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Tool Balance in mathematics assessment

Summary

What You Test Is What You Get. WYTIWYG is a fact of life for high-stakes assessment, so tests are not just about measurement they largely determine the implemented curriculum that will actually be delivered in most classrooms. (After all, teachers and schools know that they will be judged on test scores)

It follows that the high-stakes assessment should cover your performance goals in a reasonably balanced way. If they don't, the neglected goals will be ignored in most classrooms. For example:
  • if the test is mainly short items, students will not learn how to solve substantial problems
  • if the test is mostly on number, they will not learn to handle data, or space and shape problems and so on.

Balanced assessment is rather more expensive than machine-scored short-item tests but still a very small part of the cost of educating a student. It provides an invaluable 'lever' for improvement in:
  • influencing what is taught
  • providing ongoing feedback to teachers and students such assessment for learningis powerful.

The complementary tools listed are good sources for such assessment.

Complementary tools

Strategic applications