International Mathematics Assessments for Schools (IMAS)
I. Introduction
International Mathematics Assessments for Schools (IMAS) is a world class mathematics assessment test for both junior level (and under the age of 14) and immediate level (and under the age of 16) . The test is organized by IMAS Executive Council.
The organizer strongly feels that there is a need for conducting a mathematics assessment test among schools, countries and regions, so that not only testing the achievement of students, but also the test serve as a guiding paper for students to improve themselves. This test serves as one of the motivating factors attracting students not only to test their abilities in mathematics but also to challenge their abilities in broadening their mathematical scope.
II. Aims and Objectives
The aim of the IMAS is to provide an achievement test in mathematics for all students and a mathematics competition for students with good performance. The aims of IMAS are.
- To develop a world class mathematics assessment with international perspective measuring students’ performances in three cognitive dimension – Knowing, Applying and Reasoning at the junior level (and under the age of 14) and immediate level (and under the age of 16).
- To promote effective learning of mathematics in both primary and secondary schools through a publicly recognized performance measuring platform.
The objectives of the IMAS are
- To inform stakeholders, i.e. students, teachers and parents, of the performances of the students in mathematics at different level of attainments in well defined reports;
- To better serve the needs of students through a more user friendly format of perennial assessment that offers options for participants in terms of topics as well as difficulties of materials being assessed through a public mathematics assessment which to be held once a year.
- To usher in an innovative assessment culture, i.e. participants can choose when they would like to sit for the assessment of content as well as level of difficulties of items being assessed. Participants take the initiative in assessing one’s competencies and capabilities.
III. Were there difference between IMAS and other international attainment tests?
At present, there are several attainment tests conducted by different educational groups. These attainments tests included PISA, TIMMS, and many other. The introduction of IMAS is not just another international attainment tests. The main difference of IMAS and other international mathematics tests is IMAS is not a one-off testing. There are two rounds of tests, followed by a summer camp in mathematics. More importantly, the IMAS is not aimed at testing students, but to develop students’ mathematics ability and creativity. The following table shows the important attribute of the IMAS.
IMAS | |
Aims | To assess students’ performance in three cognitive dimensions, knowing. Applying and Reasoning for purpose of enriching the universal education of mathematics. |
Participants | Upper primary and lower junior secondary students. |
The Test | Sets in a real world, rather than pure mathematical environment, with situations to which the students can relate. |
Its Emphasis | IMAS emphasizes items which require the use of scientific, explorative, and creative approach to solve problems. |
What does it Measure? | IMAS measures students’ working knowledge of mathematics developed from natural ability and learning styles. |
Emphasis and Measurement of TIMSS and PISA
The following table display the attribute of the tests of TIMSS and PISA. Though IMAS and the two tests shared some common basic philosophy on mathematics testing, the IMAS is more focused on the development of mathematics ability and served as a tool to inform schools and teachers on the development of students’ ability in mathematics.
TIMSS | PISA | |
Aims | To assess the knowledge of students, assessment items exhibit a range of difficulty and complexity. | To test literacy in mathematics, with a view to improving educational policies and outcomes. |
Participants | Fourth- and eighth-grade students | 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance. |
The Test | Designed to collect information on students’ backgrounds, attitudes and beliefs related to schooling and learning, information about their classroom experiences. | Require students to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve problems set in various real-world contexts. |
Its Emphasis | Emphasizes on items which require the mathematical facts and standard algorithms. | Items demand connections between existing knowledge |
What does it Measure? | Measures traditional classroom content and curriculum attainment. | Measures students’ ability to apply what they have learned to real-world situations and to communicate their solutions to others. |
The questions in the IMAS are designed with the following framework. There are four areas of mathematics involved in the test paper. And questions in each area involve knowing, applying and reasoning.
Numbers and operations | Algebra | Geometry | Measurements | |
Knowing | ||||
Applying | ||||
Reasoning |
Knowing means the ability to recognize conceptual work, and obtain answer based on concept and calculation. Applying means selection of appropriate concepts and working procedure to solve problems. Reasoning means using logical deduction, or based on deduction and concepts to obtain answer.
IV. The Organizer
The IMAS is organized by the body of Executive Council. The members of the Council consisted of (1) Mr. C. K. Wan, Special Assistant to the Vice President of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; (2) Mr. Sun Wen-Hsien, President of Chiu Chang Mathematics Foundation; (3) Dr. Promote Kajornpai from Ministry of Education, Thailand; (4) Ms. Elvira SH, Ministry of National Education from Directorate of Kindergarten and Primary Education, Indonesia; (5) Dr. Simon Chua, President of Mathematics Trainers’ Guild, Philippines.
Under the direction of the IMAS Council, an Academic Committee is formed to administrated the operation of the mathematics test. The membership of the Committee is as follow:
Academic advisors:：
Prof Zhang Jingzhong—-Fellow of Chinese Academcy of Sciences
Mr. Cheung Pak Hong—-Principal of Munsang College (Hong Kong Island)
Chairman:
Prof. Andy Liu —- Professor of Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences University of Alberta, Canada.
Vice Chairman:
Prof. Zhu Huawei —- Professor of Guangzhou University, China.
Members:
Prof. Simon Chua —- President of Mathematics Trainers’ Guild, Philippines.
Mr. Wen-Hsien Sun — President of Chiu Chang Mathematics Education Foundation, Taiwan.
Mr. Zheng Huan —- Guangzhou University, China.
Mr. CHENG, Chun Chor Litwin—- Senior Lecturer of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong.
Other members included the research team members lead by Prof. Zhu Huawei and specialists endorsed by individual participating countries.
In 2011, The President of Hong Kong Polytechnic University will be invited as the Honorary Chairman of IMAS, and all other participating countries in the first IMAS will be invited as official members of IMAS in 2011.
V. Entrance Qualification of IMAS
There are no preset requirements for students to enter the IMAS assessment. Students may sit for any level of assessment which they found suitable. That is, a student could sit for an assessment test at a higher, for example, a Primary 3 student may sit for the Upper Primary assessment test. This opens up the frontier for the bright and able student to test their abilities through a publicly recognized measurement. The IMAS is meant to support the advancement of gifted education exercised in many countries.
VI. Schedule of the IMAS
There are two rounds of IMAS tests in one academic year. The first round of IMAS will be conducted in November and December while the second round of IMAS will be conducted in the succeeding year in January and February. The IMAS Executive Council will sponsor a Summer Camp in July each year with the aim to promote creativity and problem solving skill among students. Hence, the IMAS is not only focus in traditional paper and pencil testing but also in the developing dynamic and interactive approach of learning through appropriate environment.
VII. Format of the Assessment and Award
The first round of IMAS is for all participants, and the second round is for students who perform well in the first round. The format of the tests in each round is as follow, with the sample question included at the appendix.
- First Round of IMAS – Twenty-five problems will be given. The participants are given 75 minutes to finish such ability test. The first twenty problems are of Multiple-Choice type in nature while the last five problems required integer answers between 0 and 999 inclusive. The distribution of the problems are: Problems 1 to 10, classified as EASY category, each correct answer will given 3 points; Problems 11 to 20, classified as AVERAGE category of which each correct answer will be given 4 points while Problems 21 to 25, CHALLENGE category, every correct answer will be given 6 points.
To encourage students to work mathematics and to recognize students’ achievement, the IMAS will provide award for students entering the tests. The level of awards of individual student is relative to the performance of other students in their country, of the same year level during the first round of IMAS. The award scheme is as follows:
- High Distinction – Student whose score is above 95 percentile
- Distinction -Student whose score is above 85 and below 95 percentile
- Credit – Student whose score is above 50 and below 85 percentile
- Participation – Student whose score is below the 50 percentile
Every participant is awarded with a certificate with a personal report. The IMAS individual certificate means a lot to the participant as it promotes positive effects about one’s performance based on the given assessment. The report will be in the form of standards of achievement, informing the participant their achievement in addition to the percentile rank. Assessment results could facilitate learning when strengths and weaknesses of their performance are identified. This information can be shared with mathematics teachers in the region via the feedback loop in seminar and workshops.
- The Second Round of IMAS is conducted for those students who achieved at the top 5% to 10% of all participants of each country. In this test, the participants are given 120 minutes to finish fifteen problems: Problems 1 to 5 are multiple choice type where each correct answer will be given 4 points, Problems 6 to 13 call for short answers where each correct answer will be given 5 points, and Problems 14 to 15 calls for detailed solution (or working process) and the full mark of each correct answer is 20, partial marks may be given for incomplete answer.
In the second round, students whose score is 95 percentile or above of all participants will be awarded with a Gold Medal, and a student whose score is from the 85 to 94 percentile will be awarded with a Silver Medal and a student whose score is from 70 to 84 percentile will be awarded a Bronze Medal.
VIII. IMAS Summer camp
The IMAS will also organize a Summer Camp for developing mathematics learning. This will provide good opportunities for all participants to meet each other and promote friendships of students among different countries as well as learning from each other in mathematics.
The Summer Camp is conducted by the IMAS Executive Council, and the Council will invite those participants who perform well at the upper primary and junior secondary of each country to attend the Summer Camp. The Camp will be conducted at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University will provide free meals and accommodation to all invited participants. One teacher of each participating country will also be invited and his/her meal and accommodation expenses will be sponsored by IMAS Executive Council. However, the participants and all official delegates will have to pay for their round trip transportation expenses from their country to Hong Kong.
XI. Charges and Logistics
- There is an Entry Fee of US $3 per participant payable to the IMAS Executive Council.
- The organizer of each participating country appointed by the IMAS Executive Council Printing will be responsible for printing and marking of the papers.
Appendix: brief content descriptor of the four domain of achievement
A Junior level
Numbers and operations | The four arithmetic operation for numbers (integers, fraction, decimals percentages etc) The properties of integers (LCM, HCF, ratio, divisibility) |
Algebra | Simple algebraic equation in one variable, simple system of equations |
Geometry | Properties of figure |
Measurements | Perimeter, area and volume of figure |
B Immediate level
Based on the content of the
Numbers and operations | Combinatoric, |
Algebra | Pattern Solving equations |
Geometry | Pattern and orientation of figure |
Measurements | Perimeter, area and volume of figure |
The draft run down of the summer camp
Suggestion:
Day 1 | Arriving , a reception evening, knowing each other |
Day 2 | Math lecture 1, problem solving 1 for students discussion and free evening |
Day 3 | Math lecture 2, problem solving 2 and free evening |
Day 4 | Day tour |
Day 5 | Problem solving 3, presentation of the solution of the students |
Day 6 | Problem solving 4, Free afternoon and evening, Gala night |
Day 7 | Leaving |