Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Assess in a Problem-Based Classroom

One of the things I have learned as we have begun our journey with CCSS is that assessment can and does happen every day.  It is an integral part of my instruction.  I have gained knowledge through my readings of Van de Walls' book Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics, I realized that in the past I  missed the point.  Now I see how assessment has allowed me to help my students grow and how these assessments have informed and driven my instruction.

Previously,  I used assessment in test form and now I use a task or problem which allows my students to demonstrate what they know. Since my classroom has become more problem-based I no longer focus on assessments that require recall, skill, or closed response items that send a message to my students that getting answers is valued. Now I am focused upon engaging discussions and proudly watch as my students problem solve in teams.  I realize that even lower-ability level students should be encouraged to use the best ideas they have to work on a problem, even if their way is not the same skill or strategy everyone else in the room is using.

Ticket Out the Door has been a useful tool that has allowed me to see what student are thinking and how their errors were made.  I am more capable of assisting them in learning and not controlling their learning.  I love the TOD because it gives me a snapshot of what each child is capable of, the diversity among students or groups has guided my instruction.  I am enjoying the new things I am learning this year in math.  So keep an open mind, be willing to bend in the winds of change, and enjoy your students as they work to solve real world problems.  They are seeing the revelance of math in their universe.  They seem excited and engaged this year.  I can see the change that has taken place within my classroom and I like what I see.


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