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ERIC Number: EJ1116668
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Targeting Instruction with Formative Assessment Probes
Fagan, Emily R.; Tobey, Cheryl Rose; Brodesky, Amy R.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v23 n3 p146-157 Oct 2016
This article introduces the formative assessment probe--a powerful tool for collecting focused, actionable information about student thinking and potential misconceptions--along with a process for targeting instruction in response to probe results. Drawing on research about common student mathematical misconceptions as well as the former work of author Cheryl Rose Tobey (2011), the authors developed a series of probes and supporting resources to help teachers assess students' understanding of key rational number concepts from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) (CCSSI 2010). These probes are a central feature of three professional development (PD) courses that they created and tested as part of five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project focused on helping teachers build math content knowledge, diagnostic approaches, and instructional practices for teaching rational number topics. In this article, the authors first help readers get to know more about what a probe is by exploring an example in depth. Then they use information gathered from a probe to illustrate a process for planning and implementing targeted instruction for a class of students. To support teachers in using this approach, the article provides examples of probes, student work, and classroom activities as well as a link to a set of probes with accompanying resources.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1020163