Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Criterion A is all about demonstrating knowledge and understanding. This may typically be through a written assessment, in a question and answer format, although not strictly so. The student is required to select the appropriate mathematics within the frameworks branches, apply this selected mathematics and correctly solve familiar and unfamiliar problems at various levels. An example of a criterion A test can be seen here.
Consider the progression
The strands in this criterion stay the same for the entire 5 years of the programme, so the differentiation comes from the units which would be progressively more challenging from MYP1 to MYP5. In addition to this, the strands themselves state that there must be a range of question levels - from simple and familiar to complex, challenging and unfamiliar.
Choosing a Layout
Option 1 - Categorising the questions into 4 levels. A few simple and familiar, a few more complex and familiar questions, some challenging and familiar and then 1 or 2 challenging and unfamiliar problems. This has the advantage of students being able to work through the assessment in any order, not requiring previous answers to move on to a new question. It can also make grading and feedback easier as it is clear to see at what level the students’ understanding is strong and in which areas.
Option 2 - Extended questions which have multiple parts. Each question starts with a simple task in part a) (classify, draw, identify, label) and progresses to more complex tasks needed to solve the larger problem. This has the benefit of being able to assess the same skill or understanding at multiple levels without it feeling as repetitive as it might in option 1.
Creating Challenging and Unfamiliar problems
Your students should be able to apply the conceptual understanding and skills they learnt in the unit to solve the problem - it shouldn’t require additional knowledge that some students have been exposed to through their own independent study. That being said, you can still make questions challenging and unfamiliar in different ways. Below are some strategies and examples of how you can assess that highest level of understanding through challenging and unfamiliar problems.
Next post we’ll be looking at criterion B - investigating patterns. If you have specific questions you want answered, be sure to leave a message!