Day 40: HWD Concept Tests

The last time I gave a chapter test was student teaching.

Before my first year of teaching I met with my principal and pitched a modified 10 point version of Dan’s assessments. He was on board with the whole thing. I was excited about this.

Testing has been a work in progress for me with several changes along the way (I now use a 5 point scoring system). Feel free comment below if you have any criticism, questions, or want to share an idea.

Here’s how things go:

Tests are broken into major conceptual ideas* rather than chapters:

I pick 3 to 4 concepts to put on each test, with one to two questions for each concept.The concepts cycle out after appearing roughly three times. (My first test had concepts 1 and 2, my second had 1,2,3 and 4, my sixth test had concepts 6, 7, and 8) Once they are out of the cycle, it is the student’s responsibility to come in and re-test to raise their scores.

*My list of major conceptual ideas for Algebra is located at the bottom of this post


Return + Checklist:

I return the tests within a few days and students record their scores on a concept checklist, which they hang onto. They shade up to their highest score for each concept. After two 4’s on a particular concept they call me over and get a signature; indicating they don’t have to test over that concept anymore.



Each concept is scored between 0 and 4 points. After a student scores two 4s on a specific concept (i.e. multi-step equations) they are not required to test any further on that concept. Here is the Rubric I follow (this came from another blogger… I can’t remember who though!!)

If a student’s score increases, I replace their previous score with their new one. No new gradebook entry. If the score drops I do nothing.


The second time students see a concept, the questions are harder. The difficulty levels-out after this. I consider the questions from the 2nd time on to be at a mastery level.

Other things I do:

  • Each week I put up the percentage of students in each class that have a 4 or 5 broken down by each period (this adds a little competition).
  • I make up a question or two on the spot when students come in and retest. Nothing too fancy.
  • I limit retests to once a day.
  • No tutoring + retesting on the same day.
  • I grade hard.

Things I have changed:

  • From a 10 point scale to 5 point.
  • Shifted from one perfect score to receive a signature up to two.
  • No longer require their checklist on the desk during testing.

What my students from last year thought about concept tests:



Tests (Algebra) 1    2    3    4    5

Tests (Geometry) 1    2    3    4    5

Algebra Concept List

Blank Concept Checklist




One thought on “Day 40: HWD Concept Tests

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