Assessment should enhance mathematics learning and support good instructional practice.
- Measuring What Counts: A Conceptual Guide for Mathematics Assessment 1
More than giving grades and ranking students, assessment is the gathering of evidenceabout a student's knowledge of, ability to use, and disposition towards a subjectand then making inferences from this evidence. A teacher can use assessment as a tool to make instructional decisions, to support and enhance students' learning, and to answer the question: "How do I know what my students know?" The best instruments for assessment also increase students' knowledge and understanding.
Teachers need to strive to make assessment an ongoing, daily aspect of the teaching process, rather than an occasional interruption. Assessment should be appropriate to the conceptual levels/objectives of the lesson and be aligned with standards and with the instruction itself. For example, if students use manipulatives during instruction, then they should use them during the assessment as well.
Building an accurate picture of student performance in the classroom requires integrating a number of different ways to assess students' performance:
Assessment standards are criteria for judging the quality of assessment practices. These embody a vision of assessment that is consistent with the curriculum and teaching standards derived from shared principles of mathematics, cognition, and learning.2 This section addresses the following assessment techniques and gives examples for how they are best represented in geometry and measurement:3
Assessment terms that appear in this section in bold are also compiled in Appendix C.