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 assessment.

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 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 Centre Publications.

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 to Bowland Maths. We also designed computer- and paper-based tests of problem solving for World Class Arena.

The Toolkit 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 process.