Do you want to increase your reluctant students confidence in math? Of course you do. Here is a tip that will help: Start with a pre-assessment in Math.
The pre-assessment in math
No, I am not talking about a full out test. I just mean 4 or 5 questions about the unit you are about to cover. This 15-20 minute beginning of unit routine, will give you important data about your learners. You get to find out which students:
- already have the concept down pat
- just need a little push from last year
- need a greater amount of support
Starting with a pre-assessment in math helps you to plan your lessons and activities.
Now it is unit time. You teach (using pre-made math lessons that you can send your students), practice, play games, check in, teach some more, do some centers, etc. However you set up your math classroom, students are engaged in a whole bunch of learning.
the Post assessment
Fast forward to test time (this time the real thing rather than just a pre-test). Even students who have needed more support have learned something throughout the unit. That assessment is the place that they get to show everything their amazing sponges of brains have soaked up.
Now for The magic of the pre-assessment
Now here is the magic part. When that pre-assessment and post assessment are put together, your kiddos get to actually see their growth. Seeing that change boosts student’s self confidence as a math learner. This confidence benefits them in many ways. Willingness to take risks, perseverance and choosing more challenging problems, just to name a few. All of which further improve math skills.
Now for some students the change will be significantly more than others. But we aren’t comparing student to student. Starting with a pre assessment and end with a post assessment allows you to compare individual to individual, the only comparison that is important.
Growth is growth, no matter how big or how small. Being able to physically show that growth is invaluable to student math perceptions.
This is why I start and end my math units with these pre and post assessments for the grade 6 Ontario math curriculum. Check out the full year bundle here.
This includes a number sense only math diagnostic as well, a great way to get to know your students as math learners.
Including a pre-assessment is rule # 4 of my 5 junior grade math rules! Check out the other 4 here.