Publications & Resources

Teachers’ Developing Ideas and Practices About Mathematics Performance Assessment: Successes, Stumbling Blocks, and Implications for Professional Development

Jan 1997

Hilda Borko, Vicky Mayfield, Scott F. Marion, Roberta J. Flexer, and Kate Cumbo

This study focuses on the change process experienced by a group of third-grade teachers as they implemented mathematics performance assessments in their classrooms. Based on workshop conversations and interviews between teachers and the rsearch/staff development team throughout a single school year, the team reached five major conclusions. First, locating the change process in actual classrooms and school settings was an effective strategy for helping teachers change their assessment practice. “The greatest changes occurred,” said the researchers, “when teachers discussed ideas in workshops, attempted to implement them in their classroom, and then reflected or otherwise built upon their experiences in subsequent workshop sessions.” Other key findings from the research were that (a) group discussions were an effective tool for the social construction of new ideas; (b) staff development personnel facilitated change by introducing new ideas based on teachers’ skills, interests, and understanding; (c) when teachers’ beliefs incompatible with the intentions of the staff development team were not challenged, the teachers were likely either to ignore new ideas or to inappropriately assimilate them into existing practice; and (d) lack of time was a major obstacle to changing classroom practice.

Borko, H., Mayfield, V., Marion, S. F., Flexer, R. J., & Cumbo, K. (1997). Teachers’ developing ideas and practices about mathematics performance assessment: Successes, stumbling blocks, and implications for professional development (CSE Report 423). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).