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Professional Development Focus of the Year 2005-2006

Assessing to Learn and Learning to Assess

Elementary School Resources

Middle School Resources

High School Resources 

Why Assessment?

The intent of this year long focus on assessment is to help teachers, school leaders, and teacher educators expand their view about what assessment is and how the results of assessment can be used to guide instruction, improve programs, and monitor student progress. Assessment, as described in Assessment Standards for School Mathematics, serves as a framework for this focus.

Assessment gives teachers an opportunity to learn what students know and are able to do. For example, asking probing questions during classroom instruction; including constructed response questions on daily assignments, quizzes, and tests; and interviewing students outside of class can open a window into students’ thinking about mathematical ideas, highlight the strategies that students use for solving different types of problems, and uncover students’ misconceptions. Assessments can yield valuable information that teachers and other educators can use to make thoughtful decisions about instruction.

External assessments can provide information on the extent to which students meet state, regional, provincial, and national standards. However, these assessments are more than a tool to rank and sort schools and students. They can foster valuable insights into the alignment of assessment, curriculum, and instruction; raise issues regarding learning opportunities offered by instructional programs; and supply data that can be used to make informed decisions to guide program improvement.

The focus of the year gives educators the opportunity to learn about assessment so that they can develop equitable assessment instruments, help students maintain steady progress toward mastering the knowledge and skills presented in the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and ensure increased mathematics learning by all students.

Learn undefined Reflect Strands  LearnReflect_little                                           

The three 2005 Regional Conferences and Expositions, as well as the 2006 Annual Meeting and Exposition featured Professional Development Focus of the Year Learn learn-reflect arrow Reflect Strands.

Prior to the LearnLearn Reflect Double ArrowReflect Strand, participants were asked to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What do you see as the primary purpose of assessment?
  2. What methods or techniques do you currently use to assess what your students know and are able to do?
  3. How do your students use assessment to enhance their own learning?
  4. How do you use the results of classroom assessment?
  5. How are the results of external assessments used in your school or district?

 At the end of the LearnLearn Reflect Double ArrowReflect Strand, participants considered the following questions:

  1. Now that you have completed the LearnLearn Reflect Double ArrowReflect Strand, do you think you would change your answers to the reflection questions above? Did any of the sessions you attended today give you new ideas for thinking about:
    1. Purposes of assessment?
    2. Assessment techniques?
    3. Use of assessment results?
  2. Which of these new ideas do you plan to implement in your classroom this year or next? (Think specifically about what you plan to do and when.)
  3. How does your classroom assessment connect to your district or state/provincial assessment plan? Does one enhance the other?

Your feedback is important! Comments or concerns regarding the content of this page may be sent to nctm@nctm.org. Thank you.