What is the Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate Performance Continuum?

The EFF Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate Performance Continuum is:

A developmental description of performance on the standard . . .

This continuum is based on recent research on how people develop and use mathematics in settings outside the classroom. Thus its descriptions of adult performance on the standard look different from the kinds of linear sequencing of mathematical learning traditionally described and taught in school. The continuum describes performance in math from Level 1 (roughly corresponding to the exit point for the beginning ABE levels on the National Reporting System) to Level 5 (corresponding to the exit point for adult secondary education); in doing so, it also describes simultaneous connections within and across mathematical content and procedures, and maintains a focus on the use of multiple strategies to meet practical real world goals using mathematics.

A multidimensional description of performance on the standard . . .

Performance levels on Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate are defined by key features called dimensions of performance. They include:

  • the structure and depth of the knowledge base;
  • fluency of performance;
  • independence of performance;
  • range of performance.

These dimensions reflect an understanding that the development of expertise in mathematics requires the interrelated development of:

  • conceptual understanding,
  • the procedural knowledge of how to apply that conceptual understanding, and
  • the strategic competence to choose the most appropriate strategies for accomplishing a given task.

A set of benchmarks for the development of proficiency on the
standard . . .

Performance level descriptors define points along the continuum that serve as benchmarks for key stages in development on the standard and for the increasing ability of adults to accomplish important activities that require the ability to use math to solve problems and communicate.

A set of measures based on applied skills and processes . . .

The performance continuum reflects the kinds of applied knowledge and skills adults need to meet real world purposes and goals in their lives as workers, citizens, and family members. A summary of the key research principles underlying this approach can be found in the EFF Research to Practice Notes in the EFF Special Collection at http://eff.cls.utk.edu/products_services/online_publications.htm.

Next -->