Question Detail

Can pre-assessments be effective in higher level mathematics classes?

Jul 11, 2014 5:14pm

I learned about pre-assessments in a class and was wondering if people might share their experiences of where it worked well and issues that they encountered.

  • Math
  • 9
  • Assessment


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    • Jul 12, 2014 7:50am

      My experience with pre-assessment for Freshman Algebra I has been that it only helps identify students who are unlikely to succeed and only when used in conjunction with other factors. I look closely at the homework turned in the first few days to see if students are checking their answers with those I provide and correcting mistakes in reasoning. Students who will not put in the quality of time to do that AND have poor pre-assessment scores are unlikely to be successful...unless a parent is willing to step in to support. Pre-assessment seems to measure retention but stress can severely lower scores. A quick review is all some students need to be completely on board. Many of my students arrive with mostly rote-memory math skills without much number sense and ask, "What do I do?" or "Where do it put?" They tend to do very poorly on the pre-assessment but those who will do the homework, often become very good math students as I bright them up through the Common Core progressions.

      • Jul 27, 2014 4:06am


        Pre-assessments, also known as diagnostic assessments, are great tool to help you plan instruction and grasp the variability of the students in your class. I think they are most effective when they are standards-based. Also, it's valuable to return to the diagnostic assessment throughout the course so students can reflect on how much they have grown.

        Katie Novak

        • Oct 28, 2014 6:51pm

          Pre-assessments or diagnostic assessments are a great way to start any unit as it will give you information on how to structure your lessons to center the learning more on your students. It can also help prevent some behavior issues as you can eliminate things in your lessons that your students already have a grasp on. It also allows you to monitor your students growth over the unit. You could compare your pre-assessment scores to your post assessment scores for an idea on what demographic of students you are reaching and which demographic you need to concentrate on or approaching your standards differently. If you have a pre-assessment you also have the opportunity to adjust your lessons in the middle of your unit ifyou notice that your scores on your formative assessments arnot improving. Without a pre-assessment you are left guessing what your students know and how well they are improving throughout the unit.