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Classroom Assessment in Mathematics: Perspectives from Around the Globe

Denisse R. Thompson, Megan Burton, Annalisa Cusi, and David Wright, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
ICME-13 Monographs
[Reviewed by
Bingqian Wei
, on

Classroom Assessment in Mathematics: Perspectives from Around the Globe is a volume of studies around topics of formative assessment in math classrooms. This volume provides a broad picture of current classroom assessment practices around the world, a glimpse of types of information from those practices, and a brief discussion of the future research direction.

The book is arranged in six parts, four thematic sections and an introduction and conclusion. The introductory paper explains the importance of formative assessment in math classrooms, which “is used to guide instruction or help teachers determine how to move students’ learning forward” (p. 5, Chapter 1), via comparing with the summative assessment.

Part two presents three empirical studies to illustrate how the formative assessment can be implemented in math classrooms. The methods include using responses from pre-assessments as recourses for teachers to prepare and adapt interventions for student math reasoning (Chapter 2), dealing with in-the-moment assessment opportunities from classroom observations and conversations (Chapter 3), and investigating student self-diagnosis sheet to help students to self-assess their confidence of individual practice (Chapter 4).

Part three provides four examples that investigate technologies as tools for formative assessment. Three studies use online platforms to enhance formative assessment via creating an interactive learning environment (Chapter 6) and promote students’ learning by adding constraints or distractors to online assessment items (Chapter 7 and 8). One study investigates the digital flip-camera as an assessment tool to improve early career teachers’ abilities of data collection and analysis of student learning (Chapter 5). Part four focuses on the methodologies of formative assessment design, particularly using cognitive diagnostic assessment (Chapter 9) and Rasch modeling (Chapter 10).

Part five addresses current problems or efforts of teacher practices in the field of formative assessment. Chapter 11 discusses the lack of regulation in France regarding formative assessment design and teachers’ focus less on formative assessment than summative assessment. Chapter 12 critiques Chilean teacher’s guidelines in terms of lacking support of assessing students’ visualization of geometry learning. A call for action in teacher professional development is addressed via an integration of formative assessment and different pedagogical approaches (Chapter 13) and the implementation of a toolkit of technologies that can serve teachers and researchers to obtain evidence of student learning (Chapter 14). The concluding paper (Part six) synthesizes this volume and calls for systemic changes in teacher practices and professional developments to emphasize the importance of formative assessment.

This monograph provides a brief picture of formative assessment around the globe. The contributors and participants in the 13 research papers (Chapter 2–14) include teachers and students from the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Chili, Australia and so on. Readers who are interested in the cross-culture or cross-nation formative assessment may benefit from this volume. Another highlight of this volume is the discussion of technologies for formative assessment in different projects (Chapter 5–8, 14). Researchers, teachers or educators who interested in the implementation of technologies for formative assessment can get a rich resource from this volume.

Overall, this book provides a resourceful information about the formative assessment in the field of math education. As a new and developing concept, formative assessment needs to be studied and addressed from more perspectives. This volume is a good start. Teachers, researchers, educators, policy makers can take this book as a resource to consider in what way formative assessment can be better used as an integral instrument to promote students’ learning of math.

Bingqian Wei is a doctoral student in Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. Her research interests include measurement of student learning progression of math concepts and teacher professional development.

See the table of contents on the publisher's web page.