Use pre-assessment strategies to find out what students know about a topic and to help you plan instruction. Plan ahead to gather assessment information before beginning a new unit.
What is pre-assessment?
Pre-assessment is used to collect information from students. Teachers use formal or informal pre-assessments before a lesson or unit of study. Information gathered during the pre-assessment can be used to determine student’s readiness levels and to plan learning opportunities.
What are formal pre-assessments?
Formal pre-assessments are often pencil and paper tests that are easy to administer. They usually have standardized administration and scoring procedures. Answers are marked as either correct or incorrect. Information gathered through formal pre-assessments should not be used in determining a student’s mark or score. Rather, results can be used to compare learning at a later date.
What are informal pre-assessments?
Informal pre-assessments are activities or strategies that occur during instruction. They are quick to administer and give teachers immediate feedback. Students usually do not realize they are being assessed during an informal pre-assessment. The informal nature of the pre-assessment reduces the text anxiety of students so teachers can gather useful information.
How do you determine what pre-assessments to use?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a pre-assessment. Consider:
- the purpose of the assessment and the type of information you want to collect,
- the learning needs of your students, and
- your own teaching style.
What are the steps to use pre-assessment?
- Determine the purpose of the pre-assessment and the type of information you want to gather.
- Choose a strategy that allows you to gather this information.
- Administer the pre-assessment to the students.
- Study the assessment results and use the information to plan learning opportunities for your students.
What are some possible pre-assessment strategies?
There are many different pre-assessment strategies you can use with your students. Here are five possible pre-assessment strategies you might want to try out:
1. Post-It Note Drawings
Give each student a post-it note and have them draw what they know about a topic. The size of the post-it note requires students to be selective in what they draw and will provide you with information about what they know about a topic.
2. Fist to Five Strategy
Ask students questions about a topic and have them indicate their level of understanding using the fist to five strategy. Students show a fist if they know nothing about a topic, one or two fingers if they know a little about the topic, and hold up an open hand to show they understand most things about a topic.
3. KWL Charts
Before beginning a unit, ask students to complete the “K” and “W” sections of a KWL chart. In the “K” column, students write or draw what they know about a topic. In the “W” column, students write down what they want to learn about the topic. CLICK on the image below to download a KWL chart to use with your students.
4. What I Know Before
Provide students with a “What I Know Before” template. Students write or draw everything they know about a topic on this template. CLICK on the image of this template to download a copy of the template.
5. Sentence Prompts
Give students two or three sentence prompts that are related to a topic of study. Students complete the sentence prompts to show what they know about a topic.
More Pre-Assessment Strategies
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Next Article: How To Use Formative Assessment With Students
- Assessment Part 2: How To Use Formative Assessment With Students
- Assessment Part 3: How To Use Summative Assessment With Students
- Assessment Part 4: How To Involve Students in Assessment
- Assessment Part 5: 21 Assessment Strategies and Add to the Link Up
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