With or without context
The choice of whether to contextualise assessment tasks or not is difficult for two reasons.
Firstly, there are convincing arguments both for and against contextualising, and secondly, students respond to contexts in different ways.
Designing Assessment Tasks: With or Without Context lists some of the common assertions about the use of contexts, which may help you form an opinion.
As there is no clear resolution to the 'with or without context' debate, perhaps the wisest course of action is to include both kinds of assessment tasks, just as you would include both types of learning activities.
Another viewpoint to consider is that a context can be used to change the mathematical thinking required by a task.
For example, compare these two tasks:
- Which is larger, \(\frac 1 4\) or \(\frac 1 3\)?
- Which is larger, one quarter of a family-size pizza or one third of a mini pizza?