Foster, D., & Noyce, P. (2004, January). The mathematics assessment collaborative: Performance testing to improve instruction. Phi Delta Kappan, 85, 367- 374.
The authors describe Silicon Valley’s Mathematics Assessment Collaborative (MAC) which involves 30 school districts in California’s Silicon Valley. Foster and Noyce describe the origins of the initiative, the development of effective assessments to measure student learning and performance, and the first implementation of these district tests. Next, the authors explain how these assessments inform instruction and improve teacher practice, highlighting specific teaching tools and strategies and providing examples from the classroom. Foster and Noyce also describe the use of mathematics coaches in the district and their collaboration with teachers to improve classroom practice. Over time, the district has found that student improvement on the state-wide tests does not necessarily mean improved understanding or increased mathematical skill, though performance on the MAC effectively predicts success on the state exam. The authors conclude with lessons learned from the MAC.
Action for Learning, Formative Assessment