Formative Assessment in Elementary Mathematics: Interviewing Children About Their Mathematical Thinking (PreK-1)

Course Description

After the tumultuous 2020-2021 school year, many teachers are wondering what mathematical knowledge and experiences their students will bring in fall. Despite concerns about “learning loss,” we know that all children bring important social, linguistic, cultural, and mathematical knowledge to their work in the math classroom. So, what do our students know and what is next on the horizon for them? This three-session course provides practical guidance for teachers seeking to take an asset-based approach to formative assessment.

Together, we will explore how we can uncover detailed information about what our students do know and can do through interviews and observations. We will study how children develop important concepts of number and operation across grade levels, allowing us to understand their mathematical journey: What have they already learned? Where are they now? And, what are good next steps for their learning?  Videos, student work, and sample data from math interviews will provide a context for analyzing children’s thinking, discussing implications for instruction, and planning our own student interviews. 

This course is designed for PreK-1 educators. Drawing upon the work of Cognitively Guided Instruction, we will learn about how children develop counting and strategies for single-digit operations. While we will focus on number and operation, the approach to formative assessment will be useful across other mathematical topics. There is also a grades 2-5 cohort, in which educators can learn about how children develop strategies for whole number operations across grade levels. 

Course Objectives

  • Educators will deepen their understanding of how children develop important mathemetical ideas about counting and single- digit operation across grade levels.
  • Educators will gain confidence in using this knowledge of analyze students' mathematical thinking.
  • Educatiors will explore a range of flexible strategies for assessing student's mathematical thinking and prepare to lead formative assessment interviews/ obseravations with their own students.

Meet the Facilitator

Kendra Lomax

Kendra Lomax is an early childhood and elementary educator who cares deeply about how young children come to know and love mathematics. She works in classrooms alongside teachers and leaders to learn together how to engage children in mathematics learning that values and affirms the wealth of mathematical, social, cultural, and linguistic knowledge of children and families.

Course Details

  • Participants will meet in three online synchronous sessions (August 3, 10, & 17  9:30-11:30am). Participants will also complete approximately 1.5 hours of asynchronous reading and coursework between sessions (3 hours total).
  • This course is offered for 9 clock hours. MERIT credits are also available for preschool educators.
  • The registration fee for this course is $125. Teachers paying for their own registration out-of-pocket may select the discounted rate of $100. If you would like to support someone else to participate, you can select the $150 rate to contribute towards registration scholarships.
  • Registration is limited. Please join our waitlist if the course becomes full. We will contact you in the event that a seat becomes available or an additional date/time of the course is created. For questions or to register a large group of educators, please contact professionallearning@uw.edu.