AMESA 2014 (Kimberley)

The Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) is the professional association of mathematics educators in South Africa. The 20th national conference was held in Kimberley in July 2014.

The 90-minute Fasmed workshop, which was held on Tuesday July 8th, was led by Marie Joubert and Ingrid Mostert, both from AIMSSEC. They were helped by Jennie Bircher, a school mathematics teacher from KwaZulu-Natal.

Overall, the purpose of the workshop was to widen awareness amongst teachers of the FaSMEd project. More specifically, the workshop aimed to extend understandings of formative assessment. Participants (mostly teachers) were introduced to a ‘Formative Assessment Lesson’ produced by the Mathematics Assessment Project team at the University of Nottingham, in the UK. The lesson is based around a task in which learners work in groups to match three sets of cards: one with distance-time graphs, one with stories and one with tables of data.

Participants complete the ‘pre-assessment task’ in pairs, discussing how they think their students will respond.


Here teachers work on the main task, matching graphs to their descriptions.

The workshop included some data collection* related to the participants’ current understandings of when, why and how assessment is used in the mathematics classroom. This was followed by an in-depth discussion of the purposes and uses of assessment, with a particular focus on formative assessment. Analysis of the data is in progress.

A participant fills in the data collection form.


We also viewed some video of school students in the UK working on the same task. The video clip showed the students working within their small group of three and an intervention by the teacher.

The discussion that followed mainly focused on the teacher and the way he responded to the students’ ‘confusion’ (their word).

Note: a similar workshop took place in Cape Town. More detail about the mathematical task can be found in the report of that workshop.

* Appropriate ethical consent was given by the participants.