Whole Number Pre Assessment

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Students will be able to show what they know about number sense.

Big Idea

Screening students for basic number sense, makes sense.


In an ideal world all the students coming to me from the younger grades would already be exposed to the Common Core Standards but they are not, at least not yet.  I use this quick assessment to make sure the students I have know the basics of Number and Operations in Base Ten.  It is easy for most students but helps me find the ones who are going to struggle with math. 

This is a test I've created based on the old standards to help me bridge to the Common Core.

Giving the Test

25 minutes

Before I give this assessment to my students I talk to them about the importance of this assessment.  It is not a test and so much more valuable than a test.  I tell them it is an assessment, and they need to work to show me what they know and how they know to do the problems.  I want to see their thinking because it helps me as a teacher decide what we as a class are going to do.  It is going to tell me what they know and what we need to work on. 

I give students as much time as they need.  This does not mean it is the same amount of time for every student who is taking a long time.  If a student is struggling with the test I will have them try one of each problem.  If they miss all of them, or most of them, I collect the test with the knowledge this student is a struggling student and will need a lot of support in remediation.  If a student is taking a long time, and getting the majority of the questions correct, I know they just need the time to work through the problems and working on speed will be a goal. 

If a student flies through the work and has it correct - one or two mistakes - I send them back to look at the missed problems.  There mistakes are usually because they rushed. 

Be sure to prep your students on how important this assessment is before you pass out the assessment.  Once you have passed it out your students will be focused on the test and not listening as well as they should. 

Answer Key

Your work will come next in analyzing the results. 

Analyzing Answers

30 minutes

When you are looking at your students' answers, take the time to write down why you think a student may have missed an answer.  Did they not carry or borrow?  Do they not know their multiplication fact (or have the skills to figure it out).  Do they know what rounding is.  I know it is taught all the way back in Kindergarten because I borrowed a diagram from my son's wonderful Kinder teacher. Do they know the value of numbers to be able to compare?  Can they spell the names of the numbers? 

This should be an easy assessment because most students should know this content, but I've found that I shouldn't assume and this test gives me information to direct my lessons in the future.  I can also use it to document growth throughout the year. 

This isn't a document to give back to the kids.  File it in a student work portfolio as documentation of learning or needing support.