The big question all teacher have is, “Did my students get it?” One of the best ways to know if your students get it is by using a pre & post test assessment. But the hardest parts about a pre-test is it can discourage students because in some cases they may not know anything about the topic. When I start a unit it is great to have the students struggle through that pre-test then at the end of the unit take a post test. If you graph the two results the kids see the growth and feel proud. The is a great method for a cycle of inquiry to assess what you need to re-teach or to see if your student already know the information. When using pree and post assessments you have data to talk to your collegues about and it fosters collaboration.
My favorite way to do a pre-assessment is an oral discussion about what the students already know. I feel this is a way for the teacher to know where the students are at without making them feel discouraged. I often record their initial answers in a bubble chart. My favorite bubble chart to use on my iPad is Popplet, then after the lesson they can add details at the end of the lesson to elaborate on what they learned. This then puts a pre and post assessment in only place. Another method I use is a journal entry where the students write whatever they already know by asking them a question like, “What makes the sun rise each day?” Then at the end of the ten-minute journal time I ask all students to draw a red line (the line of learning). Then at the end of the lesson they add to their original thoughts by expanding, clarifying or giving a better answer. I also love exit tickets as a way to assess students as they walk out the door. This is a simple 2-3 question “quiz” that students answer or they can ask a clarifying question if they don’t understand the questions. This give me an immediate feel for what the students learned before we change topics. My exit tickets have been done on index cards before I had technology then I did them on clickers or in the class chat box on Illuminate. With iPads in the classroom you can get the student clicker app -student clicker socrative to get immediate data from your students. The key in whatever strategy you use is to make sure the post assessment is something you covered.