Getting ready for a new school year, but you’re not even sure where to begin? What does your child need to learn this year? What gaps need to be filled? Are there topics and subjects she is already an expert in? All of these questions can be answered through a task we call pre-assessment.
We talk a lot about assessing and evaluating at the end of the school year, but all of the questions above give us a glimpse into the importance of pre-assessment as well.
But, what exactly is pre-assessment? Well, it’s the process of asking questions like the ones above to help you see what your child already knows and what they still need to learn each year. This might seem to resemble end-of-year assessment, and it does.
But, when you do end-of-year assessment, you use a tool that helps you see what your child learned from the previous year. When you do pre-assessment, you use a tool that lets you see what they’re supposed to learn in the coming year and compare that to what they already know.
Tips for Pre-Assessment
Fortunately, there are tools available to help with that! You might already know that Well Planned Start is an effective end-of-the-year assessment tool, but this is not the only way it can be utilized. It also makes a fantastic pre-assessment tool. Each grade-level tests shows you what needs to be learned in the coming year and allows you to evaluate your child based on those upcoming skills. This can help you set solid goals so you can choose curriculum and plan your school year more effectively.
Here are a few tips for using Well Planned Start or other assessment tools to help plan your upcoming school year.
Well Planned Start has a teacher assessment that the parent fills out about the child’s learning. Use the teacher assessment to evaluate your child based on your observations. Decide what you think your child already knows, and mark those items in the assessment. Then mark the items you think your child is ready to learn.
After the teacher assessment, you can have your child complete the student portion of the test. Make sure that your child understands that she is not expected to know all of the answers. Explain that the test will save time because it will help you see what she already knows so you can concentrate on what she still needs to learn. Encourage your child to skip questions she doesn’t know the answers to.
Have your student complete the test in pencil. After you have determined what he needs to learn, you can erase the incorrect answers. Leave them blank to revisit at a later time.
Be sure to leave your own evaluation and planning thoughts written in the book so you will have a reference point for progress evaluation throughout the year.
Match with Curriculum
Use the questions your child did not know the answers to as you plan your next school year. Choose curriculum that will cover these areas, or compare your curriculum to these questions in order to determine which topics are covered. If the answers your child missed are not covered by your curriculum, find some ways to teach the topics using resources such as the library or internet videos.
A Few More Suggestions:
- Consider giving your student the test at the end of each quarter to see if he can fill in any more of the answers.
- Be prepared to be surprised by what your child knows.
- Prepare for an increased interest in tested topics.
Armed with your newfound knowledge about your child’s abilities, you will be able to use the pre-assessment information from Well Planned Start to set goals and plan your lessons with confidence.