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Topic: Guest Discussion on Assessment in Mathematics
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Esther D Leonelli

Posts: 391
Registered: 12/4/04
Guest Discussion on Assessment in Mathematics
Posted: Jun 13, 2006 5:35 PM
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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 (


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

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

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: 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. 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):

First results:

Data Tool:

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

First results:

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
NIFL Assessment Discussion List

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