# Self Assess 4, 3, 2, 1! Assessment strategies to use any time, any place

Today in math we started to step up our problem solving and, especially, our EXPLAINING about our thinking…something I know I have not been modeling enough. I want to make sure we keep the climate open and honest, so today I introduced the self-assessment system we are going to use from this point forward.

It is an easy system…kids can “flash” the correct number of fingers if you want to do a quick check (scan the class and check for 1’s and 2’s!) or–like I did today–as an exit slip on post it notes or scraps of paper. Today I wanted to monitor students’ comfort level on larger number multiplication (1 x 3 and 1 x 4 digits) before we tackle building arrays of 2 digit by 2 digits, and I wanted to see who wasn’t feeling confident yet. With practice, students can become pretty adept at being honest! I have a group of 4 “2’s” that I want to sit down and troubleshoot with tomorrow while I give a warm up word problem to my “3’s” and “4’s”…hopefully we will be able to move forward after I get a handle on how ready they are.

I know there are lots of ways to check for understanding…this is just one of the many I use. What I am really stressing is that to be a FOUR, you need to understand HOW to do it, WHY we do it, and be confident TEACHING others! Give it a try–and I’d love to hear other ideas you all have for how you “take the temperature” of YOUR class! I keep this anchor chart posted and refer to it often.

I love using other formative assessment strategies…writing tasks, exit slips, quick quizzes–and more. But sometimes using a quick 4, 3, 2, 1 can get great discussion going…try some of these!

“1’s and 2’s…what part is most confusing?”

“3’s and 4’s…who would be willing to do some coaching?”

“3’s…what is keeping you from being a 4?”

All of these can really help build a climate where students are open and honest about their learning–and help reduce the tendency for students to try to “fake it” or, even worse, cheat to make it seem like they understand when they really don’t. After all, we don’t want students to say they are a “4” if they aren’t! We want to be able to intervene and coach.

Looking for a more formal way to get students self-assessing in math? Check out these!