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Thinking about the ASSIGNMENTS we give our students and what that says about our EXPECTATIONS.

I'm preparing a deep dive into the Assignments (tasks, problems) we give our students.  I'm reading about a study done in middle school, not on math assignments, that finds assignments since the new standards came along have been given only a "window dressing" with a superficial level of standards implementation.  This is my fear.  If that's in literacy-based classes, how much more is it happening in math class!?

The report mentions 86% of assignments given are a Depth of Knowledge Level 1 or 2 (recall and reproduction, basic application of skills).  Assignments for students of color and low income students were especially lacking in opportunities for sense-making and critical thinking; the assignments were "overscaffolded" (or spoon-fed).  I already know that's happening in math classrooms.  What expectations are we setting for our students?

I'm interested in collecting a few adult student quotes like the ones on this page about assignments.  I think quotes can send a message to teachers about how our expectations, shown through assignments we give, affect our students.  I'm interested in any perspective students share.  If you have access to adult students, probably especially not your own, please ask them, "Tell me about the assignments you are given in class."  Then, share it (with their permission) in a reply here.

What do students have to say about the math assignments they are given?

Thank you!  :-)


Connie Rivera's picture
One hundred

"Nine out of 10 assignments limited students to recalling a fact."