ABSTRACT

Back in the classroom, understanding the problem is an issue for students. Making sense is key to effective problem solving for both students in the classroom and educators in the schools. Even schools that seem to be clearly organized around a culture differ in how educators operationalize that culture. Unfortunately many educators must learn what that looks like in mathematics, because they did not learn to solve problems in multiple ways when they were children in school. Informal conversations are invaluable for understanding the problem in mathematics instruction. It is important to gather traditional summative data about state tests and widely used formative assessments such as benchmark tests and mathematics unit assessments. Pre-and post-unit assessments observations, “quick-writes,” student work, and “closing problems” are examples of formative assessments that help both teachers and students understand the growth that they have made, and motivate everyone to continue their hard work.