As part of a discussion of cognition-based assessment (CBA) for elementary school mathematics, I describe assessment tasks for area and volume measurement and a research-based conceptual framework for interpreting students' reasoning on these tasks. At the core of this conceptual framework is the notion of levels of sophistication. I provide details on an integrated set of levels for area and volume measurement that (a) starts with the informal, preinstructional reasoning typically possessed by students, (b) ends with the formal mathematical concepts targeted by instruction, and (c) indicates cognitive plateaus reached by students in moving from (a) to (b).
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