January 17, 2011

Using Pre-Assessments

Update: I realized that I posted my draft version of the pre-assessment with some typos. I'll fix it soon!

I have recently started writing up pre-assessments for everything! Since I've been teaching second grade for two and a half years now, I know the curriculum pretty well and have a little bit more time to make up things like pre-assessments to go with each unit.

Pre-assessments are wonderful for differentiated instruction. You can see which students already know the material and which students do not. In math, I realized that it was pointless to teach two digit addition to some of my students because they already knew how to do it. A pre-assessment would have shown me that in the beginning. I could have then broken up the class and given those students some extensions and enrichments while teaching the other students the material that is new to them. 

Pre-assessments also useful in the planning process. Since I'm teaching toward objectives, I want to always be aware of what the students need to be able to know or do by the end of the unit. When I make up the assessments in the beginning of the unit, I can correlate the questions directly to each standard and have a very clear picture of what I need to teach. 

Students can also benefit from taking pre-assessments. Not only can they see improvement from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment (or summative, or end-of-unit, or whatever you want to call it), but they can start building schema and connections right away and start creating a mental road map of what they will be learning over the next week, two weeks, month, or however long the unit is. I added a few self-assessment questions at the end of the assessment asking students what concepts they were already familiar with and which concepts were new to them.

Below are examples of a Geometry Pre-Test and a Recording Sheet to check off who mastered each particular standard for that unit.

I'm still experimenting with these, but so far they have given me valuable information about what I teach and how I teach.

Geometry Unit Pre-Test

Geometry Pre-Test and Post-Test

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