• Assessment and Grading in High School Mathematics Classrooms

    Sharon L. Senk, Charlene E. Beckmann, Denisse R. Thompson
    The assessment and grading practices in 19 mathematics classes in 5 high schools in 3 states were studied. In each class the most frequently used assessment tools were tests and quizzes, with these determining about 77% of students' grades. In 12 classes other forms of assessment, such as written projects or interviews with students, were also used, with performance on such instruments counting for about 7% of students' grades averaged across all 19 classes. Test items generally were low level, were stated without reference to a realistic context, involved very little reasoning, and were almost never open-ended. Most test items were either neutral or inactive with respect to technology. Written projects usually involved more complex analyses or applications than tests did. The teachers' knowledge and beliefs, as well as the content and textbook of the course, influenced the characteristics of test items and other assessment instruments. Only in geometry classes did standardized tests appear to influence assessment.