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What do mathematics tests test?

Hilton, C; Rowland, T; (1999) What do mathematics tests test? In: Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics. (pp. pp. 19-24). BSRLM: UK. Green open access

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Abstract

According to Harry Daniels, many teachers faced with teaching low-attaining pupils with learning difficulties focus primarily on 'narrowly defined outcomes at the expense of contexts for learning' (Daniels, 1993, p.66). This view is supported by Derek Haylock (1991) who suggests that low-attaining pupils spend too much time learning routines and procedures at the expense of the development of mathematical understanding. This strategy, Daniels suggests, is due to lack of confidence and competence on the part of teachers and schools when planning a mathematics curriculum for children with learning difficulties. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance and strategies of a group of Year 7 children with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) with a matched group of Year 1 children in a mainstream primary school. Ten children, drawn from two schools in the same North London borough, took part in the study. Five of the children formed a complete year 7 class in a school for MLD children. The other five children were selected from a Year 1 class in a primary school. All the primary school children were taken from one class in order to limit threats to internal validity. The children were considered in pairs, one from each group, matched by sex and test score. The number of participants in the study was determined by the fact that the Year 7 class contained only five children. With the aim of gaining some understanding of the nature of their mathematical thinking, each child was then interviewed using the clinical method. Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed evidence which suggests that assessment of children's mathematical skills and understanding requires more in-depth analysis than a traditional standardised test can hope to provide.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: What do mathematics tests test?
Event: Proceedings of British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics - 1999 Feb
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.bsrlm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062213
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