There are 7 things that you can do to strengthen Pre/Post tests, surveys, and assessments (all 3 types are referred to in this post as “tests”). These 7 things are useful for junior, mid-career, and senior professionals. Skim these until you find two or three that fit your work or that you can share with colleague.

The “2 Tips” below are the overarching recommendations that run throughout the 7 Things for Strong Pre/Post Tests and Assessments, a Cheat Sheet.

Tip 1

Preparation techniques will allow you to have exquisite data for comparing data across cohorts and years.

Tip 2

Timed strategies will allow you to secure the data.

7 Things for Strong Pre/Post Tests

and Assessments,

a Cheat Sheet

1.) Preparation spent on refining word choices is important.

Borrow time with colleagues and friends to read the test prompts, looking for any word choices that can be interpreted in multiple ways. It is vital that if you plan to compile response data year after year to compare across time, then you must not change the wording of the prompts across time.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that each test prompt is responded to in the exact same way by individuals and groups across the time that you use the Pre/Post test.

2.) Preparation on collecting demographic information on participants (e.g. age, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, sex and gender, disability, class, household size, and education level) is important for understanding the results of Pre/Post tests.

The gains made in your activity (e.g. a training) may fall along demographic lines. You won’t know unless you collect this information. That is, the difference in growth among individuals and groups of people in your activity may have to do with previous exposure to the topic or an adjacent topic. Also important, the difference in growth might have to do with the demographics of the staff leading the activity.

Ultimately, get the demographic information so that you can make sense of the results and inform your decision-making for the next iteration of the activity (e.g. at the point of enrollment). (Check-out our online course on Unconscious Bias in programming and employee climate for further discussion about how demographic trends might uncover Unconscious Bias in your audience and/or staff team and how to Cultivate Equity.

3.) Collect individuals’ identities on Pre/Post surveys and tests; don’t focus only on the full group’s response to the test.

Some sorts of activities require anonymity for tests. This sometimes means that the staff member who administers the test without collecting names cannot compare the one-to-one growth of individuals.

Remember to offer anonymity while still having comparable Pre/Post data for each individual. For example, each participant can provide their own code name and use that code name when they respond to the Pre/Post tests; this honors their privacy and allows you to know how much each person has grown. In this case, be sure to include demographic prompts on the tests themselves so that you can make the individual comparisons and look for trends in the responses across demographics.


For the final 4 ways to Strengthen Your Pre/Post tests, Download the entire Cheat Sheet.

Why did we develop “2 Tips” videos?

The Anchoring Success team trusts the talent and sophistication of professionals in Human Services and Education organizations. We know that many professionals and organizational leaders do not have the funds to partner with specialists (like us) and/or the time to strategize on what might seem like extra projects.

Therefore, we launched these “2 Tips” videos to support you with making tweaks, adjustments, and refinements in programs and operations — doable for busy professionals in these organizations!