Pre-assessment is done at the beginning of learning something new. The purpose of a pre-assessment is to collect information about what students already know and can do and any gaps or misconceptions that must be addressed. 

It can take a variety of forms, including a conversation aimed at making connections to previous knowledge from school, family and/or community, creating a concept map, multiple choice questions, writing to a prompt, or performing a skill.

Pre-assessment becomes formative when the results are used to guide decisions about instruction and learning. It is especially powerful when the assessment, in whatever form, explicitly targets common misconceptions, perhaps by drawing on learning progressions, thereby enabling the teacher to plan to address them directly, as needed. The results of pre-assessment approaches can also be useful to students, who can use them to set goals for their learning.


Traffic Lights. Students use green, yellow, and red buttons to show how familiar they are with a new concept. 
           Traffic Lights Resources

Concept Map. A diagram that visually organizes concepts and the relationships between them. 
           Concept Map Resources

One Question. Ask students to answer just one multiple-choice question that gets at a central idea related to the topic you are about to introduce. 
One Question Resources

Diagnostic Synectics. Use a visual analogy to get a feel for what students think they know about a new topic.
Diagnostic Synectics Resources

English Learning Formative Assessment. A reading comprehension assessment tool teachers can use with English learners or struggling readers.
English Learning Formative Assessment Resources