Draft of Math-Assessment Standards Unveiled

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The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has begun to circulate a working draft of standards for exemplary assessment of student math performance.

The N.C.T.M. has distributed almost 20,000 copies of the 244-page document, entitled "Assessment Standards for School Mathematics,'' to math coordinators, teachers, mathematicians, and other interested parties.

An additional 10,000 copies have been printed and will be made available without charge to educators, parent groups, civic organizations, and others.

The effort to build a consensus on math assessment is similar to the national review to which the organization's respected curriculum and teaching standards were subjected when they were developed in the late 1980's.

Supporters of the standards argue that the lengthy review made the new, inquiry-based approaches favored in the standards more palatable to practitioners.

The N.C.T.M. plans in 1995 to publish the final version of the assessment standards as a companion to the existing standards documents.

Capable of Math Power

Developed by several working groups of educators, the draft document is built around six "basic assumptions'' about the nature of effective assessment.

The assumptions are:

  • Every student is capable of achieving "mathematical power.''
  • Evidence about student performance is needed for a variety of purposes, and the type and quality of evidence varies with each purpose.
  • For each purpose, "information needs to be collected from multiple sources using a variety of methods.''
  • All evidence about student performance "must be considered as a sample of the ... evidence that could have been gathered.''
  • Teachers should be the primary assessors of student performance.
  • During their schooling, students should grow in confidence and in their ability to evaluate their own progress.

Copies of the draft may be obtained from Portia C. Elliott, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1906 Association Dr., Reston, Va. 22091.

Vol. 13, Issue 15

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