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The National Research Council (NRC) is the operating arm of the National Academies Complex, which includes the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized in 1916 by the National Academy of Sciences to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and providing impartial advice to the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dr. William Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineering, also serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education (CSMEE) was established in 1995 to provide coordination of all the National Research Council’s education activities and reform efforts for students at all levels, specifically those in kindergarten through twelfth grade, undergraduate institutions, school-to-work programs, and continuing education. The Center reports directly to the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
The Mathematical Sciences Education Board was established in 1985 to provide a continuing national capability to assess the status and quality of education in the mathematical sciences and is concerned with excellence in education for all students at all levels. The Board reports directly to the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
Development, publication, and dissemination of this report were supported by a grant from The Carnegie Corporation of New York. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
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Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL CENTER FOR SCIENCE, MATHEMATICS, AND ENGINEERING EDUCATION MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES EDUCATION BOARD JULY 1, 1997 – JUNE 30, 1998
HYMAN BASS (MSEB Chair)
GLENDA T. LAPPAN (MSEB Vice Chair)
Michigan State University
Prescott Unified School District
University of Michigan
St. Paul Academy and Summit School
GAIL F. BURRILL
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Maryland
SHELLEY K. FERGUSON
California Mathematics Project
MELVIN D. GEORGE
University of Missouri
ROGER E. HOWE
Enterprise School District, Redding, CA
Yakima School District, Yakima, WA
Connecticut Department of Education
Bronxville Public Schools
EDWARD A. SILVER
University of Pittsburgh
University of Wisconsin, Madison
SUSAN S. WOOD
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
RODGER BYBEE Executive Director,
JOAN FERRINI-MUNDY Director,
FRANCIS "SKIP" FENNELL Senior Program Officer
BRADFORD FINDELL Program Officer/Editor
GALE MOORE Financial & Admin. Associate
DOUG SPRUNGER Senior Project Assistant
This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRCs Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:
DIANE J. BRIARS Director, Division of Mathematics, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA
NORM WEBB Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, Madison, WI
IRIS R. WEISS President, Horizon Research, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC
LESLIE WILSON Supervisor of Testing and Training, Howard County Public School System, Ellicott City, MD
While the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.
We want to take the opportunity to thank the MSEB and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, in particular, for inviting us to write this document. Also, we would like to acknowledge the help we received from numerous colleagues in the preparation of this document, in particular, those who graciously allowed us to interview them and those who read early drafts and gave us critical reviews. These two groups of colleagues include Ann Booth, Diane Briars, Bill Collins, Anne Cummings, Lise Dworkin, Skip Fennell, Susan Loucks-Horsley, Tony Mana, Vance Mills, Jean Moon, Vince O'Connor, Maria Santos, Dan Tobin, De Tonack, Charlie Usher, Norm Webb, and Bob Witte.
Our thanks go as well to the several hundred teachers in the Assessment Communities of Teachers (ACT) Project and Leadership for Urban Mathematics Reform (LUMR) Project, whose dedicated leadership efforts, especially those based on the use of students' mathematical work, have informed us all.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge our EDC colleague, Ruth Leary, for her valuable assistance in preparing the graphics in the document.
Education Development Center, Inc.
Curriculum reform, performance assessment, standards, portfolios, and high stakes testing—what's next? What does this all mean for me in my classroom? Many teachers have asked such questions since mathematics led the way in setting standards with the publication of the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 1989). This seminal document and others that followed served as catalysts for mathematics education reform, giving rise to new initiatives related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment over the past decade. In particular, approaches to classroom, school, and district-wide assessment have undergone a variety of changes as educators have sought to link classroom teaching to appropriate assessment opportunities.
Since the publication of Everybody Counts (National Research Council [NRC], 1989), the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) has dedicated its efforts to the improvement of mathematics education. A national summit on assessment led to the publication of For Good Measure (NRC, 1991). This statement of goals and objectives for assessment in mathematics was followed by Measuring Up (NRC, 1993a), which provided prototypical fourth-grade performance assessment tasks linked to the goals of the NCTM's Curriculum and Evaluation Standards. Measuring What Counts (NRC, 1993b) demonstrated the importance of mathematics content, learning, and equity as they relate to assessment. The MSEB is now prepared to present perspectives on issues in mathematics education assessment for those most directly en-
gaged in implementing the reform initiatives on a daily basis—classroom teachers, school principals, supervisors, and others in school-based settings.
The MSEB, with generous support and encouragement from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, seeks to bring discussion of assessment to school-and district-based practitioners through an initiative called Assessment in Practice (AIP). Originally conceived as a series of "next steps" to follow the publication of Measuring Up and For Good Measure, the project, with assistance from an advisory board, developed a publication agenda to provide support to teachers and others directly involved with the teaching and assessment of children in mathematics classrooms at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
In a series of three booklets, AIP presents an exploration of issues in assessment. The first booklet, Learning About Assessment, Learning Through Assessment discusses ways to assist teachers in learning about assessment and how student work can be a rich resource in professional development. The second, Assessment in Support of Instruction, makes a case for aligning assessments with state and district curriculum frameworks and examines ways in which states have shifted their curriculum frameworks and related state assessment programs to reflect the NCTM Standards and other perspectives. The third booklet, Keeping Score, discusses issues to be considered while developing high quality mathematics assessments. This series is specifically designed to be used at the school and school district level by teachers, principals, supervisors, and measurement specialists.
As we continue in our efforts to understand the implications of standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment, it is critical that teachers and others involved with the practice of instruction have the opportunity to reflect on how to best achieve the ultimate goal of improving student learning in mathematics. The MSEB welcomes this opportunity to provide resources in the area of assessment.
Hyman Bass, Chair
Mathematical Sciences Education Board