Developing Mathematical Assessments for the Classroom

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  • 0:01 Developing Assessments
  • 0:44 Multiple Choice
  • 1:38 Fill in the Blank
  • 2:10 Free Response
  • 2:38 Word Problems
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Assessments are an essential part of the teaching process. In this lesson, you'll learn how to develop mathematical assessments for the classroom. You'll also explore major types of assessments that can test your students' understanding.

Developing Assessments

For many middle and high school students, little inspires more fear than a math assessment. In fact, if you ask a significant portion of the population to reflect on their scariest moments from high school, more than a few will point to a math quiz or test. However, you don't have to worry about any of that - after all, your students really seem to get a great deal out of your teaching method. In fact, the only reason you're looking at this lesson now is to master the best way to test your students' understanding. In short, no panic attacks here! In this lesson, we'll take a look at four major types of categories, as well as how they can be developed to not only test for mastery but also see where students are being led away from understanding.

Multiple Choice

Let's be honest. Sometimes the easiest type of question to put on an assessment is a multiple choice question. After all, they are relatively quick to grade. Moreover, this sort of question provides practice for standardized exams, which all of your students will have to take at some point in their lives. So how do you make sure that your multiple choice questions are strong? First of all, make sure that you leave enough room for the students to perform the required math, or at least provide scratch paper for their operations. Second, try to structure the incorrect answers to provide some sort of clue as to where a student went wrong. For example, if you were doing a multiple choice question about the order of operations, have one possible answer include simply doing the numbers from left to right, another ignoring parentheses, and the last incorrect answer being based on doing addition in front of multiplication.

Fill in the Blank

Tempting thought it may be for the ease of grading, only a small portion of your quizzes and tests should be multiple choice at the middle and high school levels. Instead, you'll find that fill-in-the-blank style questions could be used to find a happy medium between the quickness of multiple-choice and the detail of a free response answer. In these, you could simply leave the answer blank, but that would require a significant amount of math to do. Instead, leave out a sign or other operation, and see if the students can figure out what is missing in the assigned blank.

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