Research-Supported Assessment Practices for Struggling Students
The four research-supported assessment practices for struggling students highlighted in the article include (1) assessment of students’ interests and experiences, (2) concrete-representational-abstract assessment within authentic contexts, (3) error pattern analyses, and (4) flexible interviews. Assessment of students’ interests and experiences is basically done to develop authentic contexts for evaluation by asking learners to identify activities and experiences of interest, recording their responses, correlating their interests with target mathematical conceptions, and developing pertinent problem situations that relate directly to learners’ interests, while concrete-representational-abstract (CRA) assessment within authentic contexts is effective in evaluating students’ abilities to demonstrate their understandings at the concrete (using materials), representational (using drawings), and abstract (using mathematical symbols) levels. Similarly, it is documented in the article that error pattern analyses assist teachers to gain deep understanding regarding their learners’ procedural and conceptual misunderstandings, while flexible interviews entail asking students to periodically explain or justify their correct answers to ensure that their answers are not masking misconceptions.
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How Teacher Used Information about Students’ Interests
As demonstrated in the article, the teacher (Ms. Carlisi) employs the information collected through the mathematics dynamic assessment (MDA) process to develop the capacity to have an in-depth or comprehensive evaluation of the learners’ mathematical understandings or thinking, which in turn allows her to plan her instruction with the view to addressing the learners’ specific mathematical learning needs. The teacher also uses the information to integrate learner interests into assessment, which in turn helps her to determine which of the demonstrated learner interests might best apply to mathematical concepts or learning objectives that the teacher is planning to cover during a particular period. For example, the teacher can use the information gathered about her students’ interests in mathematics to develop a context for assessment and instruction algebra by demonstrating how to analyze and represent linear fractions. Similarly, the teacher can use the information gathered about her learners’ interests to develop a story problem and associated tasks that reflect authentic contexts for assessment.
Why Teacher used Math Prompts
Ms. Carlisi used prompts in her math centers to know the appropriate level of students’ understandings of different mathematical concepts related to fractions. The two kinds of prompts used by Ms. Carlisi in her math centers include receptive/recognition prompts and expressive prompts. In the description, receptive/recognition prompts required learners to choose the correct solution from among several choices, while expressive prompts required learners to employ fraction bars to generate a fraction equivalent to the 2/10 fraction bar without providing choices.
Examples of How the Teacher Adjusted her Math Instruction
The results of Ms. Carlisi’s informal assessments propelled her to adjust mathematics instruction based on students’ demonstrable understandings of various mathematical concepts related to fractions. For example, she came up with concrete level instruction for the whole class upon the realization that all learners were at least at the instructional level using concrete materials to understand mathematical concepts related to fractions. She also came up with a peer-tutoring format to ensure that the group of students with medium level of understanding used fellow peers to develop abstract-level thinking in dealing with various mathematical concepts related to fractions. These adjustments, according to the article, made Ms. Carlisi to not only feel confident about teaching mathematics to her struggling students, but also to address all of her students’ learning needs and difficulties.