Pro tips for creating your own contextualised numeracy diagnostic assessments


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You can skip this if you like. But here are a few suggestions to improve the quality of your contextualised numeracy diagnostics:

Write plain-English instructions

The same rules here apply as we discussed in our earlier discussion about using plain-English. This time you need to make sure that your instructions are written in plain English.

Keep the technical jargon to a minimum. Your learners shouldn’t have to struggle with understanding your instructions if you’re trying to assess their numeracy skills. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Use words if necessary.
  • Use diagrams or visual explanations if you can.
  • Don’t use jargon.

Make sure you are clear about your numeracy learning outcome

You may not be used to working with explicit learning outcomes for numeracy. Or for literacy either.

But if there’s any kind of secret sauce to the embedding approach, at least part of it involves having learning outcomes that are clear and explicit.

Remember, our approach to writing learning outcomes means that you force yourself to target very specific aspects of numeracy (or literacy). Writing down the learning outcome is what makes it explicit.

But don’t get locked in either. Treat your learning outcomes as a continual “work in progress”. Each time you use a learning outcome it’s an opportunity for you to fine tune it or see how it evolves into something new and more relevant for your learners and your programme.

Do a good job of unpacking those calculations

Another aspect of good practice here is how well you go about unpacking any calculations or maths-related tasks that your learners have to do or use in their context.

Here’s the process one more time. This time, we’ve written the steps as questions:

  1. What do you know now about your programme and your learners?
  2. What is your learning outcome and do you need to change it?
  3. Have you unpacked what your learners need to know and do in order to do the task?
  4. Have you started to develop some diagnostic questions based on what you’ve unpacked?

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