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Caroline B. Ebby

An activity uses the visual element of sugar cubes to examine how much sugar is included in drinks packaged in various sizes. Activity sheets are included.

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Caroline B. Ebby and Marjorie Petit

Numerous research studies have shown that formative assessment is a classroom practice that when carried out effectively can improve student learning (Black and Wiliam 1998). Formative assessment is not just giving tests and quizzes more frequently. When assessment is truly formative, the evidence that is generated is interpreted by the teacher and the student and then used to make adjustments in the teaching and learning process. In other words, the formative assessment generates feedback, and that feedback is used to enhance student learning. Formative assessment is therefore fundamentally an interpretive process: It is less about the structure, format, or timing of the assessment and more about the function and use by both the teacher and student (Wiliam 2011). For teachers of mathematics, the heart of this process is making sense of and understanding student thinking in relation to content goals.

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Caroline B. Ebby, Elizabeth T. Hulbert, and Nicole Fletcher

Dig deeper into classroom artifacts using research-based learning progressions to enhance your analysis and response to student work, even when most students solve a problem correctly.

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Jonathan A. Supovitz, Caroline B. Ebby, Janine T. Remillard, and Robert Nathenson

In this article, we use a two-dimensional assessment to examine the experimental impacts of a mathematics learning trajectory–oriented formative assessment program on student strategies for problems involving multiplication and division. Working from the theory that the development of students’ multiplicative reasoning involves improvements in both problem-solving accuracy and sophistication of strategies used to solve problems, we designed an assessment instrument to measure both dimensions of student learning. The instrument was used to measure the impact of the Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP), which develops teachers’ capacity to regularly assess student thinking in relation to a learning progression to develop instructional responses that are based on evidence of student thinking. The results showed significant impacts of OGAP on both students’ problem-solving accuracy and the sophistication of their strategy. The findings suggest that capturing both dimensions of students’ multiplicative reasoning offers important information for researchers and program designers who seek to understand different dimensions of student mathematics performance.