Assessing Modeling

Hugh Burkhardt


This paper reviews the challenges that higher-level skills present to assessment designers. The discussion is illustrated by exemplar tasks from two Shell Centre projects that emphasize modeling. From the various roles that assessment plays,
the analysis starts with summative assessment, describing the multi-dimensional nature of task difficulty involving unfamiliarity, complexity and the degrees of autonomy expected of the student, as well as the technical demand. It distinguishes expert, apprentice, and novice tasks through the lengths of the chains of reasoning they involve and the expertise in mathematical practices they demand. An outline of the design principles for formative assessment that enhances learning includes some “do’s” and “dont's,” leading to a look at future prospects and the strengths and limitations of computer-based assessment.

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