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Analysis of student work

Teachers can gain much information on their students' understanding of patterns by collecting and reviewing students' written work at the end of a lesson.

Even though students cannot be asked why they made specific responses, it is possible to make some definite inferences.

  • Did most students interpret the task as intended?
  • Did most students show understanding of the given pattern?
  • What misconceptions were common?

The answers to questions like these will help decide what to do next.

  • If most students mastered the given task, then it may be appropriate to pose a more challenging task in the next lesson to extend their understanding — or it may be time to move on to another topic.
  • If many students made the same error, it may be possible to design a patterning task for the next lesson that will highlight this error and provide students with some guidance on how to overcome it.

Bar charts

A teacher analysed students' first attempts at drawing bar charts for data with large frequencies. The results were used to design subsequent lessons emphasising patterns in a number line.