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Identifying Mastery and Growth Areas with Pretests and Posttests

Using data from pretests and posttests to determine student progress


At Locust Grove, all students work on self-paced Learner Pathways - sets of learning activities aligned with specific skills, competencies, performance indicators, and learning targets. These pathways provide students choice and agency in how they learn and master content. In order to further personalize the Learner Pathways, teachers designed pretests that students take at the beginning of every unit to measure their mastery coming into the unit. After the pretest, teachers conference with students and analyze each item on the pretest, identifying what students already know and what they still need to work on. Based on the pretest data, teachers and students design the student’s Learner Pathway to start at a point that is most appropriate, effectively allowing students to test out of content they have already mastered.

Once students have demonstrated mastery of the competencies within a unit (through various learning activities and the performance task), students then take the posttest, showing their mastery of the learning targets and growth from the beginning of the unit. Afterwards, teachers pull students individually or in small groups to compare data from the pretest to posttest, tracking growth in each learning target. Students and teachers analyze each item, showing students what they’ve learned, what knowledge they’ve retained, and how their learning has grown through the unit.

In order to best utilize class time for learning, Locust Grove created a separate learning block called the Assessment Lab. Students take the pretests and posttests online during Assessment Lab, using an assessment tool called Illuminate. Students may also use this time to work on other online learning activities.

Student Does

  • Completes online pretests and posttests to demonstrate mastery on academic skills.
  • Conferences with teachers and analyzes performance for mastery and growth.

Teacher Does

  • Pulls performance data from Illuminate.
  • Supports students through analyzing performance and mastery.
  • Adjusts learner pathways based on what students already know.

Technology Does

  • Administers pretests and posttests through Illuminate.
  • Presents performance data to students and teachers .

Strategy Resources

Locust Grove Sample Pretest: 8th Grade Physical Science Unit 1

Teachers at Locust Grove Middle School give students pretests before the start of a unit... Learn More

Locust Grove Item Analysis (with Learning Targets)

Teachers at Locust Grove Middle School design pre-assessments to directly align with the learning targets... Learn More

Locust Grove Sample Performance Task Rubric

Students at Locust Grove Middle School demonstrate mastery through performance tasks. Teachers build rubrics to... Learn More

Locust Grove Sample Learner Pathway - 8th Science Unit 1

Students at Locust Grove Middle School work on personalized learner pathways that are designed with... Learn More