Teacher Collaboration in Developing Rich Assessment Tasks in Mathematics as a Professional Development Activity

Shelley Dole, Steven Nisbet, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Cooper

Abstract


In a context of system-wide changes to mathematics assessment, primary
(elementary) school teachers were brought together to develop a package of
exemplary assessment tasks, rich in potential to provide data on students'
mathematical understanding and knowledge, and relating to a new assessment
framework. Through involvement in writing, the teachers were able to guide their
own professional development and consequently improve their teaching and
assessment practices. The writing team situation provided teachers with support,
feedback, and opportunities for reflection; as well as assisting them to gain
confidence in using and understanding the assessment framework. This paper
reports the teachers' reactions to the collaborative writing process and evaluates the
effectiveness of collaborative developments, of this form, as professional
development. The teachers' responses to the program indicate that it was effective in
improving confidence, knowledge and understanding with respect to mathematics
teaching, learning and assessment because it provided opportunities for support,
feedback and reflection on trials of ideas in classrooms.

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