The new system comes at a time when more than one-fifth of Florida third-graders are performing below grade level in math on the FCAT. Helping these children while they are still young is critical: Studies indicate that early math skills are a strong predictor of later academic success.
Leah Howell, a kindergarten teacher at Destin Elementary School who helped test the MFAS, said asking students about their work benefited teachers and students alike: Teachers gained insight into their students’ needs, and students realized they knew more than they thought they did.
“Most of the students in my class are able to provide some type of explanation of how they solved the problem,” Howell said. “They don’t always perceive themselves as able to do this.”
In addition to the math tasks, the system includes rubrics that help teacher teams interpret a student’s work and adapt instruction, and four online professional development modules.
“This online system is a cost-effective way to introduce teachers to formative assessment and its potential for making teaching and learning more effective,” Lang said.