I hope this email finds you well.I'm pleased to announce the following Guest Discussion, which will begin on Monday of next week:
June 19 – 23, 2006
Topic: Assessment in Mathematics
Guest: Myrna Manly – please see Myrna’s bio below. Myrna will respond to your email posts once per day – feel free to send your post to the Assessment Discussion List, or to me so that I can post it for you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Recommended preparations for this discussion Myrna has provided several questions below to get you thinking about math assessment:
- It is
known that students and teachers come to value what is assessed. What is your opinion of the influence
that the standardized mathematics assessments (GED, TABE, CASAS) have in
your classrooms? Are they assessing the mathematics that is important for
the 21st century? Do you think that they all assess the same
mathematics? What do you think is missing from each?
skills are easy to assess. How can
we assess other important aspects of mathematics like strategic problem
solving, conceptual understanding, and reasoning?
instances where you have seen a student’s “math anxiety” interfere with an
accurate assessment of his/her abilities. Do you assess math anxiety in
any way? What strategies have you used to reduce it? Any luck with them?
classroom techniques do you recommend for informal, ongoing assessment of
a student’s progress in learning mathematics?
In addition to the above questions to stimulate discussion,
Myrna has provided these sites for math assessment. Please take a look at these sites and post your questions and
comments to the Discussion:
Assessing Mathematical Knowledge of Adult Learners: Are We Looking at
What Counts? This technical report from NCAL was written by Joy Cumming,
Iddo Gal, and Lynda Ginsburg in 1998. It discusses assessment principles
and evaluates their implementation in common numeracy assessment tools.
The Inclusion of Numeracy in Adult Basic
Education, Dave Tout and Mary Jane Schmitt, 2002. This chapter from NCSALL’s annual review contains a section on
assessment that includes a description of assessments in adult education from
Australia and The Netherlands.
Will This Be on the Test? This
article discusses the importance of including significant mathematics on
tests. It includes a good example of a
test item that goes beyond procedural skills.
http://standards.nctm.org/document/chapter2/assess.htm This document in an overview of NCTM’s
assessment principle for K-12 mathematics.
of adult skills:
Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL)
Framework (begins on p.137):
National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
Hard Copy Resource:
Development: Theory, Policy and Practice, Iddo Gal, ed., 2000. Hampton Press, Inc. This book has a section
on numeracy assessment with one article discussing assessment issues and
principles using examples from the US and Australia and another article
describing the use of “Supermarket Strategy” materials for diagnosing the
skills of individual learners in The Netherlands.
Thanks everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all next week to chat about math assessment!
Assessment Discussion List
The discussion focused on participants’ sharing resources,
tools, strategies and interventions related to teaching math for the GED,
working with individuals who have learning disabilities, and working with math
anxiety in testing. In addition to
providing a list of questions to consider in preparation for the discussion,
the discussion guest, Myrna Manly, provided a series of resources that prompted
comments and further sharing from subscribers.
People discussed both print and web resources available for teaching
math, as well as described some activities and strategies that they employ in
Some of the themes related to math and confidence included
an analogy to learning how to (or teaching someone to) swim, and the notions of
learned helplessness and learned anxieties.
Discussion participants suggested strategies including the
use of journaling, manipulatives, and realia as methods for building confidence
in math and developing activities.
Myrna asked subscribers what they thought about the national
focus on lower level computation skills and number procedures, and participants
noted that they felt this was due to both program methodology as well as the
math assessments available at this time.
Another participant raised the
point that the NCTM Standards (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
were generally accepted by ANN (Adult Numeracy Network) and followed by the
EMPower curriculum, but questioned whether we have any tests/assessments that
fit with these standards at the ABE level, and if not, what the consequences of
this might be. Myrna responded that
there is indeed a paucity of assessments, and those that exist presently narrow
the scope of math.