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Math Solutions Launches Free Online Assessment Tool

Math Solutions has launched the Math Reasoning Inventory (MRI), a free Web-based math assessment tool designed to help teachers evaluate "students' numerical reasoning and understanding of math principles," according to information released by the company.

Focused on skills required by the Common Core State Standards, MRI is designed to assess incoming middle school students' skills and conceptual understanding of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.

Central to MRI is a 10-minute interview between a student and a teacher who is logged into the tool. Throughout the interview, the student is asked to solve problems in their heads with a few exceptions, and to explain how they got to them, whether they were right or wrong. Once completed, the results can be used to generate reports on what reasoning skills each student was able to demonstrate.

"The results, for an individual student and for an entire class, are meant to inform instruction and provide a more accurate picture of the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of students," according to information released by Math Solutions.

"After 50 years as an educator, I've learned that correct answers by themselves, without access to how students reason, can mask confusion and misconceptions," said Marilyn Burns, founder of Math Solutions. "The MRI assessment helps educators engage in one-on-one conversations with students where they can totally focus on what students are saying, probe their thinking, listen intently to their explanations, and gain essential insights into their reasoning strategies and understandings."

To help instructors get started, the MRI Web site includes sample reports, information about the reasoning strategies involved, more than 80 videos of teachers using the tool, explanations from Burns about how it works, and other instructional resources.

"Some of the very best classroom tools are those that give teachers a window into how a student is learning," said Vicki Phillips, director of College Ready Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided funding for the tool through a $2.2 million grant. "I like MRI because it goes beyond simply solving a problem. It provides a way to drill down and be sure students fully understand the concepts."

Launched in 1984 and owned by Scholastic, Math Solutions provides professional development services, products, and resources for K-12 educators in the United States and Canada. More information about Math Solutions is available at

For more information about the Math Reasoning Inventory, or to sign up for a free subscription, visit

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].