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Breaking Math News!

Beginning this spring, for grades 6, 7, and 8 students will have access to an additional resource for the Grade Level Assessment.  They will have access to 3 different calculators, basic, scientific, and graphing using a version of Desmos which will be in the testing platform.  Here is the link (https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/asmt-math-desmos-calculators-for-assessment.pdf) to some resources from Desmos that teachers and students can begin using now.  The updated Online Tools Training (OTT) and practice forms reflect this additional tool.

Providing all students equal access to tools is the primary reason for this addition is to make tools available.  There are districts in the state whose students have access to graphing calculators daily, which means those students also have them for state tests.  By including these tools on the state test, we provide opportunity to level that situation. 

For our End of Course assessments we will begin having Desmos graphing calculators available with the Summer 2020 window.  Given that there were two earlier windows where students have already taken these assessments, it was not consistent if it were added for this spring.  

Please note that students will continue to be able to use hand held calculators as long as those tools meet the restrictions listed in the manual.

Please check back soon!  We will be loading several released Performance Event Items with sample student work!

Essential Resources

Mathematics Item Specifications

In 2014 Missouri legislators passed House Bill 1490, mandating the development of the Missouri Learning Expectations. In April of 2016, these Missouri Learning Expectations were adopted by the State Board of Education. Groups of Missouri educators from across the state collaborated to create the documents necessary to support the implementation of these expectations.

One of the documents developed is the item specification document, which includes all Missouri grade level/course expectations arranged by domains/strands. It defines what could be measured on a variety of assessments. The document serves as the foundation of the assessment development process.

Although teachers may use this document to provide clarity to the expectations, these specifications are intended for summative, benchmark, and large‐scale assessment purposes.

Components of the item specifications include:

  • Expectation Unwrapped breaks down a list of clearly delineated content and skills the students are expected to know and be able to do upon mastery of the Expectation.
  • Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Ceiling indicates the highest level of cognitive complexity that would typically be assessed on a large scale assessment. The DOK ceiling is not intended to limit the complexity one might reach in classroom instruction.
  • Item Format indicates the types of items used in large scale assessment. For each expectation, the item format specifies the type best suited for that particular expectation.
  • Content Limits/Assessment Boundaries are parameters that item writers should consider when developing a large scale assessment. For example, some expectations should not be assessed on a large scale assessment but are better suited for local assessment.
  • Sample stems are examples that address the specific elements of each expectation and address varying DOK levels. The sample stems provided in this document are in no way intended to limit the depth and breadth of possible item stems. The expectation should be assessed in a variety of ways.
  • Calculator Designation indicates whether a calculator will be available for test questions written to a particular expectations on the large-scale assessment.
    Kindergarten Grade 6
    Grade 1 Grade 7
    Grade 2 Grade 8
    Grade 3 Algebra I
    Grade 4 Algebra II
    Grade 5 Geometry


Expanded Version of the Mathematics Grade- and Course-Level Expectations

The following documents, linked below, were created by Missouri educators to provide classroom teachers a more descriptive version of the mathematics Grade- and Course-Level Expectations (GLEs and CLEs).  Much of this work came from the committees that developed the new expectations; however, many other educators have read and contributed to them.  Please remember, these are curriculum development documents and are not designed as an assessment resource.  Additionally, the examples and lists provided are not exhaustive and are not meant to place limits on the work being done in Missouri classrooms or on assessment development.

While all efforts were made by the committees to provide a clear expectation of student learning, at times it may be difficult to ascertain exactly what the committee intended.  These documents will alleviate some of the questions that inevitably arise when new expectations are released.

In the example below, which illustrates how the documents are organized, the left-hand side lists the official GLE or CLE in order.  The right-hand side is the expanded expectation.

MLS Code

Actual Expectation Wording

Expanded Expectation


Compare and order fractions and/or decimals to the thousandths place using the symbols >, = or <, and justify the solution.

The expectation for the student is to compare and order fractions, or decimal numbers to the thousandths place, by reasoning about their size. Record the results of comparisons with symbols >, = or <, and justify the conclusions. (e.g., by using benchmarks, number lines, manipulatives or drawings)

The reader will find instances where both the original and expanded versions are the same.  In these cases it was determined the expectation was clear and any additional description could be detrimental or limiting to the original intent of the committee.

These are working documents and the authors encourage the readers to develop their own examples and lists to bring these mathematics expectations to life in their classrooms.  Also note that these curriculum development documents may be updated in the future to include more detail or clarification of the intended student learning.


  • Kindergarten - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 1 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 2 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 3 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 4 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 5 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 6 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 7 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Grade 8 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Algebra 1 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Geometry - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 
  • Algebra 2 - Expanded Expectations PDF | Word 


Performance Level Descriptors (PLD)



Additional Resources

MLS-Math Resources

Math Revised Standards:


Updates on the Implementation of the Mathematics Missouri Learning Standards

Summer 2017 Professional Learning Series Presentations

Professional Learning

Math Content Meetings for 2019-2020 will be on September 24, November 12, and January 14 in Jefferson City.  Please contact Chip Sharp at chip.sharp@dese.mo.gov for more details

Mathematics Item Writing Project – Year 2

Use rich quality items to prepare students for the state assessment!  In this daylong session, participants will model a process to use rich items in your classroom to improve student learning.  The use of rich activities provides great opportunities to support student growth and understanding over multiple expectations.   Participants will also use student work to discuss grading structures similar to our state assessments.  Lunch will be provided.

This session will support all grade levels, with break out groups targeting grade level and grade bands.  While we are building on the discussions from year 1, all teachers are welcome to join this workshop regardless of having attended the earlier session.

Date RPDC Contact Information
September 30 Greater Ozark CSD https://myemail.constantcontact.com/GOCSD-DESE-
October 10

MSU - Agency for Teaching, Leading
and Learning (Springfield)

November 6 NE - Kirksville https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity
November 13 Ed Plus – St. Louis http://www.cvent.com/events/dese-mathematics-item-writing-project-year-2/event-summary-1a442fa74ecc4a289f82b8d71cdfe4be.aspx
November 15 UMKC https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity
November 18 Heart of Missouri - Columbia https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity
November 20 Southwest Center – Webb City http://bit.ly/DESEMathitems
December 2 South Central - Rolla https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity
December 9 SEMO – Cape Girardeau https://www.mylearningplan.com/ProgramAdmin/
December 18 Central - Warrensburg https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity
January 10 NW - Maryville https://www.mylearningplan.com/WebReg/Activity

Enhanced Learning Maps (ELM)

Take advantage of a free professional development opportunity! The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is recruiting interested teachers to participate in the Enhanced Learning Maps (ELM) project, an innovative program aimed at developing and implementing research-based instructional resources for English language arts and mathematics taught in grades 2-8. For more information, call the Office of College and Career Readiness/Curriculum and Assessment at 573-751-3545 or click this link:  https://bit.ly/2q6Jy47 


Interface 2021 – Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

For over thirty years the Interface Conference has been a place where educators collaborate to improve mathematics and science instruction for the children of Missouri. Please consider presenting at one of Missouri’s premier professional learning events.  Feel free to forward this message to other educators that you believe would also be interested in providing high quality presentations.

The 2021 Interface dates are:

  • Interface A: February 18-20, 2021 (K-6 grades)
  • Interface B: February 21-23, 2021 (6-12 grades)
    *Grade 6 teachers should select session A or B as is appropriate to their district.

Submission Link for proposals: https://missouri.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0q7DOW5t7mobgRD

Prices: TBD

Sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in cooperation with the MU Conference Office

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 

Professional Mathematics Organizations

It is vital for Missouri mathematics educators to be active life-long learners in the field of improving mathematics instruction.  Two characteristics of being a life-long learner are an active engagement in professional organizations and networking with other professionals in your field.  The following organizations, listed below, are available to support mathematics educators.  Please consider becoming an active member in one or more of these groups.  If you have questions please visit their websites or contact the individual listed for each group.

National Mathematics Organizations

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)


State-Wide Mathematics Organizations

Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM)

Missouri Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (MoCSM)

American Regions Mathematics League (ARML)

Missouri Mathematics Association for the Advancement of Teacher Training (MAT)2


Regional Mathematics Organizations

Central Missouri Mathematics Educators (CM2E)


Kansas City Area Teachers of Mathematics (KCATM)


Mathematics Educators of Greater St. Louis (MEGSL)


Mathematics Educators of South Central Missouri (MESCM)

Southwest Missouri District Association of Mathematics Teachers (SWMDAMT)


Additional Sample Items


Grade 1


Grade 3


Grade 4


Grade 5


Grade 6


Grade 7


Grade 8


Algebra 1




Algebra 2


Released Scored Performance Events

Grade 3  Grade 4 
Grade 5  Grade 6 
Grade 7