- Do You Want Me to Do
It with Probability or with My Normal Thinking? Horizontal and Vertical
Views on the Formation of Stochastic Conceptions, by Susanne Prediger, Germany
- Teachers’ Perceptions of Mathematics Content Knowledge Assessments in Professional Development Courses, by Michelle T. Chamberlin, Robert A. Powers and Jodie D. Novak, USA
- Mathematics Anxiety Among 4th And 5th Grade Turkish Elementary School Students, by Fulya Yüksel-Şahin, Türkiye
- A Comparison of Placement in First-Year University Mathematics Courses Using Paper and Online Administration of a Placement Test, by Phyllis A. Schumacher and Richard M. Smith, USA
- Senior Student Teachers’ Understanding of Relations Between Function, Equation, and Polynomial Concepts as Conceptual Knowledge, Danyal Soybas, Yılmaz Aksoy and Hayri Akay, Türkiye
In this collection, I found the article by Chamberlin, Powers and Novak particularly interesting, so I will provide you with some more details about it. The study reported in this article is related to the No Child Left Behind initiative in the U.S. In relation to this initiative, several professional development courses in the U.S. are required to assess the teachers’ content knowledge. This article reports on the evaluation of the impact of these assessments. Although the article does not provide a very thorough theoretical background, it gives a good overview of the survey that were made to investigate the teachers’ perceptions about these assessments.
One of the results of this survey was that the teachers appeared to learn more because of the assessments. They explain it like this:
We surmise that these positive effects may be due to an important aspect of theassessment process in these PD courses – the assessment and learning of mathematical topics and material was on-going and demonstrating mastery of those ideas was expected.
Many teachers appear to be reluctant to be tested, and this study apparently describes a study which had positive experiences with assessing the teachers after a course, and this might be interesting for other teacher educators or providers of in-service courses to take a closer look at.
In this paper, some fundamental issues on mathematics assessment and how they are related to the underlying cultural values in East Asia are discussed. Features of the East Asian culture that impact on mathematics assessment include the pragmatic nature of the culture, the social orientation of East Asian people, and the lop-sided stress on the utilitarian function of education. East Asians stress the algorithmic side of mathematics, and mathematics is viewed more as a set of techniques for calculation and problem solving. The notion of fairness in assessment is of paramount importance, and there is a great trust in examination as a fair method of differentiating between the able and the less able. The selection function of education and assessment has great impact on how mathematics is taught, and assessment constitutes an extrinsic motivation which directs student learning. Finally, the strengths and weaknesses of these East Asian values are discussed.