Assessing Your Students at the Start of the Year

As most of you have learned, I teach third grade inclusion. With inclusion at my school I have gifted, special education, and general education students in both of my classes. The broad range given to me can be difficult to handle if I do not have enough data and knowledge of where my students are at. I use several assessments throughout the year to track my students’ progress. I cannot share documents of all of them for copy right issues, but I can share the assessments I have modified and made my own.

The Big 20

Big 20

This assessment gives students 20 questions they should be able to answer by the end of third grade. They have 20 minutes to complete the assessment. I was given a Big 20 last year that was created for the Georgia Performance Standards. Because the Common Core standards are different I have made adjustments to the assessment and the new Big 20 fits the standards more accurately.

I give this assessment on the first day of school. I hope to have between 2 and 7 questions correct the first time students take this. The assessment is given again on October first and I look to have between 5 and 10 questions correct. The assessment is given again on January first with an accuracy of 8 to 12 questions. The assessment is administered again on March first with a hope of between 12 to 17 questions correct The assessment is given again at the end of the year with a goal of 20 questions correct.

       I keep all of the assessments in my data binder and track their progress on my data sheet as well (which stays in the Student Data section of my binder).

Math Facts

My students do math fact assessments twice a week. I know there is a great deal of controversy over math facts, but I have found that my students love to do them and do not become stressed over them. I do not use math facts as a grade, but as a way of gaining data.

      We do our math facts on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. Each student has a math fact folder with the progress graphs (these are in the FREE download). We also keep all of their past math fact sheets in the folder (in the back pocket). The sheet they will use that day is in the front pocket. We have printed our math fact sheets double sided to save paper. Students must complete 100 facts in five minutes to pass off on that fact and move to the next set of facts.

            Our progression looks like this:

  • Five Minute Addition
  • Five Minute Subtraction
  • Five Minute Multiplication
  • Five Minute Division
  • Four Minute Addition
  • Four Minute Subtraction
  • Four Minute Multiplication
  • Four Minute Division
  • Three Minute Addition
  • Three Minute Subtraction
  • Three Minute Multiplication
  • Three Minute Division

          I have had a student pass off on all of them (by October) and request to do double digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. She chose to do this over math apps on the iPad for that five minutes twice a week. The kids truly do enjoy math facts!

Students are rewarded for their fact mastery. After each level, students sign a classroom banner. After all five minute facts are complete students receive a math fact license (in the downloadable packet) and a coke or candy bar of their choice. After all of the three minute facts are complete students receive a happy meal. I had four students pass off on three minute facts by the end of third grade this past year. It was INCREDIBLE!!!

Math Fact License

  You may be wondering how I manage to time people if they are all doing different lengths of time. Once a student is on four minute math facts they sit at a back table to complete their facts. I stop them a minute early. The three minute students sit at a different back table and are stopped two minutes early. You could do this also if you have desks grouped together. If you teach the transitions well at the beginning of the year it is truly seamless.

       While all gifted and general education students must complete 100 facts in the allotted time, I only required 80 facts in the allotted time for my special education students (this information many times can be found in the IEPs).

Detailed Math Screener

       This is assessment I cannot share a copy of because of copy right laws, but I want to beg of you to use at least one other method of assessing your students throughout the year. I use Every day Mathematics Intervention Activities Pre- and Post-Test to gather information on my students. It is 22 pages long, and could be given in sections. Last year I would give one topic at a time as I was about to teach it, but I think it would have been helpful to have given the entire assessment at once also. There are only 3 or 4 items per page so students do not feel overwhelmed. I only use this assessment twice times a year because it takes so much longer. I suggest giving an assessment similar to this one at the beginning and end of the year. These types of assessments will help you create groups for small group instruction as well as share information with parents on what their student needs more work in.

I have put a packet together which includes:

  • Math Facts Graphing Sheets (3 pages)
  • Math Facts Licenses
  • Big 20 for 3rd Grade

Please feel free to download it for FREE here.