I attended the Marang symposium at Wits last Friday which considered ways in which we can judge last years examinations by taking a closer look at the papers and assessment structure. The talks centred around the questions:

- What do different ways of classifying questions reveal about the relationship between the intended and examined curriculum?

- What does this reveal about the relationship between the policy documents and practice?

- What role can taxonomies play in analyzing the standard of the examinations, the spread of mathematical and science activities and what do they reveal about nature of the examinations and the conceptualization of the subjects?

Within our maths literacy community , one of the most often expressed concerns is about thinking levels (cognitive levels of taxonomy). And as such this meeting and the speakers illuminated just how difficult and subjective it is to pin it down. There were a general call for more examples of the different level questions and more problem solving higher order questions instead of more difficult levels of caluclation questions.

Prof Hamsa Venkat kicked off by discussing a critique of the Mathematical Literacy assessment taxonomy. Lynn Bowie looked at it from a mathematics point of view and also examined different taxonomies. Arnout (always entertaining) then did a summary and his take on the issues and perspectives by providing a critique, not only on the two papers, but also on assessment practices regarding maths and maths literacy in general. You can (must) listen to the actual podcasts of the sessions, by clicking here

Hamsa’s presentation (View while listening to her podcast- sorry I ahve not had a chance or had the energy to link it):

Lynn’s presentation: (View while listening to her podcast):

Our photo album:

Vodpod videos no longer available.