# MAA Instructional Practices Guide - Part 4 of 7

We continue our series of reading and working through the MAA Instructional Practices Guide. This is part 4, in which we review pages 49-58 on the basics of assessment.

## Emphasis: #

- stating high-quality goals for student learning,
- providing students frequent informal feedback about their progress toward these goals, and
- evaluating student growth and proficiency based on these goals.

## Six Principles #

- Principle 1. Assessment is not a single event but a continuous cycle.
- Principle 2. Assessment must be an open process.
- Principle 3. Assessment must promote valid inferences.
- Principle 4. Assessment that matters should always employ multiple measures of performance.
- Principle 5. Assessment should measure what is worth learning, not just what is easy to measure.
- Principle 6. Assessment should support every student’s opportunity to learn important mathematics.

## Clear Learning Objectives #

- The guide’s examples from Number Theory and College Algebra
- We can discuss our classes

## Formative vs. Summative #

- Summative feedback is measuring the totality of the students’ knowledge
- Formative feedback gives students a ‘checkup’ designed to help grow.

## Formative Feedback ideas #

Defining it by what it is not:

what does a classroom without formative assessment look like? The instructor would have a predetermined plan, both with daily activities and assessments and would never adjust that plan.

- I found it comforting to see examples provided in the guide:
- Addition trig instruction after quiz
- Reacting to graded tests
- Students presenting their thoughts after interesting question (improper integrals)

## Example in Elementary Math Class: #

The final discussion allows the instructor to frame the purpose of the course, and to establish a reference point adopted throughout the course which is to distinguish between “How to …” and “Why …”.

## “Practical Tips:” #

- Formative assessment is about soliciting evidence to adjust teaching with the intention that student learning improves.
- Summative assessments (as discussed in the next section) can be made formative and may be beneficial for students to value reflection.
- Think about the formative feedback that you communicate. This reflects your beliefs about what is important in mathematics.
- Prompt, specific feedback on students’ strengths and weaknesses is crucial to helping students understand how they can improve.
- Create formative assessments that align with Steen’s principles.