Assessment—A Gift to Rising-Grade Teachers
Assessment, in all its myriad forms, helps us better understand the math facts and concepts the students in our class have mastered and the areas where they continue to struggle to make sense of what they are learning. It’s a gift to both the teacher and the student as it helps further a student’s math journey.
By this time, you already know a lot about your students as mathematicians, but next year, they’ll start over with a new teacher who doesn’t have your insights. As you wind down the school year, take the opportunity to help your students start the next year from a position of strength by providing your students’ rising-grade teachers with information about the math accomplishments they realized in your class.
Ask your students to write about or illustrate their thoughts about math. There’s no better way to understand a student’s approach to and feelings about math than to hear it in their own voice. Student writing or drawing (or even a short video) about math is very informative as it provides unparalleled insight into the why behind student thinking. Here are some prompts to get you started:
- My favorite thing about math is . . .
- Math scares me when . . .
- The coolest think I learned in math this year is . . .
- My math goal for next year is . . .
- My math super power is . . .
- The most important part of solving a problem is . . .
- The best kept secret about math is . . .
- I want to be better at math so that I . . .
- People who are good at math . . .
- I use math every day to help me . . .
- At the beginning of the year I thought math was . . ., now I think math is . . .
Create a math portfolio for each of your students. A math portfolio is a great way to showcase student progress over the course of the year. You probably already have the building blocks to create a portfolio—here are a few thoughts on what you might include:
- An outline of the principle math goals for the year
- Student journal pages
- Samples of student work from early in the year that showcase student thinking
- Samples of student work from late in the year that showcase student growth
- Note about areas that may still need improvement
And don’t forget to ask students to select a couple of work examples that they are particularly proud of. Including samples chosen by students will provide their rising-grade teachers with a better understanding of what they think are their best math abilities.
Help your students sum up their math identity. By this time, you thoroughly understand how each of your students see themselves as doers and learners of math. But how can you quickly convey that to your students’ rising grade teachers? A survey that you help your students complete is an easy way for them to share their math identity with their new teacher. Below is a sample of what a survey for older students might look like. Click to download this same survey with emojis for younger students.
Share assessment information that helps rising-grade teachers determine student understanding of
pre-requisite skills. We’ve provided a grade-specific fundamentals chart to help teachers think about which content and standards from the year before support key new ideas in the next year. This can help you identify assessment questions or information which will help next year’s teachers understand where their students are in their readiness for grade-level mathematics as the new year begins. We focused on the priority standards that support the math concepts taught in the first two months of the school year to better help you jump start learning.
Rising-grade teachers can use this fundamentals charts to decide which topics may require reteaching to the whole class and which can be better addressed through small-group or individual instruction.
We hope these ideas help you ensure that your students’ rising-grade teachers are prepared to help them continue their math journey in the next school year. And you can share this blog with the teachers of the students who will be in your class this fall, so that you too are prepared to position your students for math success in the new year.
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