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Lee, N. H. (1999). A proposal for assessing mathematics thinking: A lesson learnt from the Japanese open-ended approach. In S. P. Loo (Ed.), Proceeds of the MERA-ERA Joint conference 1999: Educational Challenges in the New Millennium (pp. 660-665). Malacca, Malaysia.
The role of assessment in informing the public and parents of the outcome of
instruction has, at times, become an obstacle to assessment reforms. In Singapore, for example,
the public has come to accept the norm-referenced way of reporting scores. On the other hand,
assessments tools offered by researchers for the teaching of thinking are often criterion-referenced.
There is, therefore, a need to provide a bridge to the two different kinds of
assessment tools in order for those that promote thinking to be better received by parents and
the public. This is crucial as they are also partners in the education process. The Japanese
Open-Ended Approach to teaching mathematics has been developed and researched since
1971. The approach promotes critical and creative thinking within the context of mathematical
problem solving. The well-developed assessment tool that has evolved from the approach
reflects this emphasis on critical and creative thinking. However, as in many other cases, it is
more inclined towards criterion-referencing. Based on this assessment tool, proposed by the
Japanese Open-Ended Approach, this paper offers a reporting format that is aimed at helping to
acquaint parents and the public with the assessment method, and, hopefully, to gain wider
acceptance among them of new assessment methods to come.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the MERA-ERA Joint Conference held at Malacca, Malaysia from 1-3 December 1999
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