Formative Assessment  in Math Class

"Assessment has taken on a broader meaning. Beyond grading students, assessment should probe beneath right answers to discover how students think and how instruction can be improved. In this view of assessment, expected outcomes are set and the time necessary for each student to achieve the intended outcomes varies."

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction


Opportunties to gather informal data

  • Student/teacher discussions/conferring
  • Written tasks
  • Classroom discussions
  • Small-group

Criteria for Assessing

  • Was the student's use of mathematics effective in helping him or her solve the problem?
  • Did the student choose appropriate strategies for solving the problem?
  • Does the student show flexibility in his or her use of strategies?
  • Can the students communicate his or her mathematical thinking through explanations, representations, or drawings of solutions?
  • Is the student's work accurate?

Source: Beyond Arithmetic, Jan Mokros, Susan Jo Russell, Karen Economopoulos

Math Fluency - Efficiency, Accuracy, and Flexibility

  • Efficiency - Develop strategies that are manageable, understandable, easily carried out, and generate results that solve problems.
  • Accuracy - Develop accurate knowledge of number facts and number relationships in order to reason and solve problems well
  • Flexibility - The product of students' successful experiences with problems using a variety of strategies and the analysis of the strategies to determine their efficiency and accuracy.

Source:  North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Math Standard Course of Study


Ideas for Written Assessment

  • Providing examples
  • Writing word problems
  • Writing predictions
  • Definitions and descriptions
  • Written explanations
  • Justifying a solution or process
  • Writing summaries
  • Reflective Writing

Source: Now I Get It by Susan O'Connell, pgs. 70-73