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Collaborative Research: Developing and Evaluating Assessments of Problem Solving

National Science Foundation - Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) Program

Project led by:

Toni Sondergeld, PhD

If math teachers are expected to engage students in problem solving during everyday instruction, then students' problem-solving performance must be assessed in a manner that produces meaningful, valid, and reliable scores, without unduly burdening teachers or students. Unfortunately, most problem-solving assessments are generally framed by a set of mathematics expectations that differ from state standards. Thus, results from those assessments are disconnected from the mathematics content that students learn in the classroom.

Broadly speaking, the aims of DEAP are:

  1. To create three new mathematical problem-solving assessments and gather validity evidence for their use
  2. Link the problem-solving measures (PSMs) with prior problem-solving measures (PSM6, PSM7, and PSM8)
  3. Develop a meaningful reporting system for the PSMs

The research questions are:

  1. What are the psychometric properties of the PSM3, PSM4, and PSM5 as they relate to students' problem-solving performance?
  2. How does the evidence support vertical equating (linking) of the PSM3, PSM4, PSM5, PSM6, PSM7, and PSM8?
  3. How do the PSM3, PSM4, and PSM5, and their related reporting systems impact teachers' instructional decision making when used formatively?