Developing Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment for Primary Mathematics Teachers to Enhance Pupils' Learning

Project Number
OER 20/12 CYS

Project Duration
May 2012 - September 2016


Teachers use traditional forms of assessment such as exam papers with pass/faill or band mark criterion to evaluate a pupil's performance based on their knowledge and skills learned from schools. However, these assessments are ineffective in explaining how pupils make mistakes in answering questions and identifying misconceptions that these pupils have. Hence, based on the results of these assessments, some inexperienced math teachers are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of a pupil's lack of understanding of mathematical concepts. These teachers may explain a mathematical concept over and over again without any positive impact on a pupil's understanding and ability to solve math problems. In contrast, cognitive diagnostic assessment can provide detailed information about a pupil's cognitive schema, which demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of the pupil when learning a subject. As a result, by using cognitive diagnostic assessment instead of other forms of assessments, teachers can successfully determine the misconceptions that the pupil may have in order to provide targeted remedial actions. By using cognitive diagnostic assessment, teachers will reach the specified learning outcome more easily and systematically. Generally, in the research area of assessment, including those conducted at the NIE, very little attention has been given to cognitive diagnostic assessments. Some teachers may be aware of the importance of developing and using cognitive diagnostic assessments, but in Singapore most teachers do not have the time and relevant knowledge to incorporate these assessments into their curriculum. The proposed project aims to develop cognitive diagnostic assessment for primary 2 (or 3) mathematics and rigorous study will be carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness of the diagnostic assessment. The developed diagnostic assessment can be immediately used by school teachers as an adjunct to their teaching. Developing and studying alternative assessments have always been listed as one of the top objectives of the innovating pedagogy of MOE and NIE and this project will support this objective. In addition, this project has the potential to gain importance both locally as well as internationally because its findings will hold significant implications for pedagogical innovation.

Research Themes

Funding Source

Related Links
SingTeach Issue 40 (2013): Diagnosing Misconceptions through Assessment

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