Pretests (diagnostic tests, baseline data tests) do not have to be complex. They do need to assess the standard or the standard component at its highest level of thinking. They do need to assess the comprehensive nature of the standard and the in-depth nature of the standard. There are several types of pretests:
1- Misconceptions. As you have planned the unit, you have thought about all the misconceptions that students in the past have displayed about this standard. You “test” for those misconceptions. You may have results from previous year’s tests to pinpoint difficulties students have had.
2-Content knowledge or skills. You ask probing higher level thinking questions about the standard or have students do a task to show their present skills. You only test at the highest level and in the same way that the state test tests it.
3- List of Performance Tasks. Students are given a list of performance tasks or subskills and they check off which ones they are very confident that they can do. Although this a perception pre-test, it helps the students to reflect on their own skills and knowledge and for you to see what they see as their strengthens and weaknesses.
4-Performance Tasks. Have students do a task to show their present level of skills. You only test at the highest level and in the same way that the state test tests it.
Use a spreadsheet to record their results and sort the information so that you can work on the weaker areas that the most students have demonstrated. Teach to what they need to know.
How do you use spreadsheets and other technology to help you in pretesting?