“Balanced assessment” appears to be the name of a new approach to mathematics teaching and assessment at the K–8 level. The philosophy of this assessment approach is to answer the question “What is the structure of mathematics?”, and a division of the subject into “object” and “action” is proposed, to replace “content” and “process”.
This seems like an alternate choice of substructure worth examining; as a result, five categories of objects and four of actions are detailed. The new approach requires no changes in the mathematical content taught in the primary grades, but does suggest that students’ educational progress be measured against different criteria. The authors take care to indicate how this method of teaching corresponds to the 2006 NCTM Curriculum Focal Points.
In an effort to introduce this way of teaching and learning, the majority of the book is taken up with suggested classroom activities designed to assess student performance against these new standards. If this approach appeals to the reader, then a ready source of assessment tools is immediately available.
While designed primarily for elementary school teachers interested in this new approach to mathematics, the book might also be of interest to those of us who are involved in teacher education and like to keep tabs on what’s going on in grades K–6.
Mark Bollman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate professor of mathematics at Albion College in Michigan. His professional interests include number theory, probability, and geometry. His claim to be the only Project NExT fellow (Forest dot, 2002) who has taught both English composition and organic chemistry to college students has not, to his knowledge, been successfully contradicted. If it ever is, he is sure that his experience teaching introductory geology will break that deadlock.