I have been struggling with how to assess my kids in math and literacy without taking hours and hours. In addition, I wanted to be sure my kids didn't need me too much. See the problem? Everything my district says to give the kids, required me to explain each question a million times. The kids were too tired and we had to take a break after about 8 questions. I found a great pre-assessment in our Calendar Math program. The answers were on the student paper, but the questions were asked out loud. This eliminated needless words that most kids couldn't read. We got through 20 questions in about 20 minutes! It was fantastic. I can't wait to review them this weekend and organize my math centers around what they need to learn. Phew!
As for literacy, I found an awesome assessment over at the A Teeny Tiny Teacher blog. It worked so well, I may adapt it for other writing assignments. It showed me what each student knows about matching letters to sounds and about rules for writing. I have been also doing running records and the other usual stuff. I am finally getting to a place where I am teaching and assessing regularly instead of running around like the proverbial chicken.