Tackling assessment using iMaths
Posted on January 22, 2012.
Understanding the value and purpose of assessment and its ability to enhance teaching and learning has changed greatly over the years. Educational research shows the traditional end of year test is no longer effective alone. Teachers now need to conduct a range of assessment at different times in the learning cycle and for different purposes. One of iMaths’ greatest strengths is its flexibility. Rather than being a prescriptive program, teachers are able to choose the Investigations and differentiation level to suit their learners and the assessment style to suit their needs.
Assessment FOR learning
(also called diagnostic, formative or pre-assessment)
Assessment for learning is the gathering of information about students’ knowledge, skills and understanding before and throughout a topic or unit of work. This is often done instinctively by teachers through observation, questioning and conversations with their students. At this stage, constructive feedback is more important than a score or a grade.
How does iMaths support Assessment for learning?
- For a formal assessment at the beginning of the year, use the Readiness Test to gain an overview of your students strengths and weaknesses. This will identify and help to prioritise gaps in learning.
- To assess your class quickly, take an activity from a Topic page in the Student Book and do it as a group. Use concrete materials or change the examples to promote class discussion.
- Split the class into different groups to work on the three levels of Differentiation tasks that accompany each Topic.
Assessment AS learning
Taking place throughout the whole learning cycle, Assessment as learning involves students reflecting on their work and that of their peers, setting goals for their learning, relating it to prior knowledge and thinking about thinking (metacognition).
How does iMaths support Assessment as learning?
- Use the Communicating and reflecting questions provided with every Investigation to help students think about their learning strengths and weaknesses.
- Use the Investigation Rubric to facilitate discussion about student learning. Students can use the Rubric to set goals and reflect on their learning throughout their Investigation.
- The Tracker Book provides immediate feedback on how students have applied their knowledge to new situations. They are able to see, set and reflect on goals for their learning.
Assessment OF learning
(also called summative or post-assessment)
Assessment of learning is the most traditional form of assessment and comes at the end of a unit of work. It often culminates in a grade or number that helps compare achievement with the cohort or against set standards. Results are often communicated with students and/or parents.
How does iMaths support Assessment of learning?
- Use a variety of Topic pages, Differentiation pages and Tracker Book pages as an assessment of learning.
- Look at work samples, question students, or get more creative by taking video or photos of your students explaining concepts or showing their work.
- Specifically you can use the Investigation Rubrics for assessment of learning. When using the Rubric to give a student an A-E ranking don’t forget to look at the descriptors in the Rubric. This will ensure you assess the student’s performance in all the Proficiency strands (Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning) to determine whether a student achieves an A.
As you can see, iMaths has the structure to facilitate the three forms of Assessment. By using a combination of Student Book pages, Tracker Book pages and Rubrics together with your own questioning and anecdotal notes, you will have a strong idea of where your students are, where they’re going and how best to get them there.
About the Author - The iMaths Team
The iMaths program is a collaborative effort from a group of experienced maths teachers, Chris Linthorne, Carolyn Smales, Wayne Lightbourne, Jane Rheeder, Mary Serenc and Lena Ford, working in conjunction with the Firefly Education team. Based on an investigations approach, iMaths is a comprehensive numeracy program, written for the Australian Curriculum. Providing everything you need to plan, implement and assess, iMaths offers a range of structured resources to suit every classroom, along with professional development and support for teachers implementing the program.