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"It is the job of teachers to help students see that mathematics is multifaceted. . . .Open questions provide the opportunity to demonstrate this." 

— Marian Small, Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction, 2012

Come and learn about the power of using open math questions (questions with more than one mathematically correct answer) in your classroom. Open questions are a way to encourage students to think more deeply — a valuable tool for differentiation — and a way for the teacher to gain insight into students’ reasoning. This insight can be used as formative assessment: assessment that occurs during the teaching of a unit or a concept that allows the teacher to make responsive and adaptive instructional decisions. Formative assessment that allows teachers to make changes to instruction on a day-to-day basis has been shown to improve student outcomes (NCTM, Benefits of Formative Assessment).

In this course, you will have the opportunity to try out and participate in discussions based on open math questions. You will also learn strategies for creating open questions, and will have the opportunity to prepare an open question for an upcoming lesson or unit.


This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • All teachers involved in adult numeracy instruction. Instructors at all levels of math comfort are encouraged to enroll.

In this half-day, face-to-face workshop, you will see examples of open questions, learn how they can be used as a powerful tool for differentiation and formative assessment, and receive coaching as you prepare open questions for your own class. You will leave with a plan for facilitating at least one open question in an upcoming class or unit.

You are encouraged to bring worksheets or other curriculum materials from a math unit you are currently teaching or often teach. You will use these to prepare open questions for your class.

This workshop is 4 contact hours plus a short lunch break. To receive a certificate of completion, participants must attend the entire face-to-face-session. For more information, please contact Sherry Soares ( 

Learning Objectives: 

Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Use open math questions to differentiate instruction
  • Explain the steps of the DEN process for formative assessment
  • Use open math questions for formative assessment
  • Prepare an open question for an upcoming class or unit
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s): 


03/13/2020 - 10:00am to 2:30pm
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
PD Center: 

Math and Numeracy

SABES Mathematics and Adult Numeracy Curriculum and Instruction PD Center
Topic Area: 
ABE/Adult Education
College and Career Readiness
College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE)
Educator Effectiveness
High School Equivalency (HiSET/GED)
Learning Disabilities
Mathematics and Adult Numeracy
New Staff
PDP Eligible: 
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