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]]>I quite enjoyed your comments regarding our responsibility for teaching our students how to learn rather than just teaching them to memorize the content. In order to complete the case studies assignment I found myself reading a lot of articles about the use of inquiry methods in both math and science classrooms, and in almost every article they stressed the importance of teaching students the process of inquiry as a technique that they will be able to use in their learning for the rest of their lives. A few of these articles in particular were:

• Nadelson, L. S. (2009). How Can True Inquiry Happen in K-16 Science Education?. Science Educator, 18(1), 48.

• Banchi, H., & Bell, R. (2008). The many levels of inquiry. Science and children, 46(2), 26.

• Stein, M. K., Engle, R. A., Smith, M. S., & Hughes, E. K. (2008). Orchestrating productive mathematical discussions: Five practices for helping teachers move beyond show and tell. Mathematical thinking and learning, 10(4), 313-340.

For me, Chapter 8’s discussions of portfolios was one that was quite interesting. I have always found myself to be somewhat skeptical of the application of a portfolio to a mathematics course, but upon reading this I found myself somewhat inspired. In particular I found the portfolio which had four separate sections to be particularly interesting. In the past few weeks in one of my other courses we have been talking at length about the importance of having diversity in assessment in math, and we did some reading about the variety of methods of assessment which can be easily implemented in a mathematics course. I was thinking that it might be interesting to implement a set of these assessments into a portfolio type of collection, with a tab being for journaling, another for projects, one for quizzes and tests, and one for visual representations (printed pictures) of physical tasks or problem recreations done by the students. For me this really stood out as a great way to encourage the students to take pride in their work and to encourage the parents to take an active interest in their children’s education. Students place a very significant weight on both feedback from their teachers and their parents, and I feel like this would be a very easy way to engage the parents in giving their children the feedback that they need to feel motivated to continue to push themselves towards academic success.

My Math Assessment Textbook: Mathematics Assessment: A Practical Handbook for Grades 9-12 (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 1999).

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]]>I was also left with many questions following Tim’s visit, and I will be very curious to see what new initiatives are presented in the coming years. With an increasing focus on literacy and graduation rates I am curious to see what changes accompany this in respect to assessment. Will there be a greater expectation on teachers to be lenient and a call for more accommodations to be made(something which I already feel our schools do quite often). I didn’t necessarily agree with his sentiment that a 47% is a pass, and I would worry that if this is the kind of approach that we use in order to increase our graduation rates, that maybe it will do more to discredit the validity of our system rather than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there will always be a need for some level of leniency in life and in academics, I feel like considering 47% to be a pass would be a very slippery slope to start on. With my background being in mathematics, so many of the concepts from one year are expanded upon in the next year. These deficiencies compound year after year, and the students have to work incredibly hard to dig themselves out of the hole that we have put them in by “pushing them through”. Anyways, I’m assuming that the discussion of students being “held back” and “pushed through” is something that will come up in the coming weeks, so that’s where I will leave it for today…

Have a good weekend!

-Petina

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