I'm not sure if I would interpret the phrase you quoted in the same way as you did. To me, the Standards is cautioning us agains the use of a single assessment instrument/method. I think this was always a concern for math teachers. If you teach young children, you want to make sure your math assessment if indeed assessing students' mathematics understanding, not their language ability - which often interfers with students' performance on written tests. Or, if you have students from inner city, a math problem involving "garage" may not make much sense to them, not necessarily because they don't understand math but because they cannot relate to the context in which the problem is embedded.
I have once watched a video-taped interview of a first grader who couldn't do simple arithmetic like 2 + 3 when it was presented to him using the plastic numerals and symbols. He was having trouble counting his fingers after he put up two and three fingers. But, when he was dealing with an activity involving dot cards (show a card with several dots on it for briefly and ask how many dots s/he saw) he could use reasoning like, "There were 6 because you can move one dot to make a '6'." Obviously, this kid will not succeed in a regular written test, but, I would say he brings with his something very powerful in understanding numbers.
Another thing the Standards emphasizes is that we match the type of assessment with the purposes of the assessment. It may be appropriate sometime to assess students so that you can find out where they are compared to the "norm." Then, there are occasions when such information is not the main objective of assessment.
So, overall, I think the quote you included makes really good sense to me. It is not advocating to assess students on what kind of a person s/he is. In fact, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to assess students on "what kind of mathematician s/he is" either. After all, a mathematician is a person, too.
Tad Watanabe Towson State University Towson, Maryland
On Sun, 25 Jun 1995 DanH150093@aol.com wrote:
> Folks- > > A couple of days ago I made the following post which I stand behind. > > >BTW. Why isn't everyone buzzing over the Assessment Standards? I'm > particularly interested in the "Equity Standard" >on pages 15 and 16. > > >On page 15, "Assessments have too often ignored differences in students' > experiences, physical condition, gender, ethnic, >cultural, and social > backgrounds in an effort to be fair. This practice has led to assessments > that do not take differences >among students into account." > > >Lovely. So standards to the NCTM really mean standards depending on not what > kind of mathematician you are, but >rather what type of person you are. > > I stand behind this post. However, in the past several days, It's been said > explicitly and implicitly that I'm: > > a) paranoid in a public post > b) a threat to my students in a private post > c) a racist in a private post. > > I really don't care that much except this pretty well parallels the kind of > treatment one encounters if you challenge the conventional wisdom of the > academy and in this case the NCTM.( And please don't misunderstand, the NCTM > isn't involved in this in anyway except it happened on this forum.) This kind > of abuse reflects a McCarthyism of the Left where any disagreement > automatically labels you as paranoid or a racist. > > Imagine believing equity really means equal treatment, then being labeled a > racist for it. Under these rules MLK was one hell of a racist, wasn't he? > > But that's America of the 1990's for you. Interesting, isn't it? > > Aloha > > Dan Hart > LAUSD >