What type of assessment did you encounter most often while you were taught mathematics throughout your school years?

Assessment has begun to change with the new NCTM standards with content and process standards for a teacher as a tool for evaluating where students need to be academically as well as future needs for lesson plans and instruction. The most memorable testing or assessment I recall in school was the standardized testing to determine if a student did in fact understand enough of the math to move forward. Today’s assessment takes other factors into consideration when assessing a student. More classrooms use informal assessments to help adjust teaching strategy and help students understand material. Teachers use strategies such as whole or small group instruction to help gauge if students are learning material with checklist type informal assessment prior to formal assessment or testing. This gives both students and teachers opportunities to communication and help students understand both content and processes relating to mathematics.

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Which NCTM math process standards—problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation—did you encounter more throughout your years of learning mathematics?

NCTM math process standards help with how a teacher instructs math to students. Problem solving has and will always remain an important part of mathematics. This was the method used most often when I was going to school and while I managed to solve problems there was always a lack of reasoning and proof. Reasoning and proof allows students to view a problem being solved through closer evaluation, which allows a student more confidence when solving a problem. 

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Which NCTM math content standard—number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, or data analysis and probability—did you most enjoy learning in school?

NCTM math content standards relate to different areas of mathematics. The NCTM content standards present expectations of the students for understanding the content based on grade levels of the student. Today students learning number and operation content standards are presented with manipulatives to help understand basic addition and subtraction. Manipulatives have not changed much from when I went to school manipulatives are used in most content areas today and more often to help engage students in the learning process. 

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Why are NCTM standards important in today’s classroom?

The NCTM standards are important in today’s classroom because they give teachers a guideline for teaching mathematics based on content and process. Content standards include: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. The NCTM process standards include: Problem solving, reason and proof, communication, connections, and representations. The NCTM mission is for students to learn at appropriate grade levels mathematic content through the guided instruction of the process for learning mathematics. Without standards teachers could teach what they wanted and students may or may not have opportunities for learning all areas of math accordingly.

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Math Anxiety

The word math normally creates anxiety in many people. I have anxiety about math and I believe it is related to how I was taught math back before there were NCTM standards for teaching math. When I was in a math classroom, I recall teachers would give math problems to students with very little information on how to solve the problem. Students were expected to solve the problems and be ready to give answers the next day. Math was done through repetition, rather than actually learning and understanding how problems were solved. Today schools and teachers have standards for teaching math provided by the NCTM which helped change the delivery of curriculum of math to students. NCTM stands for National Council of Teacher of Mathematics. 

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