If you are not already using math pre-assessments with your students, I encourage you to start now! Now, I know. You may be sitting there thinking, “Are you kidding me? They are so over-tested already!” I totally hear you, and I agree. I think children are over-tested with the standardized tests and benchmark tests, but I’m not talking about those types of tests. I’m talking about a math pre-assessment. Just hear me out.
What is a Math Pre-Assessment?
A math pre-assessment is a short test that you give to students before you start a unit. These mini-assessments are typically no more than 6 questions per standard that you will be teaching. Read below to see 5 reasons why you should be using math pre-assessments in your classroom!
1. Can provide a growth mindset for your students
The greatest aspect of math pre-assessments is that it allows you to learn what students already know with their prior knowledge.
Remind your students ahead of time that it’s ok if they don’t understand or know how to do every problem just yet. Encourage them that they will soon gain new knowledge and understanding.
Teaching your students how to have a growth mindset and be proud of their accomplishments is one of the best things you can do as their teacher!
2. Meeting all of your student needs
By participating not only in mathematical pre-assessments but also post-assessments, you are able to show that you are meeting the needs of your students on their level.
Often times students will have a light bulb moment where things begin to “click”. They may not have known how to do a particular concept last week, but now they do! These prove as evidence for them to see where you are meeting their needs.
3. Can help plan your instruction
Remember these pre-assessments should have no more than 5-6 questions listed on them per standard.
Maybe you have one to two questions that cover previously taught concepts while the last remaining questions can be new content that will be taught.
By having this data, you are going to know what you briefly need to touch on. It also allows you to know what can you skip over or spend more time on!
This allows you to learn what content they already know so that you don’t spend too much instruction time on it!
4. Use data to form small groups
Use data checklists to group your students based on what they do and do not know. Whether you keep your checklist in a binder or else where, this data can be used to help form your small groups.
This is especially helpful because as the teacher. It allows you to see who is struggling or excelling with a particular concept and group them together accordingly.
5. Allows you to differentiate your instruction
Your pre-assessments tell you what you need to be working on in your small groups! These allow you to know exactly what each of your students need and then you can identify those needs in your small groups.
By identifying those needs to plan and differentiate your instruction, you are able to meet them where they are. It allows you the opportunity to provide growth for each and everyone of your students!
You can also check out this blog post for some simple ways to differentiate your math stations.
Wanting to give pre-assessments a try?
First, as you begin thinking about adding in math pre-assessments to your routine, I think it’s important to ask yourself of the reasons listed above – which one do you most want to target?
Then, use your best teacher story-telling abilities to explain pre-assessments to your students in a positive way!
Remind students these are to help you as the teacher know how to plan out fun and engaging stations for them. This way they will feel less pressure moving forward.
It will soon become second nature for them to give their best shot at pre-assessments because you will be reviewing their progress with them.
As the year goes on, they will come to learn that you are there to help and guide them with all of their accomplishments!
The great thing is that your students will be able to see their growth throughout the entire year!
Not sure where to begin?
If you’re a visual learner like myself, I highly suggest heading over to my Facebook page where I’ve posted a live recording of all the details!
In the video, you will see the 5 reasons why pre-assessments are important. You will also see specific examples of my pre and post assessment data trackers that are included in ALL 13 of my mathematical units!
I know it can be overwhelming to begin with, but it’ll be very beneficial for you and your students throughout the school year!
Feel free to pin the image below to save this post to come back to later!