Developing & Assessing Mathematics Understandings

In MEC’s 9-day Probability: A Study of Chance content course, participants focus on the essential mathematics of probability. They learn mathematics within an environment that models mathematics inquiry. As they solve complex problems,

“teachers of mathematics pose productive questions, make conjectures and test their ideas by building models and using a range of representations. They interact as they work, sharing and comparing findings, questioning the materials and each other – pushing for evidenced-based explanations”
(Gregg 2008)

Participants have opportunities to develop and/or deepen their own mathematical understandings of a range of mathematical ideas, including:

  • theoretical and experimental probability
  • diverse models for determining probability (for example: area models, tree diagrams, organized lists, matrices)
  • events, possible outcomes, defining and constructing sample space
  • Law of Large Numbers
  • computation and interpretation expected value in simple cases
  • inductive and deductive reasoning
  • mathematically convincing arguments
  • computing with rational numbers.
  • number and computational proficiency.

Practices modeled in MEC nine-day content courses prepare educators to help students become successful problem solvers. With instructors, participants discuss how to help students become skilled when posing questions, testing and verifying their ideas, generating evidence-based solutions — students who respectfully challenge ideas and explain their thinking.

Participants consider how to effectively implement strategies modeled in the course, including:

  • mathematics inquiry
  • differentiation and appropriate interventions
  • probing student thinking with productive questioning
  • building on student thinking and interactions with peers and teacher
  • creating an optimal learning environment based on the nature of learning
  • effective formative and summative assessment of mathematical understanding that enhances student learning and performance.

Teachers, mathematics leaders, math coaches/mentors and university and college faculty