5 Diagnostics to Get to Know Your English Classes

The first few weeks of a school year (or new semester), we have to learn way more than just students' names. In an increasingly data-driven world of education that wants teachers to quantify OR demonstrate growth over time, it's beneficial to get some baseline snapshots of what students know and can do.

(And, even if we aren't worried about data points, we teachers are DEFINITELY curious about our students' personalities, histories, and abilities, right? It's hard to plan for the year without knowing more about the humans we will share the space with.)

These 5 diagnostics are bound to start discussions, give you valuable information, and/or pinpoint strengths and weaknesses.

#1. Diagnostic grammar test

Students will be singing along (silently) when the example sentences are taken from song lyrics! It's the least boring (but easiest to grade) grammar test ever. Click here for more details.

#2. Diagnostic essays

Do a diagnostic piece of writing now (that you don't HAVE to grade unless you want to), AND you can get an "after" writing sample at the END of the year to compare and see growth. Make it fun with a unique prompt that matches your class content (or that will rile up student opinions).

#3. Writing samples (other genres)

Check on narrative, informative, research, and other skills with a menu of 40 themed back-to-school prompts across several genres and categories.

#4. Vocabulary pretest

My "Word Nerd Challenge" (Word of the Week program) starts with a pre-test so that we can give it again as a post-test at the end of the year and celebrate growth.

#5. Diagnostic Greek & Latin roots test

If you need to teach roots, this is a QUICK diagnostic tool that will likely be confidence-building for students (when they realize that they know more than they thought).

What other suggestions do you have?
Tell me in the comments!

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