Designing Assessment Structures That Work

David Wees and Erik Laby

Many assessments provide teachers with the opportunity to collect data, but do not provide the tools to support teachers in making sense of student ideas to inform instruction. Our project, Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry, marries innovative technology with high-quality, useful visualizations; teachers collect data on students’ performance that immediately supports planning. Our tools make assessments as informative as possible.

In this session we will share an example of an initial task, intended to be given at the beginning of a unit of study in high school mathematics to preview the upcoming unit, and the data tools we use to support teachers in making sense of their students’ thinking and give participants a chance to explore both.

The resources which we will use in the workshop are:

1. the initial task: Patchwork Quilt,
2. a sample data tool,
3. and a protocol for coding the student work.


As a preview to our session, suppose students are looking at this table.

Patchwork Quilt task

Patchwork Quilt task


How do you think students might interpret this table? What will they notice? What are some ways students might misinterpret this table?


Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this work. If you are looking for more resources like this one to use, all of our resources are available for free on our website here:

David Wees

David Wees

David joined New Visions in 2013 and is responsible for producing inquiry-based curriculum aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards in high school mathematics and designing professional development related to that curriculum. He has taught middle school and high school mathematics and science in New York, London, Bangkok and Vancouver. He holds a B.Sc. in mathematics, a B.Ed. in secondary mathematics, and an MA in educational technology.

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