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Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

Critical evaluation of the usefulness of mathematics interviews for gaining knowledge about
students current mathematical knowledge that can be used to plan future learning
opportunities. Be sure to draw on relevant research literature to support your evaluation.
(400 words)

Mathematical Interviews do not only allow the teacher to see students computational thinking but it
gives an insight into their conceptual thinking, (Higgins & Wiest, 2006, p.29). An interview lets the
teacher see problems through the eyes of the child (Ellemor-Collins & Wright, 2008, p.107) and
gauge students breadth and depth of knowledge and how they strategize. Children are empowered
by this process, as they are investigators, (Buschman, 2001). From there teachers have the
opportunity to question the childs thinking therefore stress process over product (Long & BenHur, 1991, p.44) and encourage mathematical conversations. The interview process provides
opportunities for teachers and students to create productive dialogue and constructive feedback,
(Callingham, 2008, P.18). The results of the standardized pencil and paper testing don not
compensate for the complex thinking that goes on behind the scenes of a childs mind.

The Interview process can be used as an assessment tool, which gives the teacher a better insight on
a childs cognitive process that happens during problem solving (Zhou, 2012). When using
interviews teachers can make informed judgments on grouping the students based upon their
conceptual needs rather than their ability level, (Peck, Jencks & Connell 1989, p.17). From here
they can be prompted, extended or challenged in their thinking in future mathematical experiences,
(Buschman, 2001).

However there are some major implications of Mathematical Interviews in the reality of the
classroom. It requires Careful design, structure, and support, (Crespo & Nicol, 2003, p.8), to
successfully succeed in conducting dynamic interviews in a teachers busy schedule. Although this
can be creatively solved through innovative thinking on behalf of the teacher, there is the issue that
some children may not perform under interview conditions as well as others. The interview process
can be long and tedious and some students may buckle under this pressure. The effectiveness of the
interview can depend on the effectiveness of the teacher. (Peck, Jencks & Connell, 1989) It also
relies on how well trained the teacher is and how sensitive they are towards the students in this
situation, (Long & Ben-Hur, 1991, p.46). The question does arise if the students actually learn
anything from this process but rather is it all about what the teacher is learning about the childs
mathematical understandings. Buschman (2001) argues that children do directly benefit from the

Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

one-on-one time with the teacher and has done research that findings say students are found to take
more risks from this uninterrupted attention and time. Over all, despite the few inconveniences of
time limitations and classroom management that come along with the interview process, this is
nothing compared to the joy of discovery (Long & Ben-Hur, 1991, p.46) the teacher experiences
through this unique close up of students learning.

Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

Critical evaluation of the usefulness of Open Tasks with Rubrics for gaining knowledge about
students current mathematical knowledge that can be used to plan future learning
opportunities. Be sure to draw on relevant research literature to support your evaluation.
(400 words)

Open Tasks provides students and teachers the opportunity to think about mathematics in a unique
and innovative way, (Sullivan, Griggioen, Gray, & Powers, 2009, p.4). This type of tasks open up
the doorway for students to experience a broader range of mathematical content but through
narrowly controlled tasks, (The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, 2008). Openended questions and tasks allows for endless learning opportunities as the questions offers
opportunities for multiple representations and strategies to be used, sometimes even multiple
solutions (Mccosker & Diezmann, 2009). One of the main challenges in teaching is to make sure
every single child in the class is being extended and challenged without disadvantaging or hindering
other members or individuals in the class. Sullivian (1997) believes that open tasks are the solution
to this problem, as they allow teachers to address the specific aspects of the mathematics
curriculum while providing rich learning experiences for all students, (p.23). This learning
experience also puts students as the active investigator and research from White, Sullivan, Warren
and Quinlan (2000) show children come to appreciate mathematical concepts better as the result of
their own thinking, (p.8). On the other hand, Sullivan, Warren and White (2000) warn teachers that
a tension might be created if this Open Task isnt used administrated properly or used too often. The
result in the openness can sometimes mean some mathematical concepts will be over looked. White
et al. (2000) also dispute that a healthy balance is needed between types of tasks teachers use in the
classroom. Open tasks are only just one type of task and therefore students need to be exposed to
many different types of mathematical experiences to gain a more rounded understanding of
mathematics. Its important that all tasks have an unambiguous focus while actively engaging all
students. (Sullivan et al., 2009, p.5)
Open Tasks combined with the follow up of a Rubric can be effective assessment tool. David
Clarke (as cited in Clarke & Wilson, 1994) says that we show students what we value by the ways
in which we assess them, (p.542) so we must careful on what we use as assessment tasks as well.
The success of assessments are closely linked with the efficiency of the rubrics that go along with
each task. Rubrics according to Glickman-Bond & Rose (as cited in Reddy, 2007) can be useful
tool for measuring, evaluating and reporting (Reddy, 2007, p.4) students level of achievement.
Rubrics are an opportunity for teachers to give their students feedback and to tell students their

Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

strengths and weaknesses, (White et al. 2000). Callingham (2008) stresses the importance of
tailoring feedback to the individual student this aligns with the Australian Association of
Mathematics Teachers (2008) belief that, through providing good quality feedback, teachers
enable students to take responsibility for their learning and progress, (p.8).

Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

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Mathematics: Learning and Teaching Mathematics 2 Assignment 1

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