Y’all I love my assessment so much! I wish all math teachers had the luxury of something like this. It is so informative! It shows where you stand with respect to skills you’ve been shown so far in your academic career. And even more importantly, it shows where you stand with respect to readiness for skills you will be shown in the upcoming year(s). I do the assessments for free, no strings attached. Even if you never work with me, knowing where you stand can be invaluable to navigating math in your academic career.
Why my assessment pretty much rules…
There are a lot of things I love about my assessment. One is it’s in plain language, not TEKS language. There are no percentages to wade through to interpret your results, no comparisons to other kids your age across the nation (because I’m a big believer that math should be taught according to what your brain is primed and ready for, not according to what age you are, although I can tie it to grade level for purposes of goal-setting.) It’s very clear and simple; it says:
- here are the most important skills for you to know for your goals, and
- for each skill, do you know it or do you not?
But the main reason it’s so powerful is that it’s one-on-one and interactive. Part of the assessment is written, but the bulk of it is done out loud, interview-style. What’s so great about this? Oh, man: a LOT. Here’s some of the things it allows me to do:
- It lets me put the student at ease. Often when a family comes to me, they haven’t had the most stellar experience in their lives with math. It’s normal for there to be a little bit of anxiety anytime you meet a stranger. Now add to that that this stranger is “judging” you on something, and add to that that they’re judging you on something that you already feel blek about!!! That could be a super not-fun experience, BUT IT’S NOT! I’m really good at making a student feel comfortable, AND there are always things I can find to praise, AND I’m a big believer that any gaps are due to a broken system not a “broken student”, AND I joke around and make it fun. I get messages all the time from people who say their learner left the assessment happier than when they arrived.
- It lets me assess confidence, speed, and fluency. Read my Criteria for Mastery for more on this.
- It lets me customize the assessment on the spot. Every new piece of information I get from how a student answers a question informs me what to assess next, or what to dig into more.
- It lets me assess NUMBER SENSE. This is huge. Think about these pairs-that-make-10 problems for a second:
Or these adding 10 problems:
5 + 10
23 + 10
35 + 10
If a student took a written test with problems like these, they would no doubt get them all correct. But I can’t tell you how many students don’t have the Number Sense skills to know the pattern that allows them to do these quickly and effortlessly. This is easily remediable but only if you know that it needs to be! Assessing out loud, interview style tells me if a student knows these with automaticity or of they have to slow down and figure them out.
- When a student gets a problem wrong, it lets me know WHY they got it wrong. The more multi-step a math problem is, the more possible reasons there are for a student to miss it. Knowing the reason is pretty important if you’re aim is to improve the sitch.
So yea- the assessment tells me a lot about gaps. And the reason you wanna know about gaps is this: what starts out as a small foundational gap can turn into a huge learning chasm when not addressed. You gotta know about your gaps! What you can identify as problematic, you can fix! What you can measure, you can improve!