School districts and states across the US are engaged in a
process of standards-based reform built around the Common
Core State Standards. They recognize that progress in most
classrooms depends on their assessment program matching the
new and broader curriculum goals, focused on students’
developing the expertise described in the mathematical
practices. This means moving to include performance
The Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) works
with districts and states on the design and implementation
of performance assessment, and on professional development
for designers and teachers. The aim is to help the local
leadership develop local capacity to meet local needs. There
is a widespread demand.
Possibly MARS' most influential project has been the Mathematics
Assessment Project (MAP), developing formative assessment
lessons and rich summative performance tasks to support the
Common Core State Standards, emphasizing the vital mathematical
practices they require. Many other agencies are using
these products at the heart of reform programs with new
approaches to both curriculum and professional development. The Mathematics Improvement Network provides tools to help schools and school districts address the challenges faced in improving their mathematics programs.
The Mathematics Assessment Resource Service is a partnership
between the Shell
Centre for Mathematical Education at the University of
Nottingham, the University of California at Berkeley and
professional development providers. Its clients include
school systems across the US.
The original NSF-Funded Balanced Assessment project collaboration also included teams from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Michigan State University. The materials produced by the Harvard group be seen at hgse.balancedassessment.org.
Colleagues from Michigan State remain active as
leaders of dissemination of MARS materials.
MARS designed the Balanced Assessment in
Mathematics (BAM) tests as a supplement for state tests.
Many of the tasks have been incorporated into CTB's Acuity materials.
Tests can be licensed by school districts, states or
research projects from Shell
A major client for the BAM tests is the Silicon
Valley Mathematics Initiative who also offer professional
development built around the tests.
In the UK, MARS has also contributed assessment tasks,
extended classroom activities and professional development
Maths. We also designed computer- and paper-based tests
of problem solving for World Class
for Change was produced by MARS under a NSF grant, and
provides resources for leaders in mathematics education to
help them tackle the challenges and barriers to the reform