Five-minute diagnostic tasks to assess your students’ understanding of number

These tasks are designed to take 5-10 minutes to complete with each class.

They will give you a very quick idea of how successful your current approaches are at dealing with the major student misconceptions about number.  Please take 5 minutes to ask the questions to your class.  Make sure that you aren’t tempted to help or guide them in any way, but just ask the question and record their answers.  It is very important to know what kids really think rather than what they have been taught.

If students in your class fail the task, use one of the tasks from earlier grades with any student who failed.  Continue moving backwards until they are successful (or you run out of time).

Be aware that these tasks assess student Understanding (what they really think) rather than Fluency (what they have memorised).  They deliberately try to find what misconceptions are remaining in spite of teaching – to check how fragile the students’ understanding is.  This is in keeping with both the focus of the Australian Curriculum and our experiences from teaching and demonstrating teaching techniques in hundreds of classrooms. For a better understanding of our approach and why it works, please click here or look at any of the other free resources available on this site.

The numbers in these tasks are deliberately small while the understanding targets key concepts in maths that students have difficulty with, not unlike the questions in NAPLAN tests.  Classes with didactic or traditional approaches to maths often end up with 70-90% of students initially failing the task even though the content is set at a very low level.

Download the 5-Minute Diagnostic Tasks here

Have questions? Need some advice?  Ask us here

Want to know how to fix these misconceptions?  Click here.

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