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Abstract and Link to Report

A Study Of The MARS Project: The Contributions To Clients


Mark St. John, Nina Houghton, Pamela Tambe, Inverness Research Inc.


As part of its broader evaluation of the Math Assessment Resource Service (MARS) project, Inverness Research Associates recently conducted interviews with MARS clients. Researchers sought to ascertain judgments about four major dimensions of the MARS services. These dimensions include: quality; usefulness; uniqueness; and the extent to which MARS services are a "substantial improvement" over other assessment-related services.

Researchers heard many common themes from clients. MARS clients are largely reform-oriented local leaders who want to use assessment to further their work rather than act as a barrier to it. They noted, however, that assessment is a domain in which there is a dearth of local capacity, resources and support mechanisms to do high-quality innovative work. Importantly then, they reported that MARS helps clients address assessment issues in a variety of settings and at different levels of the system, and in a new and substantially improved manner. The project staff work closely with clients to develop exemplary and appropriate tasks which uncover the students’ knowledge and capacity. They also provide rich professional development for teachers to learn more about assessment and how to use it to understand student thinking, and to inform classroom practice. Ultimately, MARS helps clients to bridge the gap between the lack of capacity and the desire to provide meaningful assessments for students.

Intended Audience

Mathematics Educators, Teachers, Reform Leaders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research

Date published

December 2000

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