At the end of March, White Rose Maths announced that we would be discontinuing our Year 1 mini assessments. Within our announcement, we explained the reasons for doing this. Our main reason stemmed from our belief that assessment for young children needs to happen in a variety of ways and the way that we had presented the assessments gave the impression of a more formal assessment in the style of a worksheet. Since then, we have been carefully considering how we can provide teachers with more child-friendly assessments that give Year 1 children the chance to demonstrate their understanding in their own ways.
We are now very excited to release our brand new mini assessment task slides for Year 1. These assessments still have the high-quality questions that they did before, however this time we feel the presentation makes their use more flexible and child friendly.
Our top tips for using the assessments are:
1. Ensure that all children have access to concrete resources to support understanding on each question. Give children chance to choose their own manipulatives as this will give you insight into how they think about and represent the concepts. Suggestions for manipulatives are given in the notes section below each question slide. Children may also choose to represent the questions pictorially.
2. Carry out the questions in small groups or as a whole class. The questions are designed to stimulate mathematical thinking. Children need the chance to talk to their peers about the questions and the way that they have chosen to represent their answers. Looking at what’s the same and what’s different about how they have represented their answers will develop even more mathematical talk. Careful eavesdropping will help you assess each child’s understanding.
3. Enable or extend thinking by using the notes on each slide. To improve the assessments further, we have provided extra questions for the teacher to ask orally. The notes provide suggestions of concrete materials as well as extra questions to further the children’s thinking. The extra questions are often similar to the original question with a slight change. Encourage children to think what’s the same about the question and what’s different to help them consider how this will affect the answer. This supports children’s reasoning and deepens their thinking about concepts.
4. All children should have the opportunity to investigate the final question. We have chosen the final question as a more open ended activity to give children the chance to come up with multiple answers. Ensure that they have the opportunity to work in pairs or small groups to investigate the question and provide them with a range of resources to represent their thinking. When feeding back ideas, encourage the children to explain how they solved the problem and model their thinking.
We hope that our new mini assessment task slides will support Year 1 teachers in their classrooms. Assessment for learning is vital to support teachers in highlighting children’s strengths and gaps in understanding. The mini assessments are just one way to assess children’s understanding. Teachers can assess on a daily basis through observation, questioning and activities to provide a more accurate reflection of a child’s mathematical understanding. Finally, assessment should act as a tool to inform teachers about a child’s next steps in learning, not to form a judgement about their future attainment in maths. As always we welcome your feedback on this new resource.