A comparison of hands-on and written assessment methods for elementary grade mathematics

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Elementary Education

First Committee Member

Arlene Brett - Committee Chair


The 1995 publication of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Assessment Standards for School Mathematics discussed appropriate assessment methods to accompany the recommended approaches for mathematics instruction. The Standards indicated a need to incorporate the methods of instruction in assessment. The purpose of this research was to determine if hands-on methods of assessment provided more detailed information about what students know in mathematics than traditional paper and pencil methods. Published materials for intermediate grade mathematics were used to develop a hands-on assessment instrument which was matched for content with an instrument of written items for the same level. Fifty fourth and fifth grade students completed both assessment measures rotating to various stations. Analyses of variance were used to determine the difference in mathematics achievement between the assessment approaches. Performances were also analyzed by gender and ethnicity.The participants achieved significantly higher levels of performance using the hands-on instrument than they did using the paper and pencil instrument. Boys achieved at a significantly higher level than girls. The results indicated that hands-on assessment methods can be used for assessing mathematics knowledge for elementary school students.


Education, Mathematics; Education, Elementary

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