Cover: Portfolio-driven reform

Portfolio-driven reform

Vermont teachers' understanding of mathematical problem solving and related changes in classroom practice

Published 1996

by Brian M. Stecher, Karen Mitchell

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback71 pages Free

The Vermont portfolio assessment program has had substantial positive effects on fourth-grade teachers' perceptions and practices in mathematics: Teachers report that they have learned that mathematics is more than computation, and they regularly teach problem-solving skills. However, teachers have had difficulty understanding certain key aspects of the reform. They do not share a common understanding of mathematical problem-solving and do not agree on problem-solving skills. As a result, they tend to focus on the scoring rubrics to guide student efforts. Without common understanding among teachers and adequate controls on student preparation and administrative conditions, scores from non-standardized, instruction-embedded assessments may not support proposed uses involving comparisons among students, classrooms, schools, or systems. Vermont should continue its efforts to expand the knowledge of its teachers and to supply them with additional materials to guide pedagogy and classroom activities.

Originally published in: The National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), CSE Technical Report Series.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.