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Common Core in Action: Math Classroom Challenges- Using Formative Assessment to Guide Instruction

This course offers participants an opportunity to engage in a community of learners using an inquiry cycle focusing on math formative assessments as a strategy for implementing CCSS in math. It focuses on the implementation of a Classroom Challenge: a 1 – 2 day lesson developed by the Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP) based on formative assessment and the CCSSM.


Course at a Glance

About the Course

The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) offer the opportunity for educators to transform teaching and learning by positioning students in more active roles as learners. In addition to explicit content standards (which describe what students will know), the CCSSM present a broad range of practice standards that describe ways that successful students in math demonstrate proficiency. What do students and teachers need to know to take on these standards? What does it mean, for example, for students to persevere through new and challenging problems, and/or critique the reasoning of other students, and how can their teachers best support them?

In the words of one math teacher, “it’s not the students’ job to figure out what is in our heads; it’s the teacher’s job to figure out what is in theirs.” Such an approach requires far more focus on formative assessment and deliberate strategies for teachers to pre-assess students’ assets, needs, and misconceptions – then move them forward while continually re-assessing.

Course Syllabus

In this course, you will gain access to the MAP’s website, and choose from among 60 Classroom Challenges to teach, in order to effectively use formative assessment to move student thinking forward while enhancing your own teaching practice. In the first section, you will consider content you will soon be teaching, then select and explore a Classroom Challenge that aligns with that content. You will give an initial assessment in order to measure and better-understand students’ current understanding of the content, as well as uncover gaps and misconceptions. In the second section, you will analyze the results of the initial assessment, note assets, gaps, and misconceptions, and then use the provided resources in the Classroom Challenge to teach your students through collaborative and whole-group activities – culminating with a re-assessment of students’ understanding.  In the final section, you will compare the initial and post assessment data, and discuss how using the Classroom Challenge in your class enhanced student understanding as well as your own teaching practice.

Recommended Background

Actively teaching or interested in teaching in the 6-12 grades.

Suggested Readings


Course Format

Class will consist of videos and discussion posts.  Participants will be expected to respond to instructor and peer discussion posts. Assignments will be classroom based and will be assessed by peers according to provided rubrics.  An end-of-course reflection and survey are required for completion.


  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, and the time to read, write, discuss, and create a K-12 instructional lesson aligned with CCSS to teach.