# Assessment in Mathematics, June 19 through 23, 2006

## Guest Discussion with Myrna Manly on Assessment in Mathematics, June 19 through 23, 2006.

**Discussion Announcement | Discussion Summary | Full Discussion**

#### Discussion Announcement

Dear Colleagues,

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 (marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com).

**Myrna Manly**, a mathematics teacher with experience at many

academic levels, retired in 2001 from a position as professor of mathematics at

El Camino College. In addition to

instruction, she has been involved with the assessment of the mathematics

proficiency of adults in various roles: as the Mathematics Specialist for the

1988 version of the GED test; as a member of the numeracy team for the Adult

Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL); and as the numeracy consultant for a

similar international survey to be used in developing countries, the Literacy

Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP). She is the Past President of the

Adult Numeracy Network (ANN), is the author of The GED Math Problem Solver, and

also works with states and programs facilitating staff-development workshops

aimed at improving mathematics instruction to adults.

Myrna is presently writing a paper with Mary Jane Schmidt

and Lynda Ginsburg on the components of numeracy for NCSALL (National Center

for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy). The paper reviews the

literature, describes the fundamental elements of adult numeracy, and makes

recommendations for further research, particularly with respect to curriculum

and assessment. Look for this resource

soon from NCSALL.

* 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 21^{st}century? Do you think that they all assess the same

mathematics? What do you think is missing from each?

- Computation

skills are easy to assess. How can

we assess other important aspects of mathematics like strategic problem

solving, conceptual understanding, and reasoning?

- Describe

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?

- Which

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:

http://www.literacy.org/products/ncal/pdf/TR9805.pdf*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.

http://www.nctm.org/news/content.aspx?id=614*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.

**Large-scale surveys
of adult skills:**

*Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL)*

Numeracy

Framework (begins on p.137):

http://www.statcan.ca/cgi-bin/downpub/listpub.cgi?catno=89-552-MIE2005013

First

results: http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/89-603-XIE/2005001/pdf.htm

Data Tool: http://litdata.ets.org/ialdata/search.asp

*National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)*

First

results: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006470

**Hard Copy Resource:***Adult Numeracy
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!

Marie Cora

Moderator

Assessment Discussion List

marie.cora@hotspurpartners.com

### Discussion Summary

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

particular situations.

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.