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.
Through the generous support of NSF, Research in Mathematics Education is working to study two early predictors of mathematics success in K-2 students; numerical relational reasoning and spatial reasoning. By better understanding student thinking through a series of one on one interviews, researchers are developing learning progressions (also known as concept maps) which order and link the sequence in which learning happens. Through this understanding of student thinking, assessments will be developed which will assist teachers in gathering data and identifying gaps as students learn the concepts of numerical relational reasoning and spatial reasoning.
RME’s award winning video “Developing STEM Access in Students K-2 through MMaRS” illustrates the iterative nature of our research through prototyping classroom tasks which elicit student thinking. Researchers describe how we develop learning progressions and elementary leaders articulate the importance of an assessment to identify student thinking gaps and guide teacher instruction.
The MMaRS team submission, led by PhD student Robyn Pinilla, prepared a poster presentation focused on the iterative design process used to gather validity evidence for K-2 mathematics assessments. The purpose of these assessments is to measure student understanding and skills in numeric relational reasoning and spatial reasoning. Both these foundational concepts are developmentally important for K-2 students. The assessments developed from this work can guide teacher instructional practices.
During the fall of 2019, the MMaRS team conducted cognitive interviews centered on Spatial Reasoning to help provide evidence for the MMaRS Spatial Reasoning Learning Progressions. Collecting these data helped us investigate the ordering, conceptualization, and interconnectedness of the MMaRS Spatial Reasoning Learning Progressions. Cognitive interview protocols were carefully crafted to probe students’ reasoning skills for each of the spatial skills identified on the learning progressions. The MMaRS team conducted a small number of “try-outs” with children in Grades K-2 using the cognitive interview protocols. These “try-outs” provided insight into any refinements that needed to be made to the protocols before collecting data from a larger number of students during the winter of 2020. Thank you to all of our research participants!