Written By: Josef Kaufhold, TIS primary school teacher
According to one student at Tokyo International School (TIS), “Our teachers want us to really understand the mathematics we learn.” That’s why Exemplars plays a vital part of the school’s approach to teaching problem solving. Watch the video below to see Exemplars in action in TIS’s first-grade class — and then read on to learn how our materials enhance the school’s approach to assessment.
Tokyo International School is a pre-K through 8th-grade school located in central Tokyo, Japan. Our 350 students represent more than 40 nationalities, making TIS a truly international school. For TIS, the Exemplars Library represents a step forward in assessing mathematical thinking.
As an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program school, we are committed to finding resources that support students’ development of knowledge, concepts, skills, and attitudes. Exemplars tasks pose students with authentic problems that require them to demonstrate their understanding, knowledge, and skills. Through iconic representations, students visualize their conceptual understandings as they develop solutions.
Because the expectation that they show their mathematical thinking yields such detailed responses, we can effectively assess student understanding and thoroughly report on Common Core outcomes to our students and their families. Using Exemplars, we are able to assess students’ growth when comparing rubric scores for pre- and post-assessments. Alongside the rubrics, the anchor papers provide specific qualitative indicators of student performance.
Exemplars problems engage curiosity and require commitment to solve. Students learn to cooperate and communicate effectively when working on these problems, which helps to develop positive attitudes towards mathematics. Through practice, students develop a strong, transferable grasp of the problem-solving process. Our staff has welcomed Exemplars into our balanced repertoire of tools used for effectively teaching math.