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An Observation Assessment Tool for a Beginning Fraction Unit

By Margo Dill

During a fraction unit in primary grades, students use manipulatives and drawings to understand fraction concepts. This assessment tool guides teachers through the most common objectives and is quick and easy to use.

Assessment Tool

You can download this mathematics assessment tool for observation during a fraction unit for a primary classroom to keep track of your students' progress and comprehension of the fraction objectives. This assessment lists objectives that are common in an elementary classroom such as: demonstrating the concept of 1/2 or 1/4, using manipulatives to show fractions, comparing two fractions and explaining which is more, and writing fractions correctly.

There are three levels of progress for students:

  • Mastered: Students correctly execute the skill 90 to 100 percent of the time. (Teachers can create their own criteria for what "mastered" means in their classroom. It is important to set the criteria and stick to it when assessing all students.)
  • Progressing: Students correctly execute the skill 70 to 90 percent of the time. Students need more practice to master the skill.
  • Needs Improvement: Students do not understand the skill and need reteaching and more practice to master it.

Teachers watch students during daily math instruction, guided practice and individual practice. During observation, teachers record with a checkmark in the proper column where the students' ability levels currently are for each skill. This mathematics assessment tool is designed to be used for an entire fraction unit.

Tips for Using the Tool

Here are a few tips for using this tool for observation during a fraction unit:

  • Organize the sheets in a 3-ring binder in the same order you will be assessing students. For example, if you assess students at their desks, then put assessment sheets in the order of their seating chart. If you observe them in groups, then keep papers organized by groups.
  • Use dates of observations in each column instead of checklists. So, if you are observing a group of students comparing fractions on 2/17 and a student is progressing in that skill, write 2/17 in the proper column. Then if you test him again and he masters the skill on 2/20, you can record that date in the proper column.
  • Use the comments section at the bottom of the sheet to record any thoughts you have while observing students. You can record ideas for instruction, anything unusual that happens during the observation or ideas for students who are working on the same level.
  • Because specific objectives for a fraction unit can vary from state to state and even district to district, please feel free to revise the tool to fit your curriculum for your grade level. The program used to construct the tool was Microsoft Word. You can also use the comments section to write in objectives.

As with any assessment tool, the important thing is to use the results to drive and differentiate instruction.