of the 1040EZ Form. Through labeling, answering questions, and brief verbal summaries, the students will articulate their knowledge of the sections and purpose of the 1040EZ form and their ability to apply that knowledge to the process of filling out the form.

Body (2)

The second module shows the students’ ability to effectively discuss their understanding of the W2 form by defining each data item and the W2 purpose with accuracy. As students create their grocery list of data items from the IRS official documentation, their proficiency enables them to participate in discussion of preset questions that focus on the components related to the W2 form and are assessed by observably measuring their recall of the process and purpose of the W2. Through quizzes of related W2 sections of predesigned questions, the students will test themselves in their knowledge of the data and purpose of the W2 form and their ability to apply that knowledge to the W2 form as it is designed.

Body (3)

In the third module, the learner will be given an orientation to the 1040EZ Form and the W2 Form through visual aids and handouts.  Interactions between the instructor and students will be conducted through conversations and open-ended questions, with mostly directed input from the instructor.

The objectives will be the following:

Given a W2 data set and a blank 1040EZ form, students at Main Stream High School will prepare the 1040EZ form with 100% accuracy

Given a blank 1040EZ form, and categorized numerical W2 data, students at Main Stream High School will apply appropriate data to 1040EZ Form with 100% accuracy.

Given descriptions of 1040EZ sections, students at Main Stream High School will locate the section on the 1040EZ form by name, with 100% accuracy

Given W2 items by name, Main stream High School students will classify items per 1040EZ line category, with 80% accuracy.

Assessments will be individual quizzes in paper format and a group quiz utilizing the class marker board.

There will be opportunities for open group discussions between students and their peers, as well as between the instructor and the students.

Given a W2 data set, students at Main Stream High School students will select W2 items by name, with 100% accuracy.

Body (4)

The fourth module demonstrates the knowledge the students gained by allowing them to compare and contrast their completed 1040EZ form with an accurately completed 1040EZ form to determine any errors. Having the forms side by side to review will allow the students to establish the most common errors and the types of errors. Assessing the accuracy of the form allows learners to determine any missteps and return to parts of the process where their error occurred.

Body (5)

Within the final module students will use the computer provided to them to locate the My1040EZ File to save the finished and checked for accuracy 1040EZ Form for future use.  The instructor will have access to this file to verify student’s completion of the instructional goal.  The learner will have basic computer skills, basic math skills, and basic Internet navigation skills prior to enrolling in this class.

Conclusion

The overall process for filling out a 1040EZ Form will be thoroughly covered, from personal data to financial data, to the degree students will be able to submit a completed form in the future. Furthermore, the real-life applications for teaching the 1040EZ Form filing process will be repeated and the successful performance of the students will be recognizable prior to closure of the lesson.

The following are the tasks this instruction addresses: 1) Develop Knowledge of 1040EZ IRS Form, 2) Diagnose Knowledge of W2 Form for Filing of Taxes, 3) Prepare 1040EZ With W2 Form Data, 4) Assess Accuracy of Completed Form, and 5) Propose an IRS-Ready 1040EZ Form, to facilitate the development of the skills in the learner. By gaining this knowledge the learner will be able to apply a practical skill to a future real-world situation (filing personal income tax information) which may promote a sense of independence and self-efficacy.  This may also be the initial step to branching out in to other adult life skills and lifelong learning for personal growth.

Assessment

The lesson plan will be reviewed by the Business department head and the Supervisor of Business and Technology for input. They will provide thorough and unbiased feedback that will be applicable due to their content knowledge. Areas such as understandability, implementation, and evaluation will be examined.

Within the lesson, the learner will be provided several opportunities during the instruction to recall knowledge, provide responses, and receive feedback that indicate levels of learning outcome attained by the participant. Individual and group assessment opportunities will be made available during the instruction. Successful completion of the 1040EZ Form will be commended. Learners who had errors on their document will be encouraged to retrace their steps to rectify their missteps.

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