Learn how and what to use to effectively assess students in math with these 8 quick math assessments for the kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classroom.
Math Assessments in Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade
You are a hard-working math teacher, working tirelessly to put together meaningful lessons for your students. You have many standards to cover on top of everything else you need to fit into a school day.
But at the end of the day, you may worry about whether or not you are truly getting through to your students.
Are they learning? Are they meeting the goals you set? How do you assess students in order to monitor their progress? How do cover the standards in an already busy schedule?
Student progress is, of course, the main goal of our instruction. Therefore, regular “checkups” are vital for making sure progress is being made.
We know assessment is important, but it can be overwhelming to contemplate incorporating more into our math routine.
But there are some simple ways to check in with your students to ensure that they are grasping the material that you are teaching. In fact, you can so seamlessly integrate these into your classroom that the kids won’t even know they are being assessed!
With very little extra work, you can keep an eye on the students’ progress. Let’s look at ways to build formative assessments into your daily routine!
1. Assess Kids with Math Exit Tickets
Math exit tickets are a quick, easy way to check for understanding. To use as a math assessment, present a problem to the class. Ex: You are studying subtraction, so have each student come up with a subtraction equation that they write and solve on a post-it note.
In order to leave the classroom, they must present their “ticket” to you at the door. Check them as they walk out to make sure they have completed it correctly.
You may also choose to write a problem on the board and the answer is their “ticket” out.
2. Quick Math Assessment Checks
Quick Checks are assessments that can be performed after math lessons and practice. Each Quick Check includes a short activity for an individual or small group to complete and show to the teacher.
A student’s completion of the task will provide teachers with information regarding their understanding. Grab your free sample of Mindful Math Quick Check assessments below!
3. Math Journal Assessments
Interactive math journal prompts are a helpful tool that can provide feedback on how students are understanding math concepts.
Often this is a word problem that the students answer, showing each step of their work. The teacher checks it and leaves notes for the student based on their work.
Journals can be a part of your morning routine, completed as the first part of math time, or given as an independent math practice activity. Either way, it is important to follow up with the students in order to make this an effective assessment tool.
4. Math Assessments Through Observation
Certainly, nothing takes the place of simply observing your students to see how they interact and understand the math concepts you are teaching. This can be accomplished during your whole group math mini-lessons.
However this is a challenge if you have a large class, it is easier to assess students when working with them in math small groups.
Alternatively, circulate around the classroom, looking and listening for understanding as students complete independent and group math activities. Have a clipboard ready to take anecdotal notes.
You may choose to pick one or two students to focus on each day. Make a special note of how they behave and respond when you are teaching, when they are working with a group, and when they are working independently.
All of this is helpful to know and can help you reach out to meet the needs of that struggling math student. Often frustration or apathy is a sign of a student not understanding the material.
5. Math Centers
Use Math centers as an effective way to provide self-assessment for students on how they are doing.
The purpose of math centers should be to practice or review a skill that has already been taught.
Effective math centers will be self-checking, in order to allow the student to see if they are doing it correctly.
This is also a good time for the teacher to observe how the student is doing in their respective center.
6. Small Group Activities
When students have an opportunity to demonstrate math skills during math small groups, it is helpful. You may choose to have students play math games in small groups or complete math center activities.
Not only is this fun and engaging, but it also gives the teacher yet another opportunity to observe how students are doing with the math topics at hand. Plus, it provides extra practice, which is always a good thing!
7. Math Mats
Math Mats are one-page math worksheets for daily practice. They provide a way to monitor and build childrens’ knowledge of a range of skills.
You may choose to start a math class with a math warm-up, like this, that also serves as an assessment. They work well anytime you want to build in extra math practice: morning work, sub-plans, fast finisher activities, small groups, math centers, etc.
A quick look at each one after they have finished will provide you with an idea of whether students are grasping the topics you are teaching.
Use these, then follow up with students regarding any problems they struggle with.
8. Pre and Post Test Math Assessments
Sometimes, a traditional test is the most suitable way to go for assessment.
This can be particularly effective if you have the students complete a pretest BEFORE you teach the material. This provides you a glimpse into what they already know coming into the lesson.
It provides a gauge for how much they learned when compared to the results of a test taken after a lesson.
There are many simple ways to include formative assessments in your daily math classroom. Some are small, some take more planning, and some are fun! But whatever you choose, make sure you are regularly checking in with your students to ensure they are progressing in their math skills.
Free Assessment Quick Checks for K-2
Try our Mindful Math Quick Check assessments to help you quickly and easily assess your students in a variety of skills. Click the image below to grab a copy.
Using the Mindful Math for Your Math Assessments
If you are looking for a comprehensive math program that allows for easy differentiation and provides supportive lessons and activities to support your math instruction and includes options for math assessment, then Mindful Math is for you!
The Mindful Math curriculum by Proud to be Primary includes detailed lessons that can be broken down into whole-group mini-lessons and small-group instruction. It also has various math practice options, such as journals, warm-up task cards, practice sheets, centers and games, and assessments.
See the Mindful Math program in action here.
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