Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate


Developing Formative Assessment Strategies for Mathematical Thinking is a qualitative action research study that investigates how one mathematics teacher implements formative assessment strategies aimed at impacting students’ mathematical thinking in two geometry classes a southern Title I public high school. This study is predicated on the notion that when students share their mathematical thinking in class, it stimulates classroom discussion and discourse and provides evidence vis-à-vis formative assessments that the teacher can use to improve mathematics curriculum and instruction. The study is theoretically grounded in Wiliam and Thompson’s (2007) Five Key Formative Assessment Strategies that include: 1. Clarifying and Sharing; 2. Engineering Effective Classroom Discussions; 3. Providing Feedback; 4. Activating Students as Instructional Resources; and 5. Activating Students as Owners. These assessment strategies were implemented and qualitative data on student mathematical thinking was collected in the form of the written reflections of student-participants. Other data included samples of student-participants’ work and a teacher journal. Data was examined using the constant comparative analysis method in the spirit of a qualitative educational action research paradigm in order to provide a rich, thick description of the different ways that formative assessment strategies impacted these high school students’ mathematical thinking. The findings of the study include how the teacher-researcher’s implementation of the Five Key Formative Assessment Strategies (Wiliam & Thompson, 2007) impacted student-participant mathematical thinking; student-participants: 1) used mathematical thinking to think about and learn mathematics while problem solving, 2) engaged in metacognitive processes while solving problems, 3) discussed and engaged in mathematical thinking while working and learning collaboratively, 4) described the importance of presence of mind, motivation and emotion to mathematical thinking, and 5) described their beliefs about actions they could take to improve their mathematical thinking. The findings were reflected upon and shared with student-participants and other teachers in the teacher-researcher’s school district. The Action Plan that was derived from the present study will be put into action in the teacher-researcher’s classroom and findings will be disseminated at regional and national mathematics professional conferences.


© 2017, Benjamin J. Sinwell