Our state has adopted a policy of administrating pre and post assessments. We are required to give a pre-assessment that covers several objectives throughout each quarter. The idea of this is to make sure that we are allowing data to drive our instructional best practices. My building has embraced this policy because it allows us to group students appropriately, create strategies that will help with student mastery, utilize these strategies in our daily instruction, embody the mathematical practices appropriately within our daily instruction, regroup our direct instruction appropriately, and gauge student mastery from the beginning of the identified instructional time frame to the end.
For this specific pre-assessment I chose to focus on addition and subtraction of integers, signed decimals, fractions and mixed numbers. This essentially is 6 objectives. After gathering the data from the pre-assessment I will use the data to guide my lesson planning, instruction, grouping and formative assessments. In my reflection I will discuss the results, common mistakes, classroom trends, appropriate strategies, and lessons to look for as a result of the data.
Once you have taught the lessons that will accompany the results from the data, give the exact same assessment as a post test to see growth. Compare the data from the pre-assessment and the post assessment. We categorize our students as red, yellow, green, and blue. Red students are categorized as limited ability, earning a percentage of 59% or below (needing extensive intervention), yellow students are categorized as basic ability, earning between 60% to 79% (needing more intervention), green students are categorized as proficient students, earning a percentage of 89% to 80%, (students who show mastery, but may need minor review), and finally blue students are students categorized as accelerated or advance, these students earn a percentage of 100% to 90% (students with mastery).
We chart the data of the pre-assessment, identifying the category of each student, then again with the post assessment. We chart percentage growth amounts, identify what the students gained through the instruction, and what students still need. We identify the students who may need to attend, lunch bunch, twilight school, or any other interventions we offer.
The pre-test should not take more than one period. You may have some students who will need two periods. If the majority of students do not complete in one period, take one more day. If there are a few students have them come in at lunch to complete. The turn around time for grading pre-assessments should be very quick, over night if possible. This data will drive your lesson planning, instructional practices, grouping, etc. Try to have a day turn around time. On the pre assessment it is fair not to give back feedback to your students. The true goal of the pre-assessment is for you to identify what you need to do with instruction. You will need to have a good insight on their thinking and strategies used to solve these problems. It will be imperative for students to show their work and explain what they did to solve these problems. The calculators will not be introduced during the pre-assessment, however they will be used during the lessons, and the post assessment. I do this so that I can get a good grasp on what students already know, what strategies do they already have in place, how will they use the mathematical practices on their own, and most important, what fluency skills do they have that will aid in solving these equations.
You will see a similar lesson on the post assessment seeing that we are using the same assessment to gather data to show true student mastery.