# Introduction

Mathematics teaching assumes that students do not arrive at sessions as ‘blank slates’, but as actively thinking people with a wide variety of skills and conceptions. Research shows that teaching is more effective when it assesses and uses prior learning so that the teaching may be adapted to the needs of students. Prior learning may be uncovered through any activity that offers students opportunities to express their understanding and reasoning. This process is often referred to as formative assessment.

This module considers the different ways this can be done and focuses on the following questions:

- How can problems be used to assess performance?
- How can this assessment be used to promote learning?
- What kinds of feedback are most helpful for students and which are unhelpful?
- How can students become engaged in the assessment process?

### About the Primas PD Modules

These modules have been developed for PRIMAS by drawing on professional development materials developed by the Shell Centre team at the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham. Many of these materials were originally written for two projects:

- Bowland Maths is a project aimed at developing the key processes involved in mathematical problem solving, using a range of realistic and fantasy scenarios. This was funded by the Bowland Charitable Trust.
- Improving Learning in Mathematics is a project aimed at developing the understanding of mathematical concepts. This was originally funded by the Department for Education and Skills Standards Unit.

## Getting started

Download the print materials (links on the left) and read the main Module Guide.

Use the tabs at the top of the screen to browse the video which accompanies this module. (Requires Adobe Flash Player).