Pretest (pre-assessment) can cover many different aspects:
1-All the year’s key concepts. A Science teacher has developed two questions for each of the key points that she covers during the year. She gives this pretest at the beginning of the year to have a base-line for all her students.
2- Content on the state -test. A Spanish teacher may give the students the previous year’s regents at the beginning of the school year to see what skills and knowledge the students have based on the state-test required content.
3- Overarching skills or concepts. An English teacher take a reading comprehension pretest at the beginning of the year to determine how well they comprehend reading materials. The English teacher realizes that if students do not have a high degree of reading comprehension, they will not do well in the course.
3- Several standards components found in a unit. A Math teacher may pull out four questions that are the most difficult and that represent the different standards components from the unit and ask students to solve them.
4- A specific component within a unit. Within a big Government/Civics unit, a Social Studies teacher creates several pretest each one focused on different aspects such as purpose of the constitution, the three branches of government, and Bills of Rights in daily life. As the students finish a section of the unit, they have a pretest for the next section.
So which type of pretest do you use? Do you use your word processor to take your existing standards-based unit exam and slightly modify problems to create a pretest? Do you have a subject area database of possible test qustions? Do you have old state-exams in digital format that you can take questions from?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007