24 SES 06 A, Mathematics Teacher Professional Development
The current Standards reform movement in mathematics in the United States calls for increasing the rigor of teachers’ ability to recognize the sophistication of student understanding, placing this in a developmental context, and taking appropriate instructional steps in response. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a series of grade specific, on-line, mathematics teacher assessments that measure these instructional capabilities in mathematics.The instrument, called the TASK, or Teacher Analysis of Student Knowledge, measures important components of the instructional knowledge necessary to teach to the high expectations of the Standards. In this paper we the TASK instrument and a study of its administration with 1,400 mathematics teachers in grades kindergarten through 10.
A TASK is an on-line teacher assessment that presents a teacher with a carefully designed set of student responses to a mathematics problem. The student responses characterize different levels of sophistication of student thinking as well as common misconceptions. Prompts ask the teacher to examine students’ solution strategies, to analyze students’ thinking, and to provide subsequent instructional suggestions. (Ebby, Sirinides, Supovitz, & Oettinger, 2013)
The conceptual framework of the TASK is based on the concept of learning trajectory-oriented formative assessment. Formative assessment is considered one of the most promising methods of facilitating student learning. The basis of any potentially formative experience is both a clear understanding of the gap between a learner’s current state and the goal of learning, or standard, and the pathway to achieve the goal. A well-designed assessment helps to locate the learner on the pathway towards the goal. The assessment becomes formative when the information it contains provides feedback to either the learner and/or the teacher. For the instructional feedback loop to close, the teacher then has to provide an informed instructional response to the learner that helps move them closer to the goal. Knowledge of the learning trajectory helps the teacher both locate the learner on the pathway and develop specific hypotheses about what kinds of assistance will help the learner move towards the goal. Formative assessment is an iterative process, so the cycle repeats until the gap between the learner’s current state and the goal is closed and/or new learning goals are established (Ramaprasad, 1983; Sadler, 1989)
A synthesis of the research on formative assessment by Black and Wiliam (1998) founds substantial evidence of large gains in student learning when teachers employ formative assessment practices. More recently, researchers have begun to piece together the ways in which students progress as they develop mathematical understanding, called learning trajectories (Daro, Mosher, Corcoran, 2011).
This paper and presentation will describe the instrument and a field trial conducted with 1200 teachers of mathematics in the United States. More specifically, the work will explore the following research questions:
- What does performance look like within each of the six domains assessed by the TASK instrument?
- What are some of the capabilities and weakness of teacher performance across the six domains?
- What teacher and organizational characteristics are related to TASK performance?
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning.Assessment in education, 5(1), 7-74. Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2004). Learning trajectories in mathematics education. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 6(2), 81-89. Daro, P., Mosher, F. A., & Corcoran, T. (2011). Learning trajectories in mathematics (Vol. 68). Research Report. Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education Ebby, C. B., Sirinides, P.; Supovitz, J.A.; Oettinger, A. (2013) Teacher Analysis of Student Knowledge (TASK): Technical Report. Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: a historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological bulletin, 119(2), 254. Ramaprasad, A. (1983). On the definition of feedback. Behavioral Science,28(1), 4-13. Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional science, 18(2), 119-144.
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