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Knowing the learner

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Teachers of adult learners need to be able to diagnose their learners’ number strengths and needs in order to help those learners progress in their problem solving. The diagnostic assessment tool described below is based on the progressions in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand.

A diagnostic assessment tool

This diagnostic tool provides a procedure that has been designed to give you quality information about the number strategies and number knowledge of an adult foundation learner and to show where their knowledge and strategies fit within the learning progressions. There are some questions that you can use to help identify the learners’ current attitudes towards learning mathematics, followed by tables that outline guided interview questions for strategies and for knowledge related to the steps within each progression.

Learner attitude questions

Ask these questions before starting the strategy assessment and record the learner’s responses by circling the number that best matches their response to a question.

See Appendix C for a copy of the learner attitude questions.

General guidelines for using the diagnostic questions

  • The questions in the download below are given as a guide to help you work out what your learners know or don’t know in relation to each of the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems progressions.
  • The strategy assessment needs to be conducted as an individual interview with each learner. The knowledge assessment can be conducted with a group or with individual learners.
  • Use a ‘best fit’ approach for deciding where to place a learner on the progression.
  • We suggest that you start with a diagnostic question from step 4 and then move up to steps 5 and 6 or back to earlier steps to identify the ‘best fit’ for the learner.
  • Be prepared to create additional (similar) diagnostic questions if you are unsure where to place a learner or if the learner is already familiar with the example questions.
  • If the learner is finding the questions too difficult, it is not necessary to ask all questions .




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