Many students perform poorly in math and do not seem to have a strategic approach to problem solving despite average intellectual ability and good reading and mathematical computation skills. In addition to using criterion-referenced assessments to determine a student’s skill, Solve It! includes the Mathematical Problem-Solving Assessment (Short Form) (MPSA-SF), which measures student knowledge and use of math word problem-solving strategies.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each student and then gearing instruction to build on the strengths while remedying the weaknesses is critical to effective instruction. The MPSA-SF is an informal assessment that requires about 25 minutes for individual administration and scoring. Teachers interpret the results, which provide rich information about how students solve math word problems and guides the teacher in developing a relevant instructional program.
The MPSA-SF includes:
- Ten items that assess how students perceive their mathematical ability and performance, their attitude and motivation, and what they know generally about problem-solving strategies.
- Thirty items that get information about students’ knowledge of specific problem-solving strategies (i.e., reading, paraphrasing, visualizing, hypothesizing, estimating, computing, and checking problems).
- Three word problems that are validated with respect to difficulty level.
- Five Likert-type items.
- Thirty-five open-ended questions.
The MPSA-SF helps teachers understand students’ perceptions of their ability, attitude toward math, math knowledge and skills, and ability to apply their knowledge and skills when solving math word problems. Specifically, teachers gather information about students’ conceptual knowledge (e.g., place value), declarative knowledge (e.g., math symbols and number facts), procedural knowledge (e.g., the four basic operations), and strategic knowledge (e.g., how to represent problems).
The MPSA-SF is available in English and Spanish. An Excel® spreadsheet application is provided as a scoring option. The following Solve It! books include the MPSA-SF: