Guides to Assessment in Education: Mathematics

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Teachers make assessments all the time for a whole variety of reasons. Assessment is essential to teaching. It has to be acknowledged that although getting to know students thoroughly is part of a teacher's expected load, assessment does represent a noticeable burden. Above all, the report tries to emphasize assessment as a purposeful, important and caring task. The report is split into the following seven areas:

Assessment in mathematics asks ‘What does the teacher want to know?’, discusses the language of mathematics, the importance of presentation, the use of diagrams and the choice of solution and what this reveals. Mathematics questions looks at the clarity of the questions asked in assessment tasks, the role of multiple choice questions, the kind of instructions given in questions, the use of diagrams and includes a checklist for ‘Writing good questions’. Marking and marks discusses the marking process, what measurements can be made and how results can be scaled, the validity of marks and different methods of assessment. Standardized tests gives examples of norm-referencing, standardized scores, discusses how to compare scores and looks at criterion referenced assessment. Testing for progress asks the question ‘What is progress?’, discusses theories of cognitive development, how to recognize progress and the usefulness and drawbacks of standardised tests. Inclined difficulty tests and attainment checklists are also considered. Diagnosis considers the principle of testing for diagnosis, looks at a range of diagnostic tests, the analysis of test results and error diagnosis. Records and Reports looks at the role of keeping records, ways of keeping records and the giving of reports.

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