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Task-based interview example

Scenario: the year 3 class have had a series of lessons exploring various representations of thirds — their first experience of an odd-denominator fraction. The teacher wants to assess the students' understanding and skills before moving onto fifths.

The teacher:

  • has prepared four tasks similar to those used in the lessons
  • plans to spend about 10 minutes interviewing each student over a few days
  • has organised the rest of the class to complete revision tasks and play familiar mathematics games in small groups, while she conducts interviews in one corner of the classroom.
Schedule completed by the interviewer, detailing a student’s answers and representations regarding fractions.

Interview schedule with notes

The interview schedule includes:

  • four tasks, using materials
  • probing questions to find out the student's thinking
  • possible additional questions in anticipation of an incorrect response
  • space to record notes quickly during the interview.

This example shows the teacher's notes for one student.

From this interview the teacher concluded that Josh:

  • had quite a good understanding of the part-whole meaning for fractions
  • could represent thirds by partitioning three equal parts using three different representations
  • does not understand thirds as being numbers and cannot comprehend their value in relation to 1.

Curriculum links

Year 3: Model and represent unit fractions including 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, 1/5 and their multiples to a complete whole