Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy

By Jenny Houssart | Go to book overview

9

Assessment tasks

At the start of the lesson, the teacher gave out two sheets about fractions. One of these was a straightforward sheet requiring children to colour in fifths and tenths. The other sheet was harder and involved equivalence, something which had been mentioned in extension work at various points in the block but not formally taught. The teacher appeared to make a last-minute decision not to cover the work on equivalence. He told the children not to do the equivalence sheet but went through the easier sheet in detail before asking the children to complete it. Darren and Wesley started to do the equivalence sheet instead of the colouring sheet. When the teacher discovered this, he said, 'If this was your test, you've failed.' Some weeks later, I found the equivalence sheet in Wesley's folder. It was mostly correct.


Introduction

A range of assessment tasks were used in all the sets and this is reflected in this chapter. The first incidents used illustrate how assessment sometimes arose from teaching but became explicit, especially if several adults were present. Following this, planned assessment tasks are considered, which include individual assessment, written tasks, short tests and more formal tests. The chapter suggests that some forms of assessment, usually the less formal, could give some insights into children's strengths and difficulties. However, all forms of assessment presented problems of some type and there were few, if any, occasions when it could be said with confidence that the assessment had provided a true picture. This raises the question about whether it is reasonable to say that a child can or cannot do something or whether we should restrict ourselves to saying that they did something successfully on a particular occasion and in certain circumstances.

-145-

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Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Children 8
  • 2 - Maths Talk 24
  • 3 - Mental Work 41
  • 4 - Number Equipment 57
  • 5 - Practical Work 74
  • 6 - Written Work 91
  • 7 - Calculators and Computers 109
  • 8 - Easy Tasks, Hard Tasks, Elastic Tasks 127
  • 9 - Assessment Tasks 145
  • 10 - Conclusion 163
  • Index 177
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