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Assessing Mathematical Understanding


March 2012


Assessing Mathematical Understanding Guide cover

Assessing Mathematical Understanding is a set of mathematics assessments for kindergarten and first-grade students that provides both cumulative data about students’ progress over time and in-depth diagnostic information. Aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, it is intended as a tool to help teachers track student progress, identify particular difficulties, and generally inform instructional planning.

Goals of Assessing Mathematical Understanding

  • To enhance teachers’ ability to meet individual student needs
  • To facilitate teacher collaboration around student learning
  • To promote student learning in mathematics


  • Individual assessment interviews are conducted by the teacher or another qualified staff member two to three times during the school year. The student record provides a cumulative report of mathematical progress during that period.
  • The one-on-one interview structure allows the teacher to collect rich data about student knowledge that is not limited to the answer the student gives, but also includes observations of the strategies and explanations the student uses.
  • The diagnostic assessment allows the teacher to ascertain an individual student’s strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills in a particular concept area.
  • The content of each grade-level assessment is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

An Overview of Assessing Mathematical Understanding