Improving Students' Mathematical Proficiency through Formative Assessment: Responding to an Urgent Need in the Common Core Era

The overarching goal of this RAPID project is to contribute to the national goal of improving students' mathematical proficiency by providing information and guidance to mathematics education practitioners and scholars to support a sharpened focus on formative assessment. The project produces, analyzes, and makes available to the field timely information regarding the views and practices of mathematics teacher educators and professional development specialists regarding formative assessment early in the enactment of ambitious standards in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1439366
Funding Period: 
June 15, 2014 to May 31, 2015
Full Description: 

The products of this project will be useful to national organizations, their state and local affiliates, and school districts as they plan and offer mathematics professional development to support the implementation of high quality mathematics instruction to meet the urgent national need for smart and effective approaches to support ambitious college and career-ready standards in mathematics. Directing mathematics instruction toward ambitious learning goals is intended to address the critically important national priority of improving students' mathematics achievement. It is widely recognized that successful attainment of the content and practices contained in any ambitious set of learning goals, requires well-designed, smartly delivered, professional development for the nation's mathematics teachers. The information generated from this project is critical to inform nationwide mathematics professional development to support the implementation of ambitious mathematics learning goals. For our nation's teachers and students to attain ambitious learning goals, it is imperative that formative assessment becomes a more prominent feature of mathematics instruction as there is an evidence base that suggests formative assessment positively impacts student learning.

The overarching goal of this RAPID project is to contribute to the national goal of improving students' mathematical proficiency by providing much-needed information and guidance to mathematics education practitioners and scholars to support a sharpened focus on formative assessment. The project produces, analyzes, and makes available to the field timely information regarding the views and practices of mathematics teacher educators and professional development specialists regarding formative assessment early in the enactment of ambitious standards in mathematics. Moreover, it offers a potentially transformative view of formative assessment as integrated with other promising mathematics instructional frameworks, approaches and practices that have already established a strong presence in the mathematics education community and have influenced the instructional practice of many teacher educators and teachers. The project will result in: (a) an in-depth analysis of the responses of mathematics teacher educators and professional development specialists to a recent survey that probed their practices and beliefs related to formative assessment and its intertwined relationships with promising mathematics instructional frameworks, approaches and practices; (b) collaborative work among mathematics teacher educators and professional development specialists to elaborate effective ways to focus on formative assessment in the preparation and continuing education of teachers of mathematics; and (c) a set of design features and principles, along with associated activities, intended to undergird creating and sustaining an approach to mathematics teacher professional development that both attends to critically important instructional practices of formative assessment and links to other promising mathematics instructional frameworks, approaches and practices.

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