Effective Learning: Assessment and Feedback for the Learning of Mathematics

  • 6 February 2020
  • 12:00-15:30
  • SCH001 Schofield Building

This workshop is open to all, and is of interest to those who teach mathematics modules, or modules containing a substantial amount of mathematics. It has been organised by Ian Jones , Colin Foster and Paola Iannone of the Mathematics Education Centre, and is supported by a Collaborative Excellence in Teaching Award from the Higher Education Academy.

The workshop will focus on assessment and feedback. These topics are often discussed in a somewhat generic way, but in this workshop we will focus on mathematics-specific aspects of assessing and feeding back to students. It will include an interactive keynote session by acclaimed mathematics educator Professor John Mason from the Open University.

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Ian Jones
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12:00 Lunch  

Finding and Using STACK Questions:

Ian Jones (MEC)

I will introduce an online archive of STACK questions that is accessible via LEARN. These questions cover a wide range of topics and can be used for learning or assessment activities. Two key advantages are that the questions are automatically marked, and that they provide instantaneous personalised feedback to students.


Using Confidence Assessment in Low-Stakes Assessments:

Colin Foster (MEC)

In Confidence Assessment, students give a confidence rating alongside each of their responses, to indicate how sure they are that each of their answers is correct. Their total mark is then weighted by their confidence ratings, rewarding students for accurate confidence ratings and penalising them for over-confidence or under-confidence. The intention is to promote better ‘calibration’ (i.e., students’ confidence more accurately matches their competence), so as to support future learning. I will summarise the potential benefits of Confidence Assessment in mathematics and discuss the practicalities.


Oral Assessment in Mathematics:

Paola Iannone (MEC) 

A varied assessment diet for mathematics at university level  is conducive to the development of a wide rage of skills which are desirable both for the conceptual understanding of mathematics itself and for fostering desirable employability skills. Given the prevalence of the closed book exam in mathematics degrees, efforts have been made to introduce new summative assessment methods. Oral assessment is one possibility for assessment  and in this talk I will present how this assessment can be implemented both at the start of a degree course and in the final year. I will also briefly discuss its potential benefits in terms of immediacy of feedback and conceptual understanding. 
13:45 Break  

The Role of Examples and Example Construction in Learning, Doing and Teaching Mathematics:

Professor John Mason (Open University) 

Participants will be invited to engage with tasks which highlight various ways in which examples contribute to appreciating and comprehending mathematical ideas. The conjecture will be put forward that learner construction of examples reveals something of their accessible example spaces. By shining light on learner thinking, examples constructed provide direct evidence of student growing sophistication and learning.