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The use of performance tasks (authentic and/or open-ended) in a neighbourhood school
alternative assessment
authentic and/or open-ended performance tasks
Issue Date: 
Proceedings of the Redesigning pedagogy: culture, knowledge and understanding conference, Singapore, May 2007.
Traditionally, assessment in our local schools is largely confined to written tests or examinations where students are mainly assessed on their mathematical knowledge defined in the syllabus and textbooks, and the mastery of procedural skills in solving routine problems. As assessment is one of the key motivators of student and teacher behaviours, it is therefore not uncommon to find a high percentage of school–based assessment, modelled after the eventual
national examinations where students are thoroughly prepared by constant practice of past examination papers (Menon, 2000). Such traditional mode of assessment offers very little scope for students to demonstrate their communication skills, ability to solve non-routine problems and creativity in problem-solving. To achieve a more holistic evaluation of the students, many researchers have advocated the use of alternative assessment strategies (see Cai, 1997; Clarke, 1997; Kulm, 1994; Stacey & McCrae, 1998), such as journal writing, project
work, performance tasks and self-assessment. This study 1 investigates the effects of
integrating performance tasks, specifically authentic and/or open-ended tasks in the
mathematics classroom of a neighbourhood school, as an assessment strategy. The findings seem to suggest implicitly the positive influence of this new assessment strategy towards the learning of mathematics. In particular, the mathematics teacher noted that students persisted in
their efforts to engage in solving the non-routine tasks despite experiencing difficulties.
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