MARS tasks

As we prepare for the first advisory board meeting of Illustrative Mathematics later this month, I have been looking around the web for sources of tasks and problems. Inside Mathematics is aligning its tools with the Standards. Click on Tools for Teachers, then browse the grade levels to see tasks from the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) at the Shell Centre. You can see other sample MARS tasks here. I’d be interested in people’s thoughts about these.

About Bill McCallum

I was born in Australia and came to the United States to pursue a Ph. D. in mathematics at Harvard University, met my wife, and never went back. I am a professor at the University of Arizona, working in number theory and mathematics education.
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3 Responses to MARS tasks

  1. Stephanie Wertkin says:

    I really look forward to seeing what comes out of this project.
    For a standard like “Algebra. Seeing Structure in Expressions” where the standard reads “Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context,” it would be really helpful to see examples illustrating what this standard really means.
    The bullet points below it are a little more clear, but still difficult to interpret.

    • Ellen Whitesides says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      I think lots of people are having similar trouble interpreting this standard, and the others in this domain. I think this particular task on Illustrative Mathematics does a good job, but you should check out the other tasks in this task set as well. This is a good place to direct people that have this question.

  2. Kathy Berry says:

    While a 6-12 math consultant in one of our local districts, we used some of the MARS Balanced Assessment for the Mathematics Curriculum performance tasks as common assessment tools in grades 6, 7, and 8. We had all students at a given grade complete two designated tasks, and their papers were brought together for collaborative scoring. The participating teachers learned a great deal about using rubrics, finding anchor papers, discerning one level of work from another…and about looking at extended evidence of their students’ thought processes and understanding (or not) of mathematics. We’re returning to looking at these materials in our county as a source of “performance tasks” and/or “performance events” to motivate the CCSS implementation and to prepare for the 2014-2015 SMARTER Balanced Assessment summative tests.

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