We are currently in the process of trialling this. We started term 4 by doing a pre-test, which many of the children really enjoyed!! This was a straight forward test which was simply numbers! There were no word problems and this was purposeful. We see the children having to decipher word problems and then find the maths embedded in it every day when we do DMIC maths so we wanted to see what maths the children could do without having to first decipher a story. We know that for some of our strong mathematicians in the class, having to read and understand a story adds to the difficulty. Removing the story would allow these children to focus on the maths.
We got some fantastic data from this test which told us a lot about what the children in our class can actually do. We had children who we thought could only add 1 or 2 digit numbers attempting and, in some cases, being able to solve simple decimal problems just by applying their knowledge of place value. This ability to apply their mathematical knowledge confidently suggested that many of the children in our class are willing to take risks in their maths learning. It was also very clear from this test which children were able to share their thinking step by step.
When exploring the responses of the children who are challenged to share their thinking in a group setting, we still saw some fantastic mathematical knowledge in the way they responded to the questions in the pre-test.
At the end of this week, we will re-test the children using the same test and then compare the results to see if there is a difference in how the children solve the problems.