If your experience in teaching Algebra 1 is anything like mine, you'll start off the semester with kids with a wide variety of backgrounds: some will come well-prepared, others less so.
I like to start off with a brief, 20-minute diagnostic test to see where they are. I grade it based on effort, and I explain to the students that it helps inform me about how to move forward with them this semester.
I have them write directly on it.
Please download the pdf preview file first, so you can see exactly what's included; the product file is a word document, which you may personalize for your students.