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    math assessment
    By Julianne

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    We use a pretest that resembles our end-of-year standardized test. But to give me a good look at where the kids are I do an informal inventory. It's easy to put together. I made a simple page to record the results of each task. Here's what it involves:

    You will need 12 snap cubes, a set of flashcards with the numerals 0 - 20, three bowls with counters in them 25, 50 and 100 (I use beans), a record sheet for each child. You give the inventory individually. An aide or parent volunteer can do it if necessary. Have each child do the following.

    Count by 1's as far as they can (usually no further than 100).
    Count by 5's, by 2's and by 10's as far as they can.
    Count backwards from 10 and from 15.
    Lay out 4 snap cubes and ask the child to count them.
    Lay out 4 more cubes and ask them to count the total. (Check to see if he counts them all over or if he counts on from 4)
    Lay out 4 more and ask him again to count the total. (Check to see if he touches or rearranges the cubes to make the task easier.)
    Explain that often we don't need to count. We just know how much of something there is by looking. Drop 2 cubes in front of the child, scoop them up quickly and ask how many were there. Do the same with 3,4,and 5 cubes in random order.
    Set six cubes in a line and ask the child to count how many. Rearrange the six cubes as the child watches and ask how many now. (Check to see if the child knows the number hasn't changed, or if they recount the cubes.) Do this more than once.
    Set out the three dishes with 25, 50 and 100 counters. Ask the child to make a good guess about how many counters are in each container. (Check to see if they give a larger number for the dishes that hold more counters.)
    Shuffle the flashcards and have the child tell you the numbers in random order. If your group is pretty advanced you may want to include other random numbers above 20.
    At the end of your session have the child write the numbers 0 to 10 on a paper (I use the back of their record sheet.) Check for correct formation and direction of the written numerals.

    This gives a pretty good indication of whether the child is on grade level for first grade and ready to learn addition and subtraciton basics.

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