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A teacher prepares students for the certificate of initial mastery open-ended mathematics tasks

1 June 1998


Century which resulted in reform of the Oregon educational system. The Oregon Department of Education developed content standards and benchmarks that teachers would be required to make sure that their students meet a minimum level of proficiency in many areas, one of which was open-ended mathematics questions. However, the Department of Education did not outline how the Certificate of Initial Mastery should be implemented. The purpose of this research was to determine how one middle school mathematics teacher prepared her pre-algebra students for the Certificate of Initial Mastery open-ended mathematics questions. This research was conducted in a moderately-sized suburban middle school which is located on the fringe of an urban growth boundary of a large Pacific Northwest metropolitan area. Most of the students came from middle to upper-middle class. families. The participants were eighth grade pre-algebra students and their mathematics teacher. Information was gathered in the classroom through observation, informal interviews, and a survey. To protect the privacy of the participants, pseudonyms were used .. In this research, I found that the teacher used several approaches to prepare her students for the state assessment of open-ended questions. The students' preparation included numerous opportunities to solve and revise open-ended questions, use the scoring guide to score their peers' responses to the open-ended questions, practice solving the problems by breaking the problems down into simplest parts, and linking the skills used to solve open-ended problem to prior learning. One surprising discovery in this research was the role that several of the students had negative attitudes about CIM, which may contribute to their level of success on the assessment.


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