Activities to compare students’ abilities in standardized tests to their modelling abilities
Traditional mathematics assessments often fail to identify students who can powerfully and effectively apply mathematics to real-world problems, and many students who excel on traditional assessments often struggle to implement their mathematical knowledge in real-world settings (Lesh & Sriraman, 2005a). This study employs multi-tier design-based research methodologies to explore this phenomenon from a models and modeling perspective. At the researcher level, a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) was developed as a means to measure student performance on a complex real-world task. Student performance data on this activity and on traditional pre- and post-tests were collected from approximately 200 students enrolled in a second semester calculus course in the Science and Engineering department of the University of Southern Denmark during the winter of 2005. The researchers then used the student solutions to the MEA to develop tools for capturing and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the mathematical models present in these solutions. Performance on the MEA, pre- and post-test were then analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively to identify trends in the subgroups corresponding to those described by Lesh and Sriraman.
Zdm - Zentralblatt Für Didaktik Der Mathematik, 2006, Vol 38(3), p. 281-292