Math Design Collaborative

The Math Design Collaborative (MDC) provides high quality instructional tools that are designed to improve student mathematics skills in order to better prepare them for success in college and the workplace.  MDC uses formative assessment lessons to engage students in a productive struggle that builds fluency with procedural skills and deepens mathematical reasoning and understanding.

The formative assessment lessons (FALs) are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and are designed to achieve the following:

  • Allow students to  engage in a productive struggle to make sense of math concepts.
  • Engage students in reasoning and increase their ability to think through math problems.
  • Assist teachers to determine what changes in content and instructional strategies are needed to facilitate student mastery of rigorous standards.


 ·  Teacher as lecturer  ·  A balance between direct and facilitated instruction
 ·  Teacher as expert  ·  Student as expert
 ·  Teaching focused  ·  Learning focused
 ·  Students work individually  ·  Students work in pairs or small teams
 ·  Step-by-step instruction  ·  Focus on key concepts with students finding multiple solution pathways
 ·  Students complete work by doing pen and paper problems  ·  Technology and hands-on manipulation facilitate learning
 ·  Only the teacher discusses math and uses math terminology  ·  Active math discussion and terminology used in oral and written formats
 ·  Teachers guide students through steps to solve problems  ·  Teachers pose questions to develop math/reasoning skills in problem-solving

The formative assessment lessons (FALs) used in the Math Design Collaborative were developed by the efforts of the Shell Centre of England and the University of California through funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These FALs can be found on the Mathematics Assessment Project website:

For further information on the Math Design Collaborative:

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