Classroom Vignette: An Alternative-Assessment Tool
Walen, Sharon B., Hirstein, James, Teaching Children Mathematics
How can the upper-elementary or middle-grades teacher create a safe forum for students to discuss mathematics and mathematics attitudes while simultaneously evaluating their progress and achievement? The classroom vignette is an effective communication-enhancing tool for teachers that has grown in popularity since being used extensively in the NCTM's Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (1991).
Teachers have the responsibility to move mathematics assessment beyond its traditional limiting notions of grading to a broader notion, as described in the working draft of the Assessment Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1993, 5):
Assessment occurs at the intersection of the important mathematics that is taught with how it is taught, what is learned, and how it is learned. It is a dynamic process that continuously yields information about student progress toward the achievement of mathematical power.... The process of gathering evidence in order to make inferences about student learning communicates to students and all of those concerned with their learning what is valued in mathematics and how students are progressing toward specific goals. Assessment also enhances mathematics learning when there is a shared understanding of the learning goals and of the methods used for demonstrating progress toward those goals.
A crucial issue for those involved in mathematics-education reform is the expansion of assessment strategies to guide students as they examine their individual roles in mathematical learning, extend their ability, communicate mathematically, express their world view in relationship to the classroom, and, as specifically addressed in this article, self-evaluate their own concepts and principles in today's classroom.
Vignettes: An Assessment Resource
Constructivist theories suggest that the importance of environment and communication be stressed in mathematics learning (vonGlasserfeld 1990) and that attention be focused on helping students to become risktakers (McLeod 1991; Walen 1993). Using classroom vignettes - experiences expressed in narrative or dialogue form - presents opportunities both to assist students' development and to assess their progress in attaining classroom expectations aligned with the reform movement. Vignette …
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Publication information: Article title: Classroom Vignette: An Alternative-Assessment Tool. Contributors: Walen, Sharon B. - Author, Hirstein, James - Author. Magazine title: Teaching Children Mathematics. Volume: 1. Issue: 6 Publication date: February 1995. Page number: 362+. © 1999 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1995 Gale Group.
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