Ongoing classroom assessment promotes the learning process. This is especially important given the rigorous standards of mathematics to which students are held. There are several ways that a teacher can incorporate assessment into instruction. Within a unit, assessment can reveal what a student or group of students knows, understands, and can do. A teacher must use both informal assessment (conversations with and observation of students in the classroom) and more formal means (tests, open-ended assessments, or projects) to create a profile of students' instructional needs and to assess the success of the instructional plan.
Within the classroom, a teacher can use assessment to address skills and knowledge that students already know or to determine areas where students need improvement. This requires that a teacher constructs or adapts problems that both promote learning and facilitate students' ability to work through misconceptions until they arrive at a clear understanding of mathematical concepts. Students' assessment and monitoring of their own learning is also valuable. Students can gain mastery of mathematics when they know what content is expected of them and how they need to represent that content. Assessment can support students in becoming more aware of their own responsibility for their academic success, for example, making a rubric to be used to evaluate a project helps students to produce a significantly better project.
A teacher should combine traditional modes of assessment with assignments that require open-ended answers and constructed responses. The latter encourage students to:
For in-depth discussions of various assessment techniques, see Assessment.