The Caveats

What we are not trying to do

These tasks are prototypes, not tasks ready for immediate administration to fourth-grade students. They are intended to illustrate possible directions for new assessment instruments, not to be an example of a real assessment. Certainly they should be viewed as work in progress, not as fully completed blueprints.

Criteria related to cost, efficiency, and immediate feasibility were deliberately not imposed on the work of the writing group. These are important considerations for implementation, but not for this volume. The MSEB goal for Measuring Up is to promote long-term change, not to write assessment material for current courses.

As assessment instruments, these prototypes are intended for children who have had the full benefit of a Standards-caliber mathematical education in kindergarten through fourth grade. Hence the tasks as presented here will be more appropriate, generally speaking, for students of some time in the future. From the perspective that has historically dominated U.S. testing, these prototypes illustrate directions for tomorrow, rather than tasks for immediate practical use. From a perspective more common in Europe — where tests, appropriately publicized in advance, set targets for teaching and learning — these prototypes do serve the immediate purpose of defining appropriate goals for fourth-grade instruction.

Moreover, the prototypes, as a set, are not intended to illustrate a single assessment that treats all of the mathematics important at the fourth-grade level. Much that is important in the curriculum is not covered adequately in the particular examples chosen for this volume. Nevertheless, to expand our view of appropriate mathematics goals for the primary grades, these tasks provide more opportunities for children to demonstrate their ideas in areas often missing from the curriculum (e.g., data, geometry) than in areas already well entrenched (arithmetic). The imbalance in these examples reflects our desire to illustrate the new, not an effort to reshape the curriculum to fit this particular set of examples.



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Measuring Up: Prototypes for Mathematics Assessment The Caveats What we are not trying to do These tasks are prototypes, not tasks ready for immediate administration to fourth-grade students. They are intended to illustrate possible directions for new assessment instruments, not to be an example of a real assessment. Certainly they should be viewed as work in progress, not as fully completed blueprints. Criteria related to cost, efficiency, and immediate feasibility were deliberately not imposed on the work of the writing group. These are important considerations for implementation, but not for this volume. The MSEB goal for Measuring Up is to promote long-term change, not to write assessment material for current courses. As assessment instruments, these prototypes are intended for children who have had the full benefit of a Standards-caliber mathematical education in kindergarten through fourth grade. Hence the tasks as presented here will be more appropriate, generally speaking, for students of some time in the future. From the perspective that has historically dominated U.S. testing, these prototypes illustrate directions for tomorrow, rather than tasks for immediate practical use. From a perspective more common in Europe — where tests, appropriately publicized in advance, set targets for teaching and learning — these prototypes do serve the immediate purpose of defining appropriate goals for fourth-grade instruction. Moreover, the prototypes, as a set, are not intended to illustrate a single assessment that treats all of the mathematics important at the fourth-grade level. Much that is important in the curriculum is not covered adequately in the particular examples chosen for this volume. Nevertheless, to expand our view of appropriate mathematics goals for the primary grades, these tasks provide more opportunities for children to demonstrate their ideas in areas often missing from the curriculum (e.g., data, geometry) than in areas already well entrenched (arithmetic). The imbalance in these examples reflects our desire to illustrate the new, not an effort to reshape the curriculum to fit this particular set of examples.