Assessment: Did you know?

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Karen Wootton, Director of Curriculum & Assessment, karenwootton@cpm.org

With changing practices in teaching there must also be changing practices in assessing students. If the teacher values discussions and explanations during class, but then assesses students only on rote skills and does not ask for explanations, what message does that send to the students? Time is valuable, and grading student work and explanations takes a lot of time. Some teachers might remember and recognize the harsh clacks of the Scantron machine marking the errors on the student’s test. The unease created by listening to that jarring sound was offset by knowing the tests would be graded in less than a minute. When a school sets an unreasonable deadline for submitting grades following a final exam, that Scantron machine is looking pretty nice!

CPM strives to support teachers in the best teaching practices but also in the best assessment practices. To that end, CPM developed several pieces to support teachers in their assessment of students. Here is a quick review of what is available.

Suggested Assessment Plans

Each chapter for each course has a Suggested Assessment Plan in the Teacher Notes tab of the Overview. Here, you will find recommendations for which lessons would be suitable places for Participation Quizzes, presentations, and portfolio-worthy problems. You will also find guidance for a team assessment. What teachers have found most helpful is the section entitled, Ideas for Individual Test. This section contains a list of specific topics with which students have been meaningfully engaged, and therefore students should be ready to be summatively assessed upon.

Currently, the Suggested Assessment Plans are being reviewed. Teachers who have taught the course are reviewing the Suggested Assessment Plan and focusing on the Ideas for Individual Test. These will be be adjusted as necessary to best support student learning.

CPM’s Test Generator

By clicking the CPM Assessment button at the bottom right of your eBook, you will be taken to CPM’s Test Generator. Here you can search for problems by course or by standard. CPM has spent the last few months tagging all the problems in the testbank with the appropriate Common Core State content standard. Teachers can search through the problems using different filters, such as whether they need individual or team questions, or by level (beginning, intermediate or advanced). You can also view sample chapter tests for each course. The site allows teachers to create their own assessments from scratch or to start with the sample test and work from there. Teachers can edit the tests online and then download them as either a Word document, an Open Office document, or as a PDF. Soon teachers will also be able to save a created assessment as a Google doc.

Currently, all of the sample assessments are being reviewed to ensure that they are appropriate for the chapter and course that they were created for. You will begin to see updates during the later part of summer, ready for a new school year.

Phase 3 Implementation Workshops

CPM’s professional learning progression is a three-phase approach to supporting CPM teachers in the classroom. Phase 3 of the learning progression focuses on assessment. While some might feel the third phase is too late to aggressively address assessment, teachers must be comfortable with the CPM curriculum (Phase 1) and methodology for instruction (Phase 2), before grappling with assessment. The workshop is an opportunity for CPM teachers to dig into assessment and to think critically and carefully about how to best learn what students are learning. While assessment is discussed during the first two phases of the implementation learning progression, Phase 3 goes much more in depth.

Position Paper on Assessment

CPM is drafting a position paper on assessment that contains the rationale for CPM’s beliefs on assessment. A great deal of discussion informed the premise of the paper, and several voices shaped the content. The position paper will be posted at CPM’s website this summer.

In March, CPM conducted a survey of CPM teachers to learn how and when teachers use the assessment site, and to ask for suggestions on how to improve the site. Thank you to all who took the time to share your thoughts! The results of the survey will guide any updates that are made to the assessment site and other assessment pieces. Work on the assessment site is ongoing, so watch for updates!

CPM understands the issues that can arise when assessing students and is attentive to the many different offerings available online to help teachers assess. CPM does not believe that the technology is advanced enough to take the task of assessing student learning off the teacher’s plate. However, CPM reserves the right to learn more! If and when the technology improves to the point where student work could be auto-scored, this will be revisited. Until then, CPM will do its best to support teachers in the important task of assessing student learning.

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Algebra Tiles Blue Icon

Algebra Tiles Session

  • Used throughout CPM middle and high school courses
  • Concrete, geometric representation of algebraic concepts.
  • Two-hour virtual session,
  •  Learn how students build their conceptual understanding of simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Solving equations using these tools.  
  • Determining perimeter,
  • Combining like terms,
  • Comparing expressions,
  • Solving equations
  • Use an area model to multiply polynomials,
  • Factor quadratics and other polynomials, and
  • Complete the square.
  • Support the transition from a concrete (manipulative) representation to an abstract model of mathematics..

Foundations for Implementation

This professional learning is designed for teachers as they begin their implementation of CPM. This series contains multiple components and is grounded in multiple active experiences delivered over the first year. This learning experience will encourage teachers to adjust their instructional practices, expand their content knowledge, and challenge their beliefs about teaching and learning. Teachers and leaders will gain first-hand experience with CPM with emphasis on what they will be teaching. Throughout this series educators will experience the mathematics, consider instructional practices, and learn about the classroom environment necessary for a successful implementation of CPM curriculum resources.

Page 2 of the Professional Learning Progression (PDF) describes all of the components of this learning event and the additional support available. Teachers new to a course, but have previously attended Foundations for Implementation, can choose to engage in the course Content Modules in the Professional Learning Portal rather than attending the entire series of learning events again.

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Building on Instructional Practice Series

This series contains three different courses, taken in either order. The courses are designed for schools and teachers with a minimum of one year of experience teaching with CPM curriculum materials. Teachers will develop further understanding of strategies and tools for instructional practices and assessment.

Building on Equity

In this course, participants will learn how to include equitable practices in their  classroom and support traditionally underserved students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Participants will reflect on how their math identity and mindsets impact student learning. They will begin working on a plan for implementing Chapter 1 that creates an equitable classroom culture and curate strategies for supporting all students in becoming leaders of their own learning. Follow-up during the school year will support ongoing implementation of equitable classroom practices.

Building on Assessment

In this course, participants will apply assessment research to develop methods to provide feedback to students and to inform equitable assessment decisions. Participants will develop assessment action plans that will encourage continued collaboration within their learning community.

Building on Discourse

This professional learning builds upon the Foundations for Implementation Series by improving teachers’ ability to facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. This learning experience will encourage participants to adjust their instructional practices in the areas of sharing math authority, developing independent learners, and the creation of equitable classroom environments. Participants will plan for student learning by using teaching practices such as posing purposeful questioning, supporting productive struggle, and facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse. In doing so, participants learn to support students collaboratively engaged with rigorous, team-worthy tasks with all elements of the Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices.