Questions that puzzled many of our school board members, campus principals, community members, administration staff, teachers and students were:
- How do we know what students really know?
- Do students and parents understand what we expect students to be able to do well?
- Is what I consider acceptable, considered acceptable by others?
- Are students really making the connections in their learning?
- Will students recognize the connections in future or unique situations?
Searching for answers to questions such as these was the catalyst for developing district academic standards. In conjunction with this development was the development of assessments that would provide evidence of meeting the standard. We wanted assessments that would tell us more than what most multiple-choice assessments were able to provide. At this point, Exemplars moved to center front stage for mathematics. Several campuses in our district had been engaged in 'The New Standards' language arts or mathematics project and were familiar with the idea of performance tasks. Scoring with a rubric and establishing benchmark papers challenged most math teachers. With Exemplars, that was no longer a monumental problem, since annotated benchmark papers are provided with each task.
We are now in our fourth year of using Exemplars. We have a district license and every campus and every math teacher regularly uses an Exemplars problem either for assessment or instruction. These campuses really see the benefits and enjoy watching their students grow mathematically. They have provided the opportunity for students to bring forth their knowledge, apply that knowledge in solving fun, challenging problems and communicate their thinking.
Thank you for a fabulous 2 days of training! We enjoyed everything we learned and are so excited to take our new knowledge back to our classrooms at JHE! You are truly an inspiration!
Many thanks for sending Dr. Jeri Thompson to our district for Exemplars science training. Jeri was excellent in her knowledge, skills, and expertise. We are completely satisfied with her remarkable work. We plan to have Dr. Thompson return for continued professional development in the future. Again, thank you for providing this exemplary service.
We have used Exemplars in our school for the past year. We are a Pre-K-5 school with a population of about 1,350 students. I was introduced to Exemplars through the USI Collaborative for Excellence at the University of Texas at El Paso. I was a USI mentor until this past school year. We purchased the Best of Exemplars for our own school....
Using the Exemplars has added strength and depth to our mathematics program. Our primary math curriculum is Investigations in Number, Data, and Space a standards-based program. The two fit nicely together because both require students to explain their reasoning and show their work using numbers, pictures, and words...
The Exemplars program is designed to assess students' problem-solving and mathematical-communication skills. It also supports higher-level thinking and extension of mathematical reasoning.