Computer Materials

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Learning in Motion Series: Assess Math!, gr. K-8, 1998. Teacher 's guide in three-ring binder; 46 pp., and disk stand-alone version, $99. Requirements: Windows 95 Pentium computer or better or Macintosh System 7.1.3 or greater. Requires 16 MB of RAM and 10 MB of free hard-disk space; color monitor; 4x CD-ROM drive. Learning in Motion, 500 Seabright Ave., Ste. 105, Santa Cruz, CA 95062-3481, (800) 560-5670.

Mathematics assessment programs frequently disappoint me because they usually evaluate student performance using the lowest-level-thinking skills--rote operations. Assess Math steps beyond that one-dimensional approach. The program is not for student use at the computer. Rather, teachers can use it to create assessment materials.

The program categorizes 1072 mathematics problems in five different ways: (1) by grade and content, (2) by thinking level, (3) by problem-and-answer format, (4) by the context of the problem, and (5) by the estimated time needed to complete the problem. Users can access all five categories to search for problems.

The program's levels span the K-8 range, with 696 questions in the K-5 range. The content categories include such choices as number, algebra, and measurement; these categories are then further subdivided.

The problem formats include multiple choice, single answer, open response, multistep task, takehome task, oral response, and extended project.

The three problem-context types are (1) no context--the problem is not embedded in a situation, (2) nonessential context--a different situation could be substituted without changing the mathematics, and (3) essential--understanding the specific situation is necessary to solve the problem. …