Okay, this is becoming a little daunting. I knew the fun pictures of soccer balls and ice cream cones I used for the Kindergarten assessment were going to be replaced by more number-dense problems, but I’ve just finished the third grade Operations and Algebraic Thinking domain and I already have 29 problems. Yikes! My philosophy of including each word problem variation may not survive third grade. But how do I choose? Will it be the Goldilocks solution: one easy, one hard, and one “just right?” Or is there a better way?
I just looked back at my 3rd grade assessment to see how many word problems I have and noticed many of my other problems have multiple parts. For example: Write a related multiplication fact for each division expression has 4 division expressions to solve. So, my assessment is really much longer than 29 problems. (My count: 11 word problems for 3.OA.3 and 7 for 3.OA.8.)
Oh, yes, and looking back at my notes from a month ago before I broke my foot (but that’s another story), I had already eliminated some of the word problem variations. Here’s what I wrote: “Naïve to think I could do them all… hard and easy array problems, array versus area problems, measurement versus non-measurement, [and] compare problems.” And that’s not even changing the location of the unknown in the problems, which makes a huge difference in complexity.
I think I will continue to create the assessments as a complete mapping of the CCSS-M (including all word problem variations) because it is a way for me to more deeply understand the standards. However, it’s clear my original (and, apparently, naive) idea of creating a series of assessments that would illuminate concepts not mastered in previous math classes, and that would be practical to give students, is in need of some rethinking.