Educator Book Review: The ANIE
By Kevin Bird and Kirk Savage
Published by Pembroke Publishers
Category: Professional Development, Math
Reviewed by Chris Cocek,
Educator, Grade 5, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Educators recognize that authentic, reliable assessment of student learning is essential for today’s diverse classrooms. This theme is the principal message of Bird and Savage’s book, The ANIE. The Assessment of Numeracy in Education (ANIE) is designed for educators to evaluate students’ understanding of mathematical concepts beyond traditional methods. The authors claim, and I would agree, that once the ANIE template is implemented into a K-12 math classroom, it would provide accurate, detailed information on student progress and misconceptions. The ANIE template is a user-friendly, one page tool that transforms math assessment from the traditional right or wrong response (essentially a quick snapshot) to an in-depth investigation of student understanding (a detailed portrait). The ANIE tool starts with a teacher-created math question and then requires students to estimate the answer, show their symbolic calculations, represent their thinking with a diagram, explain their process in words, and then apply the concept in a real world context.
The easily comprehensible book includes an explanation of the methodology behind the need for a different math assessment tool, a “how to introduce the ANIE into the classroom” section (with expanded detail for K-3), and details for scoring student work with the included four-point rubric. Relevant examples are provided throughout the text. The one shortcoming I have with the book is that the authors feel the need to continuously sell their math assessment concept.
To develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ANIE, I incorporated the assessment tool into my elementary classroom. The results were both accurate and surprising! The ANIE revealed, as the authors asserted, that my students struggled with writing about a real world connection to a math concept being studied. The assessment tool produced an “aha” moment for myself as I incorrectly assumed my instruction integrated sufficient practice with real life examples. This experience motivated me to use the ANIE more frequently with my students in my daily mathematics practice.
The ANIE would be a welcome addition to any teacher resource library. While it would be helpful to have some additional examples provided in math strands other than numeracy and operations (such as geometry or data management), the book can make an effective impact on the way teachers’ assess their students mathematical understanding.