Learning List has reviewed Exemplars’ Problem Solving for the 21st Century: Built for the Common Core, which is a supplemental, online resource that supports instruction in the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) for grades K-5. Resources are available online and include printable components. Content is made up of a set of “learning tasks” and a summative, performance-based assessment for each standard addressed by instruction.
For each CCSSM that may be evaluated through problem solving, Exemplars presents four or more learning tasks that present a problem for students to solve. Tasks provide opportunities for direct instruction in problem-solving strategies, vocabulary development, creating models, and representing mathematical reasoning. Learning tasks are appropriate for whole group and small group instruction, students working in pairs, and/or individual student work.
Formative and summative evaluation of students’ work is supported by rubrics and anchor papers. Rubrics establish a set of five criteria and four performance levels. Criteria include Problem Solving, Reasoning and Proof, Communication, Connections, and Representations. Performance levels are linked to Webb’s DOK levels and include Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner (meets standard; strategic thinking), and Expert (extended thinking). Anchor papers provide samples of student work at each performance level, discuss the different problem solving strategies a student may use for a given problem, and identify possible misconceptions.
Founded in 1993, Exemplars began by assisting educators using K-8 mathematics problems and assessments that met NCTM Standards. They added 9-12 mathematics two years later. Due its popularity, They started publishing K-8 science in 1997. Exemplars tasks are designed to meet state, national and Common Core standards. Their materials are used by educators in 50 states and 30 countries.
* The content in this section is provided by or adapted from Exemplars.
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