Lesson 3: Assessment & Growth Mindset
You’ll learn:
 How can growth and fixed mindsets affect assessment practices;
 How speed changes everything about assessment;
 How to focus on depth and not speed;
 How you can value growth in your classroom.
Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Lesson 3: Assessment & Growth Mindset – Discussion
Tagged: Assessment, for, growth

Lesson 3: Assessment & Growth Mindset – Discussion

What was your big take away from this particular lesson?
What is something you are still wondering?
Share your thinking below.

I absolutely love Open Middle for Purposeful Practice.

I just finished the course on mathematical mindset from Jo Boaler! A definite must for all!

Couldn’t agree more! Absolutely changed my whole mindset around teaching math.


I am anxious to show teachers the feedback/correction model without a grade. We’ve discussed holding back grades but I like the format of this for our formative tasks. Lots of good ideas.

I love Malcom Gladwell and his Revisionist History podcast and had the same connection when I listened to that episode. I even discussed it with a parent of twins when she was telling me that one of her girls just wasn’t a “math brain” like the other one. Thanks for validating my thoughts on the subject.

wow, this gave me lots to wonder about! Okay, I just learned why giving rewrites don’t work. Now I am looking at possibly giving assessments with no grades with feedback with the idea students will read the feedback, make corrections and resubmit. At what point do I enter a score? We need to enter marks regularly on Power School. I like what I am hearing and seeing and am wondering how to make this work within the culture where I teach. It is mark centered and sorting centered.

My big takeaway was that learning math is about depth, not speed.
I’m wondering how I can work this descriptive feedback into an already overloaded schedule, or how to make oneonone time with students to show their improvements in my very needy class.

My big takeaway is the statement that “removing time…proves we care about growth.” Also…that student use of feedback needs to be based on a trusting relationship. These ideas are huge for my struggling math learners.
How do I reconcile these with requirements of progress monitoring for students receiving Tier 2 or Tier 3 instruction? We are required to administer timed assessments to monitor their progress.

My key take away was when giving students multiple opportunities to learn, this doesn’t mean multiple retakes, we can just have dialogue with students. Another thought that I had based on Jo Boaler’s presentation in the virtual summit was to maybe provide students with the diamond paper and allow them to explain problems through that process.

Something I have been struggling with is the idea of giving the students unlimited time to complete inclass assessments. I need ideas as to how to make this work. We have a limited amount of class time with material to be covered and cannot devote an entire period (plus, in some cases) to doing what are intended be short formative assessments. I try to give a little more time to students who need it (many times the need is because the student did not know the assessment was going to happen even when reminded), but other things need to be addressed during the class period, like the material for the course.

I think that feedback is sometimes too rigid and that students only look for a number or a grade. Written or verbal feedback is so important for the students. On assessments, one of my friends will go through a student’s work and highlight their last correct step. Then she will hand back the paper and have students reflect on their efforts and try to correct their errors. I LOVE this method and wished I would have done it when I was in the classroom.

Feedback without a set grade is a fabulous idea. My students are driven by the correct answer based on work they do outside of school. Changing this little thing in my classroom could create a big impact after building the rapport and expectation with students.
 This reply was modified 1 year ago by Michelle Reichel.

Multiple opportunities to demonstrate feedback, giving students opportunity to readdress LO’s, descriptive feedback. All of these take more and more time out of our already constrictive schedule. I suppose with more experience and better time management, I will learn how to incorporate all of these great assessment strategies into my discipline.

I love the comparison of growth learning vs. fixed learning. So often we get stuck in the pacing guide or report card list of skills that so much learning gets lost.
I hear nearly every teacher spend a few days at the beginning of each year promoting a growth mindset in their students. But, these same teachers will jump into activities like Kahoot because it’s neat. I love that you shared an alternative for timed activities like this! I’d really love to know more about the one you discussed in this session! Big idea today: Actions speak louder than words.
 This reply was modified 1 year ago by Holly Woodruff.

It’s so easy to “talk the growth mindset talk”, but so much more difficult to “walk the walk.” Those activities don’t pay off if we don’t live the message in our classrooms. Thanks for sharing your reflection!

I like the idea for retakes to be done through dialogue, which puts the responsibility back on the student, and doesn’t give the teacher tons more work to do. I look forward to learning more about “growth days”: what they look like, and the impact they might have on students.
I also appreciate the idea that we need both fast thinkers, and deep thinkers, but that we don’t necessarily need fast thinkers in math class.

I recently heard the term reengage vs reteach this last year and feel it connects well with the idea of addressing specific parts of an assessment for student next steps. A group of teachers are using this strategy after each small assessement and giving students 2 star questions to reengage their thinking (regardless of what was “missed”). All students then reengage with the concept and turn in their star work before recieving a grade.

I definitely agree with the ideas here. What I’m wondering is how to find opportunities for more conversations and coaching, as I feel that would be more impactful than written feedback for younger students. I really appreciated the reminder that learning about a concept doesn’t need to stop at an arbitrary point in the year just because that’s when the grading period ends.

I love the idea of moving away from right or correct and towards next steps. Learning is a never ending journey and what better way to model that than celebrating the growth steps the students take and then setting the stage for modeling their thinking in different ways and looking forward to their next steps.
I am looking forward to hearing more about growth days and fresh grade in the next lesson.

Providing multiple learning opportunities would be much easier if the curriculum is spriralled.

I love the feedback/correction model and am looking forward to learning more about Mastery days. I like that FreshGrade allows for the showing of the progression, and am wondering if the items remain tied? We use Seesaw, which has some really great tools, but I like the way FreshGrade seems to be able to show progress towards a given learning target.

Linking growth mindset into assessments is a wise move. Little did I realise that what some teachers like me have been doing is already a growth mindset. For me, it was still instilling the positivity in the students’ minds that maths is easy and they should embrace it with a positive mind.
 This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by Maria Carmela Sanchez.

I LOVE timed games, I’m good at them. I often give timed quizzes because I’m concerned about using class time to learn new content as well. I need to remove the timing!
Test retakes don’t work… Instead, allow students to readdress specific struggles. Student initiated conversation or presentation to demonstrate their new learning.
“Is this correct?” – Don’t answer! Make them justify their answer. I love doing this.
Focus on Next Steps, NOT Correctness.
Give feedback without a grade! Then, allow them to use your feedback to make corrections.
I’m curious about the idea of simply assigning grades to students without a test or quiz at all, simply based on dialogue and prompts. Many students struggle with tests from the outset. It would be difficult for me to make a shift away from tests, but with the discussion of new ways for students to readdress struggles, would it make sense to simply skipping the test step altogether?

Great reflections here, Daniel!
Your wonder is a great one. Before I went into my current role as a district consultant, I was still doing my weekly “check in” assessments, but I’d like to think that I’d be using “all work” each day for assessment AND evaluation (as we approach the end of the course). The key is refining your “during moves” of the lesson to ensure that you’re able to notice and name the learning. Where students are along their journey…
Maybe that is a goal for you this coming year?


I need to structure assessments that emphasis progress and growth, not a label or grade.
I am trying to think through how to change this practice inside a traditionally grading system. I would love to move to standards based grading, but I currently cannot do that yet (working on it). So here is my question for the community…how can I modify the whole “retake test” to still promote growth within the traditional grading system? Is it possible?

I think you can still do this within a traditional grading system. The hard part is just ensuring that both you and the student know where those areas for growth actually are… this is the trouble with a traditional “retake”… kids redo it and maybe snag a few extra points here and there, but do we know if there was any real significant growth?


Rather than test retake, readdressing student learning by spiralling content, ensures success!!

I have been trying to do this in my room and students thrive on knowing that they can have another opportunity to show me that they have mastered a skill. Many students go home and practice and then tell me when they are ready to show me their mastery.

This is the kind of feedback I give with reading. It makes so much sense to do the same with math.

The more we learn about mathematics, the more we learn how similar it is to learning language both reading and writing. Of course there are subtleties that are different like how the content continues to build on top of itself, but the process is much the same.


I agree with timed games. I don’t want kids to get the wrong idea about math being about speed. I enjoy Malcome Gladwell’s talk. I am excited to see what is next.

I loved the chess player example, it targets the main issue. I agree with all what was mentioned but let’s be realistic: What can we do when the time factor is a constraint for your course, at school ? When you are required to do quizzes & assessments & enter your grades on time on a system that does not allow you a margin for non formal evaluation other than grades, where graded copies should be documented?

Salam, you’re right. We must enter grades at certain times. The key is that mark should reflect their understanding of the standards at that time. It’s a snap shot. I look forward to your thoughts on module 3.


Thank you for mentioning Growing Success. I always go back to this document when discussing assessment with educators.
Growing success is very much about making the learning visible and providing learning goals and success criteria. Both LG and SC provide a platform for rich feedback — but, the feedback needs to be clear and concise with actionable next steps.
The idea that the initial work should be done for feedback purposes and not marks, is not a new concept – we do that all the time in the language curriculum, we just call it a rough copy.

I have completed Mathematical Mindsets course and these ideas of course align with that. I am now going to look at the Knowledge Hook game without the timing.

Fantastic. We are big fans of Jo Boaler and her work… so glad you can see the very clear connections!


Kids ignore the feedback when they see the grade–YES!!! That makes perfect sense–esp when they ask “Why did I get a _____?” and you’re like ???!!! Didn’t you read the comments I left? (Which took me FOREVER!!) Also–love the visual example of feedback embedded within the test design–prob on the left and feedback/next steps on the right. Communicates that feedback will occur.

Love it. Looking forward to hearing an update after you put some of these ideas into practice!


I have always pride myself in the Growth Mindset culture of my class and am always looking to improve my teaching so that my actions do not imply fixed mindset. I have read Carol Dweck’s book and am a big fan of Jo Boaler and her Youcubed website. I have played Kahoot on occasion on a Friday afternoon or before a holiday as a treat. Like you said, it rewards speed. My winner is always the fastest to the answer. Fortunately, I have never taken the time to take content that my students are studying to create a Kahoot and when we play it is random topics that my students are interested in. I will try Knowledgehook Gameshow without a time limit next time students are asking to play a game.

I absolutely plan to “go deeper” and not faster, but a question is how can I manage/grade/score this? Especially if I want the students working in mixed groups. What happens when one student wants to leave their group behind, or worse a group wants to leave another student behind?
Also, this is telling me that I really need to rethink my Learning goals for the course if they’re going to incorporate more indepth thinking and representations of a topic/skill.
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