EDU 363
Unit Plan Assignment

About pre-assessment: purpose and definition
Pre-assessment is intended to help us [as teachers] know what our students know and are able to do with regard to some aspect of the content, or some skill or process, prior to embarking on a unit of study focused on that content or that skill.
In an ideal world, teachers pre-assess, then create units based on what they learned about their students and what they do and don’t know. In reality, we often have units already created, and while pre-assessment can shape what we do and how we approach the unit, it does not necessarily drive the entire creation of a unit.
At the end of a unit, you need to re-visit, somehow, your initial pre-assessment, and see how much kids have grown.

About the content
In order to successfully pre-assess students’ knowledge and understanding, you, as the teacher, must have a firm grip on the content. You must truly understand what it is that you are teaching, what this aspect of the subject matter entails, what it is all about, why it matters.
So, before thinking about pre-assessment, you need to be able to talk, with some confidence, about what you are teaching.
  • o content, topics, skills, process, concepts, ideas
  • o [and, by extension, why does it all matter?]

Next question: what are you going to pre-assess.
In thinking about an actual unit of study, with many components, you will need to first think about the whole, and then think more what in particular you want to focus your pre-assessment on. In truth, you won’t be able to pre-assess everything. So, you need to think about what seems like the right thing to focus on for pre-assessment – remembering that this is something you will also come back to at the end, to see how students have grown.
  • o Again: what are you going to pre-assess?
    • § Content/topics
    • § Skills/processes
    • § Ideas/concepts

Next question: how are you going to pre-assess.
Once you have determined what you will pre-assess, your next task is to come up with possible ways do the actual pre-assessment, keeping in mind that you want to try to get at each and every kid’s knowledge/skills, (and that can be hard). Coming up with good ways to do pre-assessment is hard. Just as with good instruction, it is important to think creatively here, to think about the different ways you can get at kids’ knowledge and understanding. An added bonus is if you can also make the pre-assessment task something that is engaging to kids and helps them “get into” the content/skills of the unit in some way, something that allows them to begin to play with the “stuff” of the unit. Remember also, that whatever you pre-assess at the beginning, you need to somehow come back to something similar/related, at the end, so you can see what kids have learned. Your pre-assessment and “summative” or, post-test, do not have to be exactly the same thing – this is a common misconception. But, they need to focus on the same thing, in one way or another.