In my elementary multiage classroom I teach mathematics in strands or units. The strands are inclusive of different categories of mathematics such as number operations and number sense, fractions, geometry, measurement, and probability. I place students in small instructional groups based on the results of pretests that are given at the beginning of each strand. These pretests cover a sampling of the mathematical continuum for each particular strand. This allows children to receive the instruction that, as Goldilocks would say, is "just right," not too challenging nor too easy. Student math groups created this way are flexible as each strand has its own pretest. They are also based on assessment information rather than on student age. Because students are in my classroom for three years, the pretest also gives me information about how well students retain what they have learned from year to year.
Follow these links to an example of one of these pretests and to the continuum it is meant to sample.





