Timed math facts tests

Discussion in 'Second Grade' started by Curiouscat, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Apr 21, 2012

    Ok, I know research shows timed math fact tests do not help students memorize their facts, but my school is insisting we do timed tests. So, I would like to hear from others who do timed tests. How many facts in how many minutes is considered at grade level expectation? Do you have different levels of difficulty they have to progress through? Any advice on how to keep the whole process simple and not too time consuming? Thank you!!
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 21, 2012

    www.themathworksheetsite.com has '5 minute drills'. I found that my kids who knew their facts well could finish in about 8 minutes...the ones who REALLY knew their facts could do in less than 5...kids who took longer than ten minutes were typically my strugglers. I agree the drills themselves don't help kids memorize facts, but my rationale was that it got kids accustomed to working within a time constraint and was a reflection of FLUENCY with math facts. I would administer several over the course of a month and send home with a note to parents that fluency and accuracy with the basic facts was crucial as we moved on to more complex math concepts.
     
  4. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2012

    We've had a lot of workshops this year on how to incorporate "math facts" into our day, through games and activities and not just timed tests. However, I do rocket math twice a week in addition to the games and activities. We've started everyone a level a addition and each time they got all problems finished and correct in 2 minutes (40 problems) they move on. I have several on subtraction levels (finished addition) and more almost there. We do it twice a week (Tues and Fri).
     
  5. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2012

    Thanks for the site, czacza! I like it. I also love www.mathfactcafe.com too. :)
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2012

    I'm going to check out those sites as well. This is something that the other first grade teacher and I have been struggling with. We have limited time to focus on math facts themselves, and it's obvious they are not getting them memorized (many of the students, anyway). One thing that I have been doing is using xtramath.org so they can work on their facts all the time, even if it's not the current math concept with are working on. As we know, their knowing their math facts helps them in all areas of math. This has helped a bit, although I feel like they still need more opportunities to work on their facts.
     
  7. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2012

    Oooh...that looks cool, tamij! How do you like the progress reports? How often do you do it? I have 2 student computers in the room, so they could work on them a bit during the week.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2012

    I only have 1 computer, and it's one I have to share with the students. But, I typically have them use it during centers time. I will call one at a time to use it. This means that on an average day, only about 3-4 students have time to use it. I wish it could be more, but that's all I can fit in for right now.

    I love the reports and seeing how they are progressing. Do you use it as well?
     
  9. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Apr 23, 2012

    I don't use it yet, but I'm registering so I can start! :)
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2012

    Curiouscat, in terms of "grade level expectations," I would suggest you collect "local norms" when figuring out how many are average. There are published benchmarks out there with programs such as Aimsweb that deal with "digits correct per minute," but you may not have access to those, and many of those published norms are with assessments that are scripted and very specific, and may be different from your timed test.

    Here's a rough and dirty way to collect "local norms" - identify kids who - according to your other assessments - successfully meet your expectations, but do not considerably exceed them. In other words, let's say you consider a 90 to be a met expectation. Let's also say you have 2 kids who consistently get 100s on all math fact timed tests. Take all of the kids who score an average of 87-98, and calculate their average number of correct math problems per timed test you conduct. That score then becomes your benchmark. All of this, of course, assumes that you don't have a significantly under or overachieving class where 90 represents either a significantly higher or lower than average mean. In other words, if you have a group that's really struggling, and a 90 is probably still well-below grade level, a 90 may not mean much. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

    In terms of levels of difficulty, there are a couple of ways to go. You can give very specific tests where only certain skills are represented (e.g., 2 digit by 1 digit multiplication), or you can give broad tests that cover levels of difficulty spanning an entire year. Typically, both are ideal, though you'd want to do the broad tests less frequently. So, perhaps every week you have a timed test with skills representing the current week's instruction and skills covered of the past 4 weeks. Then, every month (or 2 months, or quarter), you give a broader test that assesses each child's general progress through your entire year's curriculum.

    If your schools uses any form of curriculum-based assessment such as AIMSweb, most of this is already done. If you're starting from scratch, there are some good resources out there. I'd just may sure you are consistent with your test design if you plan on using the data to evaluate student progress. So, you wouldn't want to compare a student's progress on weekly timed tests, but some tests were longer, some had more questions, etc.
     
  11. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2012

    I remember doing flashcards in a certain time. My teacher had a chart with all of us on it and we were each race cars and she'd move us as we went along!!! ( I know the horror of seeing that you might be behind some of your peers....;) )

    I remember practicing with my neighbor and we'd do timed test of multiplication like 2-3 times a week in the summer before 4th grade.

    She went into 4th grade where they did timed test and she was the 2nd fastest and could do her math and division with much more ease. She even told me Thank you for working so hard on that stuff in the summer. Her teacher even said she was very happy that she worked hard on her math & I had her practice her cursive and her teacher told me she had the best cursive in her class!!! It was a really confidence booster for my neighbor!!!
     
  12. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2012

  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2012

    I have two student computers, and my kiddos do xtramath during their morning work time. They don't always all get to go, but most of them do. We started in November, and most of my kiddos made it through addition and subtraction before we all moved on to multiplication.

    I use this website: http://softschools.com/math/worksheets/ to generate practice sheets when needed, especially when we do our multiplication sundae challenge. I love that you can customize it--so if you're working on +9, you can make a whole sheet of just those. I've also used it to make modified sheets for my kiddos who need fewer facts.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2012

    My district has report card benchmarks that require students to know addition and subtraction facts "with speed an accuracy" to 18. We have a few common assessments and students are given 6 seconds per problem. Most of my students do not score well on the subtraction test.

    I do not work on these skills very much in the classroom...Of course, we are always adding and subtracting, but I rarely practice timing them. There are a few games that we play once and a while, and I encourage parents to practice at home. I also have some links posted on my classroom website. (If you would like the link to my classroom website, just send me a PM. :) )

    I LOVE Xtra Math, too! I have 2 students at a time use it during Daily 5 time. It is SO easy to use, and it's really motivating for my students. They like seeing their progress.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Apr 29, 2012

    The one thing I do like about timed tests is that kids start to think in their heads instead of drawings or fingers.

    Also need to keep in mind that some kids simply cannot write as fast as others even when they know the answers.

    I start the year with timed tests only for the family of...
    2+1=3
    1+2=3
    3-1-2
    3-2=1

    Then I move on to the 4+1=5 family but leave the 2+1=3 family mixed in. then 5 +1, 6+1, 7+1, 8+1, 9+1, then anything plus zero.

    September +1
    October +2
    November +3
    December +4
    January +5
    Feb +6
    Mar +7
    Apr +8
    May +9

    It works for me for 8 of 10 students.
     
  16. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Apr 29, 2012

    In second grade at our school we have the kids work 50 problems in 2 1/2 minutes. They have to get a score of 90% or higher twice in a row to be a math facts master =)
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Do you also teach subtraction and both operations with double digits with and with out regrouping? When I taught second (for 8 years!), I wanted kids fluent with the 'basic facts' by January/February.
     
  18. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I'm loving xtra math!! :)
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Isn't it amazing?! For some reason, my students are really motivated by the paper certificate I print off of the computer when they master their facts (only 2 have so far).
     
  20. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    May 7, 2012

    Yes, and although I would like them fluent in math facts eariler, it has not been a realistic expectation for my students.
     
  21. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    May 10, 2012

    Mine love them, too! I have 3 kiddos who have mastered all four operations and have moved on to doing them with a 2-second timer. The majority are at 80% or higher mastery for x facts, with only a few struggling students around 50%. I can't wait to start using it at the beginning of the year next year!
     

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