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Planning, Preparation, Instruction, and Assessment

Elise Portella

Regent University

Planning, Preparation, Instruction and Assessment

Pre-assessments and post-assessments are crucial in meeting the learning needs of each

student. Without it, an educator does not accurately know which student requires extra assistance

in a subject. When pre-assessments are given, the teacher can stretch students who display a high

level of previous content knowledge. Pre-assessments prompt teachers to create more effective

lesson plans for their students.

At Atlantic Shores Christian School, there is a Christian curriculum used called Bob

Jones University Press. In first grade math, students are required to learn about geometry. More

specifically, about the different 3D shapes. The BJU geometry standard is based upon the

following: Students must identify spheres, rectangular prisms, a cube, cone, corners, faces,

curved sides and spatial relationships. Students must also know whether these 3D objects can be

stacked, and which ones cannot.

The pre-assessment consisted of nine questions. These questions included identifying

shapes, their flat surfaces, curved surfaces, and whether those shapes can be stacked. The total

amount of pre-assessments given was twenty-three. Fifteen students scored below a fifty percent.

Seven students scored between a fifty and seventy-five percent. Lastly, one student scored above

a seventy-five percent. Most students displayed little understanding of the material.

The students’ post-assessment on 3D geometric shapes displayed huge learning progress.

After being tested seventeen of the twenty-three students received a seventy-five percent or

better. Six students received between a fifty percent and seventy-five percent. Lastly, zero

students scored under a fifty percent. This was a tremendous leap in content understanding

compared to the pre-assessment results.


After reviewing the data results and student academic performance on the pre-assessment,

I realized two things. I realized that most of my students were hindered on their pre-assessment

due to vocabulary/wording in the questions. Secondly, I realized my students lacked real life

application understanding of 3D shapes. I was sure to review important math vocabulary and

give real life examples of geometric shapes in my lessons.

Another contributing factor is math anxiety. Many students experience anxiety/pressure

in this subject and can cause low test scores. Tips for Teaching Math to Elementary School

Students described how important it is to pre-assess to alleviate unnecessary stress for the student

and the teacher. The author said, “Most elementary school teachers do not hold a degree in

mathematics, making teaching math a daunting task.” (Scarpello, p.1) The main idea was to

articulate how challenging teaching math can be and how to utilize pre-assessments to focus in

on important content. I found this to be a wise perspective.

During a whole group lesson, I asked my students what it means to “stack” something.

This word was included four of the nine questions on their pre-assessment. My analysis of the

data was correct. Only a few students raised their hand were able to describe what that meant. I

continued reviewing important vocabulary such as curved, flat, and surface. It is important not to

forget how crucial vocabulary is even in math.

One of my lessons included playing a game of “I Spy.” The students were asked to locate

a sphere, rectangular prism, cube, or cone inside the classroom. This was my way of teaching the

students that 3D shapes are all around us. I wanted my students to understand that once that real-

life application is made, it becomes easier to determine which of these shapes can roll or be

stacked (a concept misunderstood on the pre-assessment).


After pre-assessing in Geometry, I concluded that many of my students are kinesthetic

learners. After teaching the material throughout the week, it was clear that my students needed

hands-on examples. I presented them with 3D geometric shapes I borrowed from a teacher and

real-life examples (i.e. globe as a sphere). Lastly, the students practiced making 3D shapes with

their playdough. I believe that the more the students were given the opportunity to practice with

their hands, the better they performed on the post-assessment. This experience gave me a deeper

understanding of the efficiency of a pre and post assessment. Moreover, it helped my students

tremendously in their learning!

An eBook entitled, Pre-assessment: Knowing Where Students are as a Unit Begins, had

some great insight on the purpose behind pre-assessments. In chapter three, the author stated, “It

is useful to think about pre-assessment as a flexible process for extending a teacher’s

understanding of student learning needs rather than a fixed prescription or algorithm.”

(Tomlinson, p.17) This spoke to me, because in the past, I have tried to come up with a “quick

fix” or “prescription” for my students. The way the author explained the deeper purpose behind

pre-assessments and how they build stronger relationships between the student and teacher, gave

me an entirely new perspective. The teacher is striving to meet the detailed and specific learning

needs of each student, not coming up with a quick fix.

I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.” (New International

Version) Educators conduct pre-assessments not to be obnoxious, but to truly learn about the

individual and his/her unique learning needs. Assessments like these should not be looked at as

something to check off the to do list, but an opportunity to know the students on a deeper level.

In other words, loving on the students and allowing them to see how much they are cared for in

the classroom.


Tomlinson, C. A., & Moon, T. R. (2013). Assessment and student success in a differentiated
classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Scarpello, G. (2010, 09). Tips for teaching math to elementary students. The Education Digest,
76, 59-60. Retrieved from 47595368?accountid=13479