Diagnostic Math Assessments

It’s no secret that I love teaching math.  It’s so easy to make math exciting and fun for students, and I love watching my students learn to love math!  Throughout the years, my instruction has evolved from a traditional approach toward a workshop approach, and I try to incorporate work stations, performance tasks, task cards, and anything that will help my students learn.  As much as I enjoy teaching math, I’ve always had trouble seeing the “big picture” as far as where my students have been and where they are going.  Unlike in reading, whenever I get a new class, I don’t really know anything about their history with math.  We have all kinds of reading data (DIBELS, DRA, etc.) that gives me a good picture of my students’ reading growth throughout the years, but other than grades, I don’t have anything for math.

The past few years, I’ve worked hard creating grade-level math assessments.  I’ve made assessments and checklists for all of the Common Core Standards, and I’ve made quick assessments that are organized by domain that also assess all of the Common Core Standards. Earlier this year, I also made progress monitoring assessments for all of the third grade concepts.  I love these assessments, and I use them all of the time, but they’re still only giving me a piece of the picture, because there is so much more to math than just “my standards”.  I wanted a comprehensive assessment for all of the Common Core Standards.  I’d been on the lookout for something that would work for over a year, and I still hadn’t seen exactly what I’ve been looking for, so I got to work.

After weeks of obsessing over this pack, I am so very happy to be finished!  I knew this would be a big project, but I had no idea just how big it would become.  I started by creating K-5 checklists that were organized by concept.  I wanted a way to look at all standards for a particular concept on one piece of paper.  I made checklists for place value, addition & subtraction, measurement & data, geometry, multiplication & division, and fractions.  This is so useful to me, because I can easily see what my students have already been taught and what will be expected of them the following years.

I was so proud of my checklists, but it didn’t take much for me to recognize that I really have no way of knowing which standards my students have already mastered.  In a perfect world, all students come to the next grade level having mastered all of their previous year’s standards, but in reality we have students above, on, and below our grade level standards.  It’s just how it is.  I know that no matter how hard I work with my students, I will not be able to say that every child in my class will master every third grade standard.  I can say that all of my students will make progress and grow as a math student.

I wanted an easy way to asses my students that allowed me to see which of the previous standards they had already mastered.  I created a K-2 and 3-5 written assessment for place value, addition & subtraction, measurement & data, and geometry.  I also created a 3-5 assessment for multiplication & division and fractions.  You can see below how I’ve organized the assessments by concept and standard, so that it will be useful for almost any grade level.

After getting feedback from other teachers, I’ve also created a set of task cards for each of the written assessments.  This version would be great if you are working with younger students or students who may assess better orally or in an one-on-one setting.  I’ve organized the task cards by concept and have labeled each task card with the standard.

I’m storing my assessment task cards on metal rings.  I’ve decided to only use the K-3 cards, since I’ll be using these with my RTI groups.

I’ve organized the cards by concept  and placed a divider card between each concept.  I think this will be the easiest way for me to keep everything together.  Literally!

The way you would use these assessments will largely depend on the grade level you teach.  You could use it as a pretest for all students or possibly as a break down of skills for your RTI students.

I will use this with my third graders. Next year, I plan to give the place value, addition & subtraction, measurement & data, and geometry K-2 assessments to all students as a pretest.  This will help me to see exactly what prior knowledge my students have on these concepts.  I can use that information to plan my instruction and to find possible misconceptions that need to be addressed.  Since we’re already halfway through the year, I’m only going to give those assessment to students who are still struggling with those standards.  If you’re a second grade teacher, you may want to have students skip the third grade questions or use them to see which students may need a little acceleration.  If you’re a fourth or fifth grade teacher, you may only want to give your students the 3-5 version, and only use the K-2 versions with students who are having difficulty with the 3-5 concepts.  This will give you a detailed breakdown of what prerequisite skills need to be addressed before your students can meet their grade level expectations.

I’ve got my binder ready, and now I just need the snow to melt, so I can actually go to school and use these assessments!

If you’d like to check out the file, just click {here} or on the picture below.  


  1. says

    Holy WOW.

    I'm a reading specialist this year and I STILL want this! (Well, I do actually have one math group, but still.) This looks so comprehensive and helpful for getting to know my new class and where they are in math. You create such useful things that save me SO much time!


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