This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 14 Assessment (April 16-22)

I want to suggest one more content topic before we wrap up the course - assessment and evaluation. Let us see if we can connect it to other ideas of the course!


  1. Find or design a mathematical project you would love to do with kids. We were defining projects last week: Project-based learning, as well as problem-solving and puzzles, is somewhat challenging to evaluate, compared to exercises.  This is one reason there are a lot of exercises in many curricula.
  2. Describe a formative and a summative assessment for your project. You are likely to need some descriptions of these types of assessment. Share your links if you find good sources, please.
  3. Quite a few people included several types of assessment in the Evil Overlord lists!  As much as playing on the dark side promotes analysis, let's be benevolent, this time. How will you make your assessments pleasant, constructive and meaningful for students?
  4. Will your assessments work well for everybody? Will you need to make accommodations for gifted, special needs, non-native speakers, and other types students?  Describe one such accommodation as an example. The answer will depend on the nature of your project, as well.

Task Discussion

  • Laura Haeberle   April 26, 2012, 9:42 p.m.

    1. So I found a project that perfectly relates into my life. In my "Instuctional Techniques in Early Childhood" class, we just finished a project where we have to create a week-long unit plan. I actually found a math-based project that works perfectly with my unit theme of health and nutrition. The project can be found here:

    Basically, the project is about having the children fill out a survey on how healthy their lunch was. They have the opportunity to evaluate their food choices and see where their meals relate to the Food Pyramid. Then, the children survey classmates and graph the results. Questions can range from: "How many vegetables did you eat today?" to "How many snacks did you have?" which allows creativity and math-based expression.

    2. My formative assessment would first be the student's comprehension of their own eating. I would have the students fill out a rating scale on how healthy their choices were, and see who seems to be way off. I would also analyze the survey questions they selected, looking to see how advanced the questions are, if the student only uses "yes" or "no" questions, how much the questions relate to nutrition, etc. In the end, the graphs would also be an assessment. I would see who properly labeled the graph, whose data matches their graphic visual, who chose multiple means to present, etc.

    My summative assessment would be analyzing if the children could think creatively about nutrition. I would see if they became more critical of their eating choices over time, and consider who recognized the personal stake in the material. To close, I could give a test with a list of foods, asking the students to recognize which were healthy, and explain why. This would ensure that children realized the qualities of healthy and unhealthy eating.

    3. To make the assessments fun and not intimidating, I would try to base most of it off their own experiences. The survey would be based off a subtopic in nutrition that they want to learn about. Children should control their own learning and how they can demonstrate knowledge. For the graph, I would give a large amount of instruction on how to arrange the material, and how to use line graphs, bar graphs, etc. I would let them know that they could come to me for questions regarding the graph, or even ask a classmate. For the test, I would ask why they believe a food is healthy, making some answers up for debate. I would also try to let the students know that there is little pressure on test results, and more just on the effort they gave through the project.

    4. The website I got the project idea from actually has a section on differentiation. For students with special needs, I could have them work on the survey in pairs. Or I could even provide a template for the survey, or a specific structure for the graph. For gifted students, I could ask them to create a pie chart based on the percentages of people surveyed. For ESL, I could encourage the student to make their survey based more on visuals than text. Again, I could also pair them with another student, ideally someone skilled with English. Overall, I think I could make it so this project encourages the individual abilities of all kids.

  • Keisha   April 24, 2012, 8:49 p.m.

    1. A project I found that’s good for teaching multiplication is Oreo math. This website shows a teacher teaching her students how to find different arrays with Oreos for multiplication problems. The students will have a lot of fun and learn math at the same time.

    2. Formative: A way to assess the students is to see them form the different arrays with the Oreos. You can also ask them questions and have them work the problem in their head to make sure that they processing the information in their brains. A final assessment could also be a multiplication test. Quiz the students on all the different arrays of multiplication. EX: 6 x 4, 4 x 6, 3 x 8, and 8 x 3.

    Summative: I could give out a multiplication test at the end of the lesson. This will assure me that the students are able to work these problems out in their heads and that they can easily recall information learned.

    3. Going with what I mentioned above the students can get assessed by getting them to show you the arrays with the Oreos.  Using Oreos as a way of testing will take some pressure of the students. They won’t feel like it’s a test because you’re not having them at a desk with a pencil and paper. I will give them feedback on how well they are doing and strategies to help them if they are having trouble understanding the concept.

    4. I don’t believe my assessment will work for everybody only because it’s everybody learns and react differently. Oreos will probably not be the best item to use for this project. Some students won’t be able to control the urge to eat the snacks while doing the project. In elementary school when snacks were used in a game or a lesson the special needs students would always eat them and we could never get through with what we were doing. I could make fake cookies using paper or buy plastic ones.

  • Kathy Cianciola   April 23, 2012, 7:56 p.m.

    I found this great site loaded with interesting and fun learning-center activities:


    Outlines Game: One-to-one correspondence: On a piece of posterboard, draw around various items (key, comb, lock, bottle cap, rubber band, etc -- making sure no two outlines look the same).  Laminate the posterboard and place the items in a box.  Children match the items to their outlines.

    Pattern Cards: If you have a set of stringing beads in your classroom, extend the activity by making pattern cards which show children the order in which to string the beads.  These can be created by simply drawing around the beads then coloring them in.  For example, one card might have two red beads, followed by 3 yellow beads, followed by 2 red beads, by 3 yellow, etc.  Children string beads following the patterns.

    Learning Centers, STORMIE SEEVERS,1997-2008

    The Formative Assessment of this activity would involve watching and guiding the students as they match shapes to their corresponding outlines, and observing their accuracy as they match the patterns of the beads to the patterns drawn on the pattern cards.  One purpose of formative assessment is to see how accurately the students are performing the task, who might still need help and where the problems lie.  I would try to make the assessment pleasant by encouraging student that even if they couldn't get it right right off the bat, they could still keep their wonderful, lovely creations.  If they ran into a problem I would certainly not deconstruct their bead projects and make them do them all over again.  Only an "evil overlord" would do that!

    The Summative Assessment activity of this activity would require students who have worked on this over time to actually be able to perform the task of matching shapes and stringing beads in specific patterns that correspond to the pattern cards.

    NOTE-I saw an article, that compared the idea of formative assessment and summative assessment to learning to drive a car.  The formative assessent would be the behind-the-wheel practice as it is being assessed by the instructor, and the final on-the-road test is like the summative assessment.

  • Carolyn Lesser   April 19, 2012, 4:27 p.m.


    1.    One math project I found was creating a board game on chapters that were previously assigned. This is an awesome way to review or relearn information, and see what kind of understanding the students have. It is fun to design and even more fun to actually play the game when all the students are finished with their boards!

    2.    Formative assessment:

    A formative assessment would be to have the students be able to actually make the game boards and to play them. It is sort of like a practice for them before the big test and a tool for the teacher to see what they understand. If there are certain areas the students are struggling with, the teacher can review this information and make sure that students will do better for the final exam.

    Summative Assessment:

    The summative assessment would be a test on the material that was the game board. This exam would be given at the end of the year or chapter after the game boards were complete. It will be graded more seriously than the game board and will be more definite.

    3.    The assessment will be pleasant because making a game board will be very fun for them. It will allow them to learn in fun and safe environment, helping them enjoy the learning process. It will be meaningful to them because what they are making is something that they can see and touch. It is something they can play with and actually learn from. Something written isn’t as engaging and probably wouldn’t be as reinforcing. This would be contrastive as well because it would make it easy for the teacher to be able to see where mistakes lie. The teacher can give advice and write down feedback on what they need to work on.

    4.    This one really depends on what the students do to make their board games. Every student can make the board the way they want or how they are able to. They will also be working in groups so each person can do what they can. If a student can’t do a certain part then another student should be able to. If not then they don’t need to add it to their game board. You could also provide special materials if they are needed for certain students. 

  • SandyG   April 16, 2012, 7:31 p.m.

    Find or design a mathematical project you would love to do with kids.

    I found this website of math project love it!  I love the creativity involved in each project, and I love that students could be given a choice of what project they would complete.  I might add a computer component much like we did in class using Scratch or another website to create a game.  I could also allow students to create a piece of art and require them to write a brief summary of how mathematics was used in its creation.  I would ask the students to present their projects to the class.  I could consider differentiating instruction further by allowing students to pick whether they wanted to complete the projects independently or with a partner.

    Describe a formative and a summative assessment for your project. You are likely to need some descriptions of these types of assessment. Share your links if you find good sources, please.

    Formative assessment:  Once the projects are completed, I would display them throughout the room.  I could allow time for students to examine, try, or view the other students’ projects.  I could then ask them to choose any 3 of the projects and to write a paragraph or two discussing how math is involved in at least 3 of the projects.  I would also take time to do class discussion of the projects and have each student(s) discuss their process of development.

    Summative assessment:   I would assign a grade on how the student did the project.  I might follow similar steps as those outlined at

    All students will follow the seven phases below for their projects:

    Decide on a project type.

    Develop an initial plan.

    Have the plan approved by the teacher.

    Create the first draft of the plan.

    Have the first draft approved by the teacher.

    Create the final draft.

    The final draft will then be evaluated.   


    I would assess the students’ understanding at each step, and make certain they understand the process as they work through it.

    How will you make your assessments pleasant, constructive and meaningful for students?

    I will certainly offer positive feedback.   Students will be given a rubric at the start of the project.  The rubric will list each step and the total points possible for the step.  For example, if one step is worth 5 points, I would tell them the expectation that must be met to earn 1, 2, 3, 4, or the maximum 5 points.  This will allow the students to know the expectation and to decide how much effort they wish to expend.  I will also offer some ideas in case they are unsure what the step is all about.  By offering feedback as students work on the project, they will have some idea how they’re doing, and will not be surprised at the end of the project if they don’t do well.


    Will your assessments work well for everybody? Will you need to make accommodations for gifted, special needs, non-native speakers, and other types students?  Describe one such accommodation as an example. The answer will depend on the nature of your project, as well.

    This project lends itself to differentiation at every step.  Allowing students to pick their project allows students to tailor it to their needs and preferences.  Allowing students to work as a team provides an opportunity for reluctant learners or those who prefer to follow the chance to meet their needs while still participating.  Each student can make a project as easy or as complex as their needs and abilities allow.  The assessments are tailored to each student and each student’s project, so it takes into account learning differences.  Students are assessed on their finished project—whether it is a multi-screen game or a drawing of a flower.  The game would not be considered more worthy of a higher grade.  The effort put into the project, and the student’s ability to explain how math was used is assessed.  Their creativity is not assessed.