Stepping into playful assessment - numeracy and mathematics
Strategies teachers can use, that lend themselves to play and inquiry contexts, include ways of sparking students’ dispositions for curiosity, pretense, sense of humour and playfulness (Gifford, 2005).
Research has found that statements made by the teacher, that engage these dispositions, provoke more discussion than questions, and statements can foster learning and provide opportunities for assessment.
For example, in a play scenario involving shop play, the following approaches and use of statements, could elicit students’ mathematical ideas and ways of thinking, where the students’ responses could be assessed against the Victorian Curriculum Mathematics Achievement Standards:
teacher wondering out loud: “I wonder where the boxes are that we need to build the shop shelves?” (VCMMG082 - Describe position and movement)
teacher making deliberate errors: Picking up a box priced “5” with five dots on the box to represent it and paying for it with four counters. (VCMNA072 - Compare, order and make correspondences between collections, initially to 20, and explain reasoning)
provocative statements: (in response to a small set of objects - “What a lot of bananas you’ve got! I think there’s 100!” (Achievement Standards - estimate the size of sets).
Putting the Illustrative Maps into practice
The VEYLDF Illustrative Maps emphasise the alignment between the VEYLDF and the Victorian Curriculum and support making connections between what we observe in play and curriculum when assessing.
For example, Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners in the VEYLDF is a rich basis for mathematics and numeracy assessment, because it engages many of the skills and processes where mathematics is used by students for problem solving, and in inquiry, experimentation and investigation.
Let’s apply Outcome 4
We can see assess mathematics and numeracy using Outcome 4 when we see, for example, students:
- applying a wide variety of thinking strategies to engage with situations and solve problems,
- creating and using representation to organise, record and communicate mathematical ideas and concepts, and
- making predictions and generalisations about their daily activities…and communicating these using mathematical language and symbols.
Use the examples listed above to guide your observations of students engaged in play-based and inquiry learning in your classroom. Provide an example of the evidence you have gathered for either example I, 2 or 3 that you could use to assess a student in the Victorian Curriculum Mathematics.
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