This Algebra I Pre-Test differs from many of the other unit tests in this course as it is a pre-test to assess what students know coming into the course. I have included both the College Prep (Algebra I Pre-Test - CP) and Honors (Algebra I Pre-test - Honors) Pre-Assessments. The odd-numbered items are the same on each version to allow for comparison between College Prep and Honors students. The even number items on the Honors are intended to be more challenging than the corresponding items on the CP Assessment.Each assessment contains multiple choice items developed to align with Common Core Standards. The target Standard is listed with each problem.
There are some Open Response questions on the test. I encourage my students to show their work on the problems. I will give partial credit when warranted. Most importantly, I want to learn how my students are currently thinking about the problem. What concepts do the apply? What skills do they demonstrate?
When the students receive their results, they will be itemized by CCSS standard. For example, students will see the percentage of items on standard A.SSE.2 they get correct. For some tests I also like to add items from the Massachusetts Common Assessment System (MCAS) archive. You can find the website for the MCAS question search tool here.
I like this tool because you can search based on standard (note that all MCAS questions as of the 2012-2013 school year are still using the previous MA standards, not the common core), by question type and other characteristics.
Colleague Recognition: These assessments were developed in collaboration with Patrick Borzi, a fabulous Math teacher and colleague.
After students complete the unit test, I grade them using a computerized online assessment system. During the next class, I will review the class averages with students. I use this as an entry point to talk about measure of center and spread, as well as an opportunity to set some goals for the coming year with respect to student learning and fluency with algebra.
If there were particular skills that the entire class struggled with, I may reteach them during the first unit.
My policy for re-testing I have is as follows: I give any student the chance to retake (Algebra I Foundational Skills - Retake) the test as long as they meet with me and make a study plan on how they are going to learn the material which I sign off on (which most definitely can, and usually does, include after school support, which we call Dayback at my high school).
I replace the test score if the retake is higher than the original, and usually set a ceiling of 80 or 85% for the retake. The reason for this policy is I want to give students credit for learning the material and showing they understand the material, regardless of whether or not it was the first or second time around on the test. In addition I want to value those students who did put the work in the first time (perhaps by staying for extra help before the test) around and did well on the first test. In general students feel this policy is fair and it has helped with student engagement and motivation around testing and assessment.