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Topic: Assessment Stds I [March 6, 1998]
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Ronald A Ward

Posts: 298
Registered: 12/4/04
Assessment Stds I [March 6, 1998]
Posted: Mar 6, 1998 10:20 AM
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This is the ninth is a series of questions, concerns, comments, and
issues related to the 1995 NCTM Assessment Standards for School
Mathematics. Thus far, we have looked at each of the six standards. We
are now ready to tackle the section on Purposes: "Use of the Assessment
Standards for Different Purposes." Because all items are numbered
consecutively for ease of reference, I'll begin today with # 47.

Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA/98225

47. I want to caution everyone that each of the sections on purposes is
MUCH LONGER than the sections on standards. So, I'm actually going to
give you the weekend to read thru the first purpose before I ask
questions about it. :) However, I will make a few preliminary remarks
and try to suggest some things to look for as you read.

48. I found some of the introductory writing to be a bit confusing. For
some reason we have both "broad categories" and "purposes" which turn
out to be the same thing. We also have both "results obtained" and
"actions"--again which turn out to be the same. And, according to the
writers, it is the "objectives to be achieved" that will distinguish one
purpose from another;however, as I read each section on purposes, I found
myself wondering what those specific objectives were. Thus, for my
understanding, it would have been better had they not let loose with
so much educational jargon. Perhaps you'll feel differently.

49. The writers claim that ALL six standards apply to EACH type of
assessment but that "the way in which a particular standard is applied in
assessments carried out for different purposes may vary." So, you might
want to look for such variations, especially when dealing with two
purposes which are as closely related as "Monitoring Students' Progress"
and "Evaluating Students' Achievement."

50. You will probably also want to look for evidence of several "shifts
in assessment practices" which are discussed and illustrated in each
section. [I note in passing that for those who have read all of the NCTM
Standards' documents, we now have a rather LARGE collection of "shifts"
of one kind or another! It might make an interesting project for one of
your students to gather and organize ALL of the recommended shifts and to
investigate how they interact with each other.] One of the things the
authors say is that "The shifts should be seen as components of needed
changes in the total assessment system and not viewed just with
respect to the purpose with which they are presented." What do you think
they mean by that?

51. Now the writers claim that the specific educational purposes they
identify have been "deliberately chosen to blur the distinction between
assessments that are internal to the classroom and assessments that are
external." But as I read, it seems to me that what they are really after
is to extend outward teacher participation until THEY are involved in the
assessment process for ALL purposes, not so much extending inward the
involvement of external evaluators.

52. When we discussed the standards, there were "questions for
reflection" listed at the end of each section. So, you should look to
see how those specific questions can be used to determine how well
assessment practices meet the standards--within the context of each
purpose. That is, what METHODS are recommended for APPLYING the
standards to each purpose?

53. It is also my understanding that we should be able to detect the
four "phases of assessment" within the context of each purpose. If true,
this would help to "flesh out" some of the earlier material on assessment
systems and approaches, for those particularly interested in that.

54. Finally, I note that as we read thru the six standards, there were
references from time to time to the examples and vignettes that we're
going to NOW read about in the purposes material. So, for example, I
found it helpful as I read each vignette to go back and check all the
things it was SUPPOSED to illustrate, then verify that it did so.

As you can see, there are MANY things to juggle as you read each
purpose. I don't think it will be easy. But, now you have been warned!
Cheers. :)

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