Throughout a concept unit, students need formal and informal opportunities to have their mathematical thinking understood by an expert, who responds in ways that will lead to greater learning. Checkpoints are these formal opportunities; formative assessments for learning. Checkpoints should take place after some amount of instruction has occurred and should be used to gauge students’ conceptual learning that has occurred as a result of that instruction. In other words, checkpoints are defined the same in concept units as they are in projects; however, in concept units they are often used more like short checks for understanding, similar to exit tickets.
Once checkpoints have occurred, teachers should use them to decide the highest-leverage next steps for individual students, groups of students, and/or an entire class of students. The appropriate next steps may vary widely, but could include any of the following: giving individual written feedback to students on their checkpoint responses, giving formative scores on concept rubrics, making groupings for the next lesson, deviating from the unit plan to select an appropriate task that will highlight a common misconception, planning brief 1:1 check-ins with students to follow up on misconceptions, and so on. The teacher is the one best positioned to take all relevant factors into account and know which next steps are appropriate.