Assessment for Learning in Math

Learning from Teachers' Journey in Using ICT to Enhance AfL

MacPherson Prmary School

Abstract


Assessment for Learning (AfL), also known as ‘formative assessment', involves teachers using evidences of students' learning for reflection of teaching processes and to provide feedback. Research has shown that the use of AfL in classrooms has been successful (Leahy, Lyon, Thompson and Wiliam 2005).


Facing the challenge of low progress and unmotivated pupils, a group of teachers in MacPherson Primary School explored how ICT can enhance AfL to engage and benefit these learners. With the understanding of AfL practices and TPACK, our teachers designed and carried out lessons with effective discussions, questions, and learning tasks.



Introduction


A large part of the student profile in MacPherson Primary School are of low socioeconomic status. struggle with Mathematics (Hochschild, 2003). There was a need to provide pupils with opportunities to make their thinking visible in order for teachers to assess their understanding and provide immediate feedback to the pupils in order to move learning forward.


Our journey involved the introduction of two Primary 5 classes to technological tools such as the Google online office suite and Socrative, to improve pupils' The lessons and activities designed for the topics 'Percentage' and 'Quadrilaterals'


The experience gave the teachers greater insight to how the pupils learn and made them reflect deeply on their teaching practice.

Literature Review

Assessment for Learning (AfL)



Leahy, Lyon, Thompson and Wiliam (2005) introduced five key strategies to create a learning environment for AfL in classrooms. These five strategies are:


  1. Clarifying and sharing learning intentions and criteria for success.
  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks.
  3. Providing feedback that moves learners forward.
  4. Activating students as the owners of their own learning.
  5. Activating students as instructional resources for one another.



TPACK


TPACK (Cox and Graham 2009) is a framework to clarify the interplay between Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) and the intersection of the three, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). This framework helps teachers to use technology to teach effectively.

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Research Question

How does opportunities for mathematical thinking in the learning process build students’ mathematical reasoning and communication skills?

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Intervention


Percentage


Pupils are introduced to the concept of percent as a fraction out of a hundred using

the percentage applet and to record their observations and conclusion in Google Docs.

They will also explore the relationship between percentage and it's equivalent fractions using a geogebra applet. Google sheet is used for pupils' findings and deduction.

Lastly, pupils will apply the concept of percentage in a problem using 'What number makes sense?'

Mr Lim collected ____ fruits from his garden. There were ____ mangoes and ____ papayas. ____ % of the fruits were mangoes. ____ % of the fruits were papayas. If I want to fill in the blanks with the numbers, 15, 30, 35, 50, 70 where do you think they fit best?


Quadrilaterals


Pupils will explore the different parallelograms using web applets to find out the properties of its sides and angles. Responses are recorded and discussed on Google forms and sheets. The flow of the lessons are structured by Google site.


In both topics, tools such as Socrative and LMS forums are also used to assess pupil understanding, facilitate discussion and strengthen mastery.



Affordances of ICT tools


Google Site

Google site is a very useful tool to help teachers structure the flow of the lesson as well as guiding the pupils with their tasks. Different parts of the lesson are divided into different sections in the site which makes the lesson progression organised.


Google Office Suite

Although having a much lighter feature set as compared to Microsoft Office, the Google Office Suite offers a better online collaboration experience, allowing pupils to easily view and edit their work online.


Socrative

An online assessment tool that allows teachers to personalize content and receive student results in real time. Accessing the assessment room is quick and easy for the pupils and the website will generate reports of pupils' answers for teachers.


LMS Forum

Good for class discussion. Pupils are able to read each other's post and give feedback easily.


Various web apps and Geogebra

Easy to use online app which provides powerful visual representation of abstract Math concepts to help pupil understanding.

Results (Our Findings)

Teacher Reflection


Teachers involved in the project had to complete a reflection of the lesson design and of how the pupils have learnt during the lesson.


Student Task Reasoning


From the examples pupils observe from their tasks, discussions was made to lead them to understand the various Math concepts.


From the teacher reflections and student artifacts, a few observation becomes apparent.


  1. Low progress learners need scaffolding and lesson tasks to be structured in small digestible chucks.
  2. Modelling and specific instructions are needed to assist low progress pupils to successfully carry out their tasks.
  3. Apps provides powerful visual aid to the pupils but teacher guidance and class discussion is still crucial for pupils to grasp the correct Math concepts.

Discussion

  1. Teachers are able to use various tools to handle AfL information and data and used them to provide immediate feedback as well as to adapt subsequent lessons to meet pupils' learning needs.
  2. Teachers gained an insight into designing and integrating ICT into lessons effectively for low progress pupils with scaffolding, modelling and chunking.
  3. ICT tools allows every pupils to be engaged and be active contributors of their learning.
  4. Pupils demonstrated better understanding of concepts pertaining to percentage and parallelogram.

Learning & Insights (from the AR project) / Conclusion

This project has provided a rich learning experience for the teachers involved and a better understand of how pupils can learn with technology.

References

  1. S. Leahy, C. Lyon, M. Thompson and D. Wiliam (2005). Educational Leadership. Classroom Assessment: Minute by Minute, Day by Day, 63(3), 19-24
  2. Hochschild, J. L. (2003). Social class in public schools. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 821-840.
  3. S. Cox, C. R. Graham (2009). Tech Trends. Using an Elaborated Model of the TPACK Framework to Analyze and Depict Teacher Knowledge, 53, 60-69.
  4. Koehler, M. (2012, January 1). Using the TPACK Image. Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/using-the-tpack-image/