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EDMA310/360 Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2, 2014 Assignment 1

Rational Number Assessment


Breanna Levesque
S00125915
Australian Catholic University
Teacher report on your students Rational Number Knowledge and any
misconceptions.
After conducting the rational number interview the results I received from Fraser clearly indicate that he has
a deep understanding and knowledge on the key ideas when it comes to rational number. Although Fraser
had quite a lengthy knowledge on rational number there were also a few key areas that he struggled with.
One area in which Fraser displayed a great sense of understanding and confidence was the concept of
equivalence. For example when presented with two fractions 2/4 and 4/8 Fraser stated that 4 is half of 8
therefore 2/4 and 4/8 are equivalent to each other. He was able to simplify 4/8 and when doing so he found
that both these equations have an equal quantity. Not only was Fraser able to recognise fractions that were
equal to each other but he was also able to recognise equivalence within decimal format. Fraser recognised
that 1.7 can also be written as 1.70. When viewing 1.7 Fraser read it as one and seven tenths which allows
him to make the connection between decimals and fractions.
Fraser understanding of part-whole relationships is excellent. His understanding of part-whole goes beyond
recognising the shaded regions of objects. When presented with an array Fraser was able to identify the
fraction despite it being in another representation. He is not relying on an area model but the knowledge he
has developed aids him when it comes to viewing fractions in other forms such as a set model in this case.
The language Fraser used demonstrated his knowledge of fractions terms such as ninths and fourths were
used appropriately. For instance Fraser was able to clearly explain ninths being a much smaller number than
fourths. Despite nine being a bigger number his concept of partitioning was excellent.
However when it came to placing fractions on a number line, Fraser faced a number of misconceptions. He
was unable to focus on the amount of parts needed to partition in relation to the fraction given. Another area
in which Fraser had difficulty was ratios. He had somewhat understanding of ratios however was unable to
come to the correct answer.

EDMA310/360 Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2, 2014 Assignment 1

Critical evaluation of the usefulness of mathematics interviews for gaining knowledge about
students current mathematical knowledge that can be used to plan future learning
opportunities. Be sure to draw on relevant research literature to support your evaluation.
Assessment within the mathematics classroom is a vital tool for teachers in determining where students are
and where they need to be. There are a range of assessment strategies that allow teachers to assess students.
Mathematic interviews are an important strategy to be used within a classroom. It is useful as it allows
teachers to gain knowledge about students current mathematical knowledge that can be used to plan future
learning opportunities. However there are a number of opinions and evidence that suggest this strategy is far
from helpful within a mathematical classroom. When it comes to interviews and testing, students are limited
in displaying what they know. Mathematic interviews offer a number of strengths for the student and teacher
however it also displays a number of weaknesses within the mathematics classroom.
Mathematical interviews are a form of summative assessment as discussed by Downton, (2014) this type of
assessment allows teacher to assess the knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding. Summative
assessment produces a single score that allows teachers to get a clearer idea at where students are at within a
topic. This score is generated quickly there is no need to look at a rubric and justify why the students are at
the particular level instead this one score provides teachers and students with a clear and easy grade. The
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, (2008) supports this as they believe that tests provide an
effective measure for teachers. Interviews and testing allows teachers to find out about a students
knowledge and skills. However Van de Walle, Karp and Bay-Williams, (2013) explain that often scores
produced from summative assessment such as an interview often do no identify the misconceptions
experienced by the student.
Interviews and test do provide children with the opportunity to learn, there current knowledge is tested and it
allows them to express an answer in simple form such as circling the correct answer or writing the individual
answer. Although as Downton again explains that over the years we have moved away from only assessing
knowledge and skills to valuing what students are thinking. Interviews do not allow students to demonstrate
their strategies and methods in order to solve problems, (Van de Walle et al.).
Ferguson (2009), found that within a mathematical classroom tasks children are presented with must be
accessible to everyone at the start and need to allow further challenges. Often interviews do not provide
children with further challenges however interviews allow for the cases of luck. Oten children can get the
right answer based on chance and guessing. Van de Walle, Karp and Bay-Williams believe that this must
change and as teachers we must promote the importance of knowing and understanding, not just memorising
and chance for interview purposes.

EDMA310/360 Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2, 2014 Assignment 1

Critical evaluation of the usefulness of Open Tasks with Rubrics for gaining knowledge about
students current mathematical knowledge that can be used to plan future learning
opportunities. Be sure to draw on relevant research literature to support your evaluation.
Interviews and tests are effective means of assessments that allow teachers to find out about students
knowledge and skills. However as the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (2008), explain that
in todays society the mathematics curriculum goes beyond these components. It includes components such
as thinking, problem solving and communicating mathematical ideas and findings. An assessment strategy
known as an open-ended task allow students to demonstrate these skills in a range of different ways.
However like anything there are a number of strengths as well as a number of weaknesses involved in openended tasks.
Open-ended tasks alongside rubrics provide teachers with the mathematical knowledge of their students.
This knowledge is beneficial for teachers as it allows them to plan future learning opportunities for students
and assist them in deciding the areas in which a specific focus is needed. Sullivan (1997), highlights just
how important open-ended tasks are as they are the means of gathering data on what has been learned and
what still needs to be learned. However when it comes to assessing open-ended task difficulties can arise.
There are often a range of solutions so it is important that teachers have a specific rubric that identifies the
important mathematical concepts for each question (Downton, 2014).
According to Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers students learning of mathematics should be
assessed in ways that are fair and inclusive as well to inform learning and action. It is through open-ended
task that these key aspects are achieved. Open-ended task allow every student to access the task Van de
Walle, Karp and Bay-Williams, (2013) describe this as entry point. Having an open-ended assessment
allows all students to have a go despite the range of abilities and knowledge. These tasks give students the
opportunity to show what they know and can do rather than what they do not know. However when it comes
to marking it does take a longer process as teachers are left to interpret the thinking of students rather then
quickly ticking the set answer.
Although it takes a little longer to correct and assess students work the results allow teachers to give students
constructive feedback. By allowing students to show everything they know teachers gain a greater
understanding of the skills and knowledge they have this allows them to successfully plan and provide
greater tasks focusing on the areas that need addressing. Again Australian Association of Mathematics
Teachers explain that often feedback needs to go beyond a summary mark or grade but needs to be specific
information that aids students to learn and allow them to take action.

EDMA310/360 Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2, 2014 Assignment 1

Overall it is important that teachers use a range of strategies to assess students however at the end of the day
open-ended task allow teachers to assess children on what they know rather than what they dont know.

EDMA310/360 Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2, 2014 Assignment 1

References
Clarke, D., & Wilson, L. (1994). Implementing the Assessment Standards for School Mathematics: Valuing
What We See. Mathematics Teacher, 87(7), 542--45.
Downton, A. (2014). Lecture 2: Assessment in contemporary mathematics classrooms. Retrieved from
http://leo.acu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=722514.
Downton, A. (2014). Lecture 3: Catering for diversity in the mathematics classroom. Retrieved from
http://leo.acu.edu.au/course/view.php?id=13132
Ferguson, S. (2009). Same Task, Different Paths: Catering for Student Diversity in the Mathematics
Classroom. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 14(2), 32--36.
Sullivan, P. (1997). Mixed Ability Mathematics Teaching: Characteristics of Suitable Tasks. Learning
Matters, 2(3), 20-24. Retrieved from http://leo.acu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=722478.
The Australian Association Of Mathematic Teachers INC. (2008). Position paper on the practice of
assessing mathematics learning. Retrieved from http://leo.acu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=722476.
Van de Walle, J., Karp. K. S., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2010). Elementary and middle school
mathematics: Teaching developmentally (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.