Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS)
The Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) is a collaboration between the University of California at Berkeley and the Shell Centre team at the University of Nottingham, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The team is known around the world for its innovative work in maths education. Previous projects that members of the team have worked on include the DfE Standards Units and the Bowland Maths resources.
Detailed below are the different types of resources within the collection.
Concept development lessons
The concept development lessons focus on assessing and developing conceptual understanding. The lessons are designed to reveal and develop students’ conceptions, and misconceptions, of significant mathematical ideas and how these connect to their other knowledge.
The lessons are designed to be used either during a curriculum unit on a topic, to gauge and improve students’ level of understanding, or later in the year as review and support.
There are pre-lesson and post-lesson assessments that are diagnostic and designed to reveal each student’s understanding and misunderstandings of target concepts. The lesson has tasks that are rich and complex, allowing struggling students to gain access, while still providing challenges for the most capable.
Problem solving lessons
Problem solving lessons focus on the application of previously learned mathematics to non-routine problems. The lessons enable students to take an active stance in solving mathematical problems. The lessons are designed to assess and develop students’ capacity to apply mathematics flexibly to non-routine unstructured problems, both from the real world and within pure mathematics.
In addition to having problems to solve, there are examples of student work for use in peer assessment. These materials allow for comparing different approaches and diagnosing misconceptions that (other) students have. This process is an essential part of formative assessment for learning.
The problem solving lessons are designed to be used from time to time through the year. They help students connect all of the mathematics they have learned, gaining a deeper understanding of practical situations and rich problems in pure mathematics.
Tasks provide work that is mathematically rich and connects together different areas of the curriculum. Many of the tasks make links between the different topic areas and representations. They are classified here according to the most prominent topic. The tasks come examples of student work for use in peer assessment.
Further information about the different types of resources, and suggestions for their use in the classroom, may be found here.