In the transition from lower to upper secondary education, Italian students are expected to have achieved a level of competence which allows them to use knowledge and abilities to model and to understand scientific and technical disciplines. National standardized tests show that especially students who attend technical high schools often have gaps or misunderstandings in their basic knowledge, which may hinder them in learning scientific technical disciplines, which are at the core of their curriculum. In this paper we start from items designed for summative assessment which highlight the main difficulties that students face with Mathematics at this stage, and discuss how it is possible to adapt them to automatic formative assessment through a process of expansion and digitalization, with the aim of helping students fill the gaps and develop mathematical competences. The activities are part of an online course, called “MATE-BOOSTER”, conceived to strengthen mathematical skills of students attending the first year of a technical upper secondary school. In this paper the process of design of MATE-BOOSTER, rooted on constructivist assumptions, is outlined; the design of tasks for automatic formative assessment is discussed in details, and some examples of online activities are analyzed in light of a theoretical framework.
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