In a previous post, we discussed traits of quality pre-assessment.
Here are three documents to help you make pre-assessment easier:
1. A Parent Letter
Keep families in the loop with your new pre-assessment policy. Otherwise, imagine what your student is reporting to mom:
Mom: Where’s your math homework?
Student: I’m not doing math anymore. My teacher said.
Pre-assessing and differentiating class activities will be new to many parents, so a little explanation up front will go a long way to alleviating concerns.
Feel free to edit this basic letter up to fit your own tone and policies.
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2. A Planning Log
Once you implement a pre-assessment policy, students will be working without your immediate supervision. Even the most well-intentioned student may have trouble getting work done with this new freedom.
Provide some structure with a log of work. Students write out their daily plan, then write out what they accomplished, and finally they plan the next day’s work. Due date is clearly labeled on top so students can backwards plan to make sure their work is completed on time.
You can cruise by and check in on this log, keeping you quickly informed of students’ progress (or lack thereof!).
3. Project Presentation Rubric
I often struggled with how to “grade” the projects that resulted from pre-assessment.
- On one hand, the student has already passed an assessment with a top mark, so that should be their grade.
- On the other, many students felt that their work on a project was more satisfying if they received a grade of some kind.
So, I decided to have students present their projects to the class. I then graded the presentation as a language arts grade. This gave them a chance to show off their work, let the rest of the class see what they were up to, and gave them practice presenting to the class. It also gave me a way of providing meaningful feedback. The third document is a rubric for grading this final presentation.
If a students’ project was clearly a result of wasted time and little effort, the consequence was losing the privilege of testing out for the next unit. Naturally, your pre-assessment projects have to be motivating and interesting to students or this isn’t a real consequence.
Have any of your own ideas for making pre-assessment work smoothly? Sources for meaningful projects? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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