One of our graduate research assistants, Robyn Pinilla, shared a preview of some findings that emerged from our cognitive interview data for the SMU 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in November 2020. The 3MT is a competition of graduate scholars founded by the University of Queensland. It has spread worldwide, often starting at individual universities with winning students advancing to regional and national competitions. You can read more about SMU’s 3MT hosted by the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies here.
Robyn presented information on a progression of spatial reasoning skills with specific examples of real-world applications and impact. She advanced from the preliminary round to the finals, sharing meaningful details about shape composition to a generalist audience of students, professors, and others interested in the research done at SMU by the graduate student body. Her presentation, titled “Progress is a Process: Shape Composition as a Micro-progression of Spatial Reasoning,” can be viewed below.
The MMaRS team presented a poster during the online adaptation of the Third Annual Conference of the Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society on October 2, 2020. An important step of gleaning information about K-2 students’ reasoning abilities on tasks associated with our spatial reasoning learning progression was presenting tasks that were understandable to children and feasible to assessors. This work provided a more complete picture of how an iterative development process informed the development of tasks, improved interview flow and experience, and garnered sufficient data to conduct meaningful quantitative and qualitative analyses of the sessions. Further, this online presentation facilitated by the MCLS through Twitter reached audiences that would have previously not had access to the dissemination efforts afforded by a place-based conference.
RME researchers convened two work sessions in July with ten Dallas-Fort Worth area teachers to learn more about their formative assessment needs with their kindergarten through second grade students. These teachers’ experiences and perspectives provide important insights for the MMaRS research project, from which researchers will create formative assessments of numeric relational reasoning and spatial reasoning. The Teacher Advisory Panel, also knowns as TAP, provides ongoing support to the RME research team to ensure the results of the assessments the researchers are building will be useful to guide teacher’s instructional decision making and support student learning of these constructs.
During the first session, the teachers participated in focus group discussions with the research team to share their insights, understanding, and reactions to the concept of learning progressions. (Learning progressions will form the basis of the formative assessments.) Next, teachers collaborated with the research team on a virtual design charette exercise, where rotating groups of teachers designed their ideal testing scenarios based on their classroom experiences, including wants and needs. A snapshot of one group’s design is shown in the picture above. The RME research team will use the information from the TAP workshop sessions—as well as multiple other sources of data—to build the instructional tools and formative assessment items for the MMaRS project.