Teach and assess mathematics differently in high school

A wind of change is blowing through the teaching and evaluation practices of secondary mathematics teachers at the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM). Indeed, the constraints linked to the pandemic and the obligation to teach at a distance have given rise to questions and reflections on several subjects, and more specifically on evaluation.

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By Claudine Leclerc and Nathalie Krikorian, secondary mathematics pedagogical advisers at the Montreal School Service Center https://cybersavoir.csdm.qc.ca/mat-sec/

A wind of change is blowing through the teaching and evaluation practices of secondary mathematics teachers at the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM). Indeed, the constraints linked to the pandemic and the obligation to teach at a distance have given rise to questions and reflections on several subjects, and more specifically on evaluation.

Several training courses as well as tools were offered to mathematics teachers at the CSSDM to support them during this pandemic. Hundreds of teachers have been trained remotely in the evenings after school. The resources used during training can be found in this Genially :

Here are the different topics covered!

Plan pedagogical and evaluative alignment by asking questions

  • What do the students need to learn?
  • What are the targeted learning?
  • What activities or tasks will allow students to learn and develop skills?
  • What tasks will allow the teacher to know if the students have learned?
  • What evidence will be relevant to the judgment?

Planning is essential to structure and guide educational interventions. 

Also consult this Genially.

Identify learning and assessment tasks and activities

  • Choose tasks consistent with the targeted learning.
  • Choose tasks that allow the development of skills.
  • Choose a good problem that prompts reflection, discussion (mathematical discussions) and that lends itself to the use of a variety of strategies.
  • Vary the type of questions, the type of tasks and the technological tools (Math Menu, Open Middle, Math in 3 steps, creative tasks, Desmos, GeoGebra, etc.).

Departing from the “evaluative model” resulting from the evaluations recommended by the Ministry of Education has enabled teachers to realize the richness of certain tasks and the motivation of students in the face of new challenges. Bringing shorter tasks to life and making students more active in their learning was a turning point in terms of changes in practice.

In a mathematics class, we should see students who discuss as a team, who reason, who collaborate, who use various resources (technologies, manipulatives, etc.), students who have fun solving problems .

To have : Mathematics intervention reference system

Develop and assess skills differently through a task

Here are the aspects to consider:

  • Identify the learning intention;
  • Identify the components to be worked on and the evaluation criteria;
  • Identify the moment in the sequence to bring the task to life.

The teachers' major observation was to realize that the same task (or with a few differences) could develop competence 1 or competence 2, depending on the components and criteria targeted as well as the way of managing the task.

Watch video: Evaluate skills

Collect evidence of learning

To help gather evidence, various grids were made available to teachers. Teachers can take inspiration from them and adjust them to their needs.

To pass judgment

Finally, the teachers realized, even more with the pandemic, that the judgment does not result only from the accumulation of the different results obtained by the student throughout the year, but that it is more a look than the we focus on the progression and understanding of the student.

  • Evaluate by triangulation
  • Evaluate with the evaluation criteria
  • Offer students several opportunities to demonstrate their skills several times during the year
  • Provide opportunities for students to reconsider their difficulties
  • Provide feedback to students on a regular basis to:
    • inform them about their progress; 
    • let them know what they can do;
    •  let them know how to improve;
    • maintain their commitment and support their perseverance.

You can't change everything at the same time, but let's use this particular year to start thinking and take small steps towards long-term practice change. CSSDM training will continue next year.

The question of evaluation is on everyone's lips! This was also one of the themes at the heart of the spring 2021 issue of the École branchée magazine, whichwe can get it here

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