SOURCE: Math Solutions

February 18, 2010 07:00 ET

Math Solutions to Develop a Web-Based Tool for Classroom Math Assessment

Grant From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Fund the Project

SAUSALITO, CA--(Marketwire - February 18, 2010) -  Math Solutions today announced a $2.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a web-based diagnostic/formative assessment tool uniquely designed to support face-to-face interaction between teacher and student. The Middle School Math Reasoning Inventory (MSMRI) is an interview protocol focused on providing teachers specific information and insights into the numerical understanding and skills of their incoming middle school students.

The interview-based MSMRI focuses on students' conceptual understanding, number sense, computation, and ability to solve problems. With reasoning at its forefront, MSMRI provides teachers with essential insights into their students' numerical strengths, misconceptions, and gaps. 

"Only when assessment becomes an integral aspect of instruction will teachers have the in-depth knowledge they need to inform instruction and identify those students who are in need of intervention," said Marilyn Burns, founder of Math Solutions and lead author of MSMRI. "The purpose of this grant is to design and field test a web-based middle school math reasoning inventory that assesses a student's numerical understanding and skills required for their continued success in high school mathematics and beyond."

"Providing teachers with the resources and support they need to teach creatively and effectively is the next step," said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College-Ready, at the foundation. "Innovative and well-designed classroom assessments will provide vital feedback to help teachers target their instruction and prepare all students for success beyond high school."

The MSMRI provides teachers with a sequence of interview questions, which are adapted during the interview as the teacher records students' responses. The MSMRI also includes after-interview reports that include class and group profiles as well as individual student narratives. These reports provide specific information for making instructional decisions to meet students' needs.

Recognizing that professional development is essential for improving the teaching of mathematics, MSMRI provides explicit and complete rationales for each of its questions along with examples of the variety of student responses teachers can expect. Through its emphasis on reasoning, problem solving, and communicating, the inventory models teacher-student interaction that should be integral to all classroom teaching.

"Math Solutions is honored to work with the Gates Foundation," said Christine Willig, president and CEO of Math Solutions. "The missions of our organizations are both guided by the belief that teachers are the key to student success. This grant will help alter the landscape of mathematics teaching and the quality of teacher-student relationships." 

About Math Solutions:

Guided by the belief that teachers are the key to students' success, Math Solutions has been dedicated for more than 25 years to improving the teaching of mathematics. Through our Math Solutions professional development programs and resources, we work in partnership with districts nationwide to help K-8 teachers increase their understanding of the math they teach, deepen their insights into how children best learn math, implement effective instructional strategies, and integrate assessment with instruction. For more information, please visit or phone 1-800-868-9092.

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