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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Measuring Comprehension & Reasoning

Measuring Comprehension & Reasoning

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I am a teacher of special education at the high school level who primarily teaches math classes for students who receive services in the area of math. I am also a grad student working on my master's in curriculum and instruction. We are currently discussing different ways that we go about assessing our students through both formative and summative assessments. I am the only special education teacher in the program, so I was hoping to get feedback from others in this field as to how they use assessments in their classrooms. Do you find that binary or multiple choice options give you a good idea of what the students truly know and understand? What do you do at the end of a unit to measure their deep understanding and reasoning? Thanks for any input?

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Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

Multiple choice questions are not very good for assessing knowledge beyond mere facts. I use short answer questions, projects, discussions and other forms to assess knowledge.

Brandon's picture

Thanks for the feedback, Deven, and I am in agreement. When asked to rewrite a test with multiple choice and matching questions for a math assessment, I really struggled, because as you state, I did not feel that I would be able to assess the knowledge of my students. Perhaps it's the special ed teacher in me (although I seem to have agreement from classmates outside of the special ed field), but I want my students to show me what they know and understand, not just that they can correctly choose "a, b, or c."

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