New Revision of the Classroom Challenges

In 2014, we completed the ‘beta’ release of Classroom Challenges, comprising 20 lessons for each grade from 6 to 8, and 40 lessons for High School at 'College Ready' level.

We have now completed a major revision of all of the Classroom Challenges and removed the "beta" label. The materials have been tweaked for consistency, and we have addressed many of the suggestions sent in by users of the beta material. You will notice that some of the names have changed, and the materials at each grade are now arranged by topic. Please note that if you have saved links to specific tasks things may have moved - we have tried to catch old-style links and re-direct them but this may not catch everything.

This has been accompanied by some tweaks to the website design which we hope will make it cleaner and easier to use.

Please note that all of the materials are now available publicly from - the facility to log in for ‘early access’ to material has been removed.

Recent Awards to team Members

Hugh Burkhardt and Malcolm Swan, leaders of the Shell Centre team, have been chosen by the International Commission on Mathematical instruction (ICMI) as the first recipients of the Emma Castelnuovo Medal for Excellence in the Practice of Mathematics Education. The citation includes:

"Burkhardt and Swan have served as strategic and creative leaders of the Nottingham-based Shell Centreteam of developers. Together, they have produced ground-breaking contributions that have had a remarkable influence on the practice of mathematics education.” "Among the many projects they designed and developed the Mathematics Assessment Project, a collaboration between the Shell Centre team and the University of California, Berkeley. Its 100 ‘Classroom Challenges’ which are formative assessment lessons based on diagnostic teaching, have received over 3 million lesson downloads. Through the Math Assessment Project and other projects, Burkhardt and Swan continue to have an extensive impact on mathematics teaching and assessment around the world."

Read the full citation…

This complements the award by ICMI to Alan Schoenfeld of the 2011 Felix Klein Medal for Lifetime Achievement in research. The citations included:

“He shows a lifelong pursuit of deeper understanding of the nature and development of mathematical learning and teaching. His work has helped to shape research and theory development in these areas, making a seminal impact on subsequent research.”

New Report from Research for Action/CRESST

The Classroom Challenges are central to Research for Action’s report on the MDC’s Influence on Teaching and Learning. The report includes survey data supporting the assertions that the Classroom Challenges:

  • Helps Implement the Common Core State Standards
  • Supports Student Engagement
  • Enhances Students’ Mathematical Knowledge and Skill
  • Raise Teachers’ expectations

The report also includes tentative findings from a CRESST study suggesting that the Classroom Challenges produced measurable learning gains, equivalent to an additional 4.6 months of schooling.

Using Computers in Formative Assessment

The FACT Project

The Classroom Challenges are designed to be used in any classroom, without the need for technology. This decision was taken partly to ensure that the materials could be used in the widest number of schools, but also because it was not clear what benefits technology would bring to the lessons, with their emphasis on collaborative work, open-ended projects and discussion and probing questions rather than scores and grades. With the full set of Classroom Challenges complete, the team is looking again at the potential of technology to support these lessons. One such project is Formative Assessment with Computational Technologies (FACT) – a collaboration between Arizona State University and the Mathematics Assessment Project team.

The ultimate goal of FACT is to capture students' individual and group work on the Classroom Challenges, analyse it and produce formative feedback aimed at teachers and students.The aim is not to replace teachers, but to reduce their workload and encourage more of them to use the Classroom Challenges. Achieving this without losing the unique, open structure of the lessons is a challenge: the team is taking a phased development process, starting with relatively straightforward technology to provide teachers and students with useful tools to address practical problems, while also gathering the corpus of manually assessed student responses needed for the next steps toward sophisticated, automatic analysis and feedback.

For more information on the FACT project visit