Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Aski: Holistic "Help Me Talk About Math" Assessment

Aski - the star of the show
Students, teachers and parents at Gladys McDonald and Dr. George Ferguson schools had the opportunity to participate in a pilot math assessment this past April. Aski is back in the "Help Me Talk About Math" (HMTAM) assessment, and this time he has brought his friends: Nipi, Kon and Tate.

BACKGROUND


HMTAM  is the second holistic assessment initiative by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. The first assessment ("Help Me Tell My Story"), is a holistic assessment of oral language development aimed at pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students (check out the video for more information).



HMTAM assesses the following seven mathematical processes of grade 1 students: communication, making connections, mental mathematics and estimation, problem solving, reasoning, visualization and technology.

However, this is not your typical pencil and paper assessment. The Ministry teamed up with BVo2, a digital creative agency, to develop an interactive, digital iPad assessment, complete with online story books, iPad games, and a parent portal that allows teachers and caregivers to monitor student development and to access learning activities appropriate to individual students.

Holistic Assessment Universe Model
As well, the assessment was "designed, developed and delivered through a truly collaborative process involving educators, assessment and technology professionals, and experts in First Nations and M├ętis learning" (Government of Saskatchewan). In fact, the underlying methodology of the assessment is based in First Nation and Metis Worldview.

Another unique feature of the assessment is the parent portal. Once the assessments are complete, parents and caregivers can access their child's assessment results online. Rather than numbers and statistics, the assessment results provide a holistic view of the child's development, complete with connections to "learning activities that help inform ongoing learning interventions at home, in school, in the community and on the land" (Government of Saskatchewan).

Assessment feedback from parents, administrators, teachers and students has been overwhelmingly positive:

"Aski is a puppet with a purpose.  Aski has brought great joy to my classroom the children love playing with Aski throughout the day.  The Aski assessment day was a wonderful opportunity to connect with families.  The math fair engaged families with a  number of math activities that they can explore at home.  The take home math package provided some materials for families to continue to explore math concepts beyond the assessment day.  Aski continues to be an important part of our classroom community."  - Jackie S., Grade One/Two teacher, Dr. George Ferguson School 
“Aski has motivated and engaged our students and families to do math.  Many families have reported the fun they are having by doing math at home.  One mother said, 'we are doing math and my daughter doesn't even know it.'  They are thankful for the math activities they received from the school.” - Lisa N.  Principal, Dr. George Ferguson School
"I think that Aski Day and the Help Me Talk About Math assessment help demonstrate the importance of mathematical literacy. The assessment itself may be finished, but the role Aski plays with my students has not, which means the learning continues too! - Amy L., Grade One teacher, Dr. George Ferguson School 
“Our students are so excited to take the weekly Math Tasks home to finish with their families.  Every child wants to do Math so that they can impress Aski at the Golden Ticket Math Gala at the end of June.” - Gladys McDonald School Numeracy Team (Papp, Flengeris, German, Truong) 
“It was such a short timeline for our Aski Luncheon but we had such a terrific turnout.  What a pleasure to see families engaged with the Aski Boardgame, working together to discuss Math and solve the problems.” - Gladys McDonald School Numeracy Team 
“Aski has become an important part of our school team. He has inspired math learning and has stimulated math conversations that are connected to real life! The time spent assessing, sitting side by side with students was very valuable. It allowed us a deeper understanding of the math processes our students are using. It also acted as a catalyst to look further at the 7 Processes of math. Great conversation, great learning, great investment of time!” - L. Daelick – Principal Gladys McDonald School 
Regina Public Schools is excited that the "Help Me Tell My Story" and "Help Me Talk about Math" assessments will be expanding within the division.

Reed Consultant Group

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