Learning to Assess and Assessing to Learn: A Descriptive Study of a District-Wide Mathematics Assessment Implementation Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Ringer, Catharina Win
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • In today's mathematics education, there is an increasing emphasis on students' understanding of the mathematics set forth in standards documents such as the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000) and, most recently, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (National Governors Association for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010). Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) within the United States establishes, for the first time, a common set of coherent, focused standards built on research-based learning progressions detailing what is known today about how students' mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time (NGA Center & CCSSO, 2010, p. 4). The CCSSM sets grade-specific standards for the majority of the nation's teachers and students, standards that students are expected to achieve with understanding. This requires that teachers assess whether students have developed an understanding of the mathematics set forth in these standards. Although the standards are well defined within the CCSSM, methods of identifying and meeting the needs of students who do not meet or who exceed these grade-specific expectations are not defined, and therefore it is left for individual teachers to identify ways to do so. This embedded multiple-case study explores the individual and collective experiences of a group of third-grade teachers as they worked to implement a district-initiated mathematics formative assessment and intervention process. The yearlong investigation focused on third-grade teams in two schools, their implementation of the process, and its impact on student learning. This study was designed within the context of engaged scholarship, a participative form of research that leverages the different kinds of knowledge of key stakeholders in studying complex problems. Teacher and administrator interviews, student assessment results, and professional development documents were analyzed to better understand experiences of the implementation process, influences on instructional practice, and impact on student understanding. Findings from this study suggest that these teachers faced at least eight challenges as they implemented the formative assessment practices. These challenges are described with reference to barriers identified by Cizek (2010) and clearly must be addressed in order for teachers to embrace the type of formative assessment increasingly called for in research, policy, and practice. Study findings have several implications for efforts to support teachers' implementation of a formative assessment and intervention process. These findings are discussed along with directions for future research.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Friel, Susan N.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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