Pre-assessment is referred to as a diagnostic evaluation administered at the beginning of the new school year, that assesses a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and knowledge in a subject. If implemented correctly, the pre-assessments help in identifying students’ needs and learning styles. The teacher will know more about the students, how they learn, and what they are more interested in. Some pre-assessment tests focus on problem-solving and cognitive skills as well. Such tests help the teacher in creating a learning plan for students based on their weaknesses and strengths. So, if the teachers understand the students better, then they can plan the course curriculum accordingly.
Today’s students are expected to learn advanced skills like critical thinking, time management, and leadership skills to face the market competition. Changes in the skill base require new learning goals for students. This is where academic pre-assessment tests play an important role. Based on the assessment results, the teachers can make decisions on the course content and the skill set they would focus on the class. In the online education world where teachers don’t interact with the students physically, the pre-assessment becomes more important. Some factors that make pre-assessment tests critical are discussed below.
Pre-assessment reveals if the content being covered in the class is already mastered by the student or not. The topics that students are well-versed with can be removed from the curriculum. If there is a topic which the majority of students are struggling with, more discussion hours can be allocated to it. So while creating the pre-test, ensure that the questions are aligned to a learning target. In general, it is advised to have at least 6 questions per learning target. Once the assessment is complete, the course standard can be set easily. You can either limit the course content to ‘basic knowledge’ or create the curriculum for building advanced skills. Projects, assignments, and theory sessions can be designed based on the course standard.
The pre-assessments give students a preview of what’s expected of them. Setting these expectations, in the beginning, helps students to focus on key concepts throughout the lesson. They will be able to set their learning goals and success criteria for themselves. With diagnostic feedback, they will also be able to track their learning progress. They too can change their learning approach based on the feedback. By being in charge of their learning, students will learn discipline and time management skills. Thus, they will be able to face any tough situation in life.
Pre-assessments will help you in measuring true learning. By comparing the pre- and post-assessments, you can see what your students actually learned from the classes. This will be a direct measure of student growth. You would also get an idea if your teaching methods are effective or not. You can also take a mid-term assessment and make changes or modifications to your teaching strategy. In short, the insights from pre-assessment are essential to make your course suitable to meet each student’s individual needs. Once the evaluation is complete, you can work with your students to meet their learning goals as per their individual learning plan.
Insights coming from pre-assessments are very informative. The results might show unexpected knowledge gaps in students. This information can be used to make relevant changes to the course curriculum or design future lessons. You can keep evolving and refining your course content session by session so that the students don’t feel bored in the class. Moreover, your courses will be more in demand as the content would be designed around future skill requirements.
Knowing the expectation and course standards upfront will keep your students motivated towards completing the course. They will start spending more time learning about the topics in their free time. Their excitement will make the classroom sessions more lively, and you will enjoy teaching an enthusiastic group of students. The discussions will become intense and the students will always look forward to learning more.
Pre-tests don’t have to be painful. Administer a pre-assessment test before your class begins so that you can make informed decisions about the curriculum and help students achieve success. Pre-assessments can encourage a growth mindset in your students.