Guest Post: SBAC Math Specifications Don’t Add Up

W. Stephen Wilson September 19, 2011 The Thomas B. Fordham Institute Flypaper

The conceptualization of mathematical understanding on which SBAC will base its assessments is deeply flawed.

Mathematical Practices, or what was usually called “process” standards in most states, do little more than describe how someone pretty good at mathematics seems to approach mathematics problems. As stand alone standards, they are neither teachable nor testable. Mathematics is about solving problems, and anyone who can solve a complex multi-step problem using mathematics automatically demonstrates their skill with the Mathematical Practices, (whether they can communicate well or not).

It appears that the assessments will focus on communication skills and Mathematical Practices over content knowledge.