What inspired this project?
My research focused on assessment design because it is an important topic to students, especially the honors students in this study. Assessments have a large impact on student grades which is the main motivation for many honors students (as found in the study). As a mathematics teacher, each year I redesign and update the assessments that I give for each unit. However, I have never been instructed in how to design assessments. I have built assessments up from scratch with no prior training. I wanted to learn how best to design these assessments in order to be equitable for all students and help them to be successful in my class, to be prepared for the next mathematics course, and beyond the classroom to be successful on high stakes tests like the CAASPP, SAT and ACT.
Statement of the Problem
In the researcher’s experience, no formal training on designing assessments is given to teachers in credentialing programs. Even with little to no training, teachers often modify assessments provided for the curriculum used. In addition to modifying premade assessments, many mathematics teachers who have no training in assessment design will make their own assessments without referencing any other tools. When teachers do design their own assessments, it is often focused solely on that teacher's individual classroom content and often includes abstract and unconnected mathematical problems.
However, high stakes tests like the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test incorporate real-world related questions within the exam, including a Performance Task dedicated to a single real-world application of mathematics. Other high stakes tests like the SAT and ACT also incorporate a mix of traditional mathematics questions and real-world mathematics questions into their exams. In order to adequately prepare students for these high stakes exams, there is a need for these types of problems to be incorporated into classroom instruction and classroom summative assessments.