Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Marking Scheme Rubric: To Assess Students' Mathematical Knowledge for Applied Algebra Test

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Marking Scheme Rubric: To Assess Students' Mathematical Knowledge for Applied Algebra Test

Article excerpt

Abstract

Students' ability in mathematics mainly relies on their performance in the assessment task such as tests, quizzes, assignments and final examinations. However, the grading process depends on the respective mathematics teacher who sets a marking scheme in assessing students' learning. How do these teachers assign grades to their students' problem solving work? What does it mean by five marks or ten marks for a mathematics problem? How does a teacher evaluate a student's mathematical knowledge and skills based on the grades? These questions address the vagueness of the grading process that gives no concrete evidence about a student's mathematical thinking. Hence, this paper aims to discover the effectiveness of using a marking scheme rubric to assess students' mathematical knowledge. The paper begins by reviewing different types of scoring rubrics in assessing mathematical problem solving tasks. A marking scheme rubric was proposed to assess samples of actual students' problem solving work in an applied algebra test. The rubric serves as an assessment instrument to gather information about students' achievement level in demonstrating both knowledge and skills in the test. Based on the findings, the score reflected the quality of the students' work rather than just a numerical representation. It showed the students' comprehension of adapting the mathematical concepts and problem solving strategies. In a nutshell, the implementation of rubric marking scheme has improved the consistency in grading and made the scoring points as a "meaningful figure" that describes the quality of a students' performance.

Keywords: marking scheme rubric, mathematical knowledge, assessment

1. Introduction

Students' exposure to mathematical thinking and problem solving begins from their primary education. The mathematics curriculum at the pre-tertiary education in Malaysia has been systematically structured to provide opportunities for students to develop mathematical knowledge and problem solving skills throughout their academic years (Malaysian New Integrated Mathematics Curriculum, 2003). Nevertheless, students are obliged to take part in a series of formal and informal mathematics assessments such as quizzes, assignments and tests at school, to evaluate their proficiency in mathematics learning. At the end of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels of education, students are obliged to sit for common public examinations under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education Malaysia. The final result of each examination indicates students' pre-requisite background knowledge before proceeding to the next level of education. The recognition as a talented mathematics student depends on the performance in mathematics subjects at these public national examinations. Thus, assessment is part of educational practices that provides evidence of students' achievement in mathematics. It cannot be separated from students' learning and plays a critical role in monitoring students' competency level when they have successfully completed a certain topic or module. Grades are often assigned to each assessment task that indicates how well a student has performed. The final grade determines the standard of students' learning attainment. In other word, students learning ability is normally judged based on how well they do in the assessment task.

2. Problem Statement

Assessment is an integral part of the learning and teaching process. However, the teacher is the key assessment grader who determines the score of a student's work. The grading process depends on the respective mathematics teacher who sets a marking scheme in assessing students' learning. Vasquez-Levy, Garofalo and Timmerman (2001) conducted assessment workshop with a group of teachers where they were assigned to grade samples of actual students' problem solving work. These teachers' justifications for giving points in the evaluation of a student's work were not the same. …

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