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

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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

    EdEd Aficionado

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    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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    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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  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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!
     
  22. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    I did my graduate thesis on this, and discovered that timed tests CAN actually help students (albeit minimally), but only if they themselves are involved in charting their progress. I created a tracking sheet for my students when my school required timed tests. It had a place for the date, the test that student was on, their score that week, and whether they went up or down. Any time there was improvement, even if it was not a perfect score, was celebrated. When we stopped doing the timed tests, the kids actually missed them. They liked tracking their own progress. If you send me a private message, I will send you the tracking sheet I use. You can adapt it any way you like to fit your needs.
     
  23. teachtopia

    teachtopia New Member

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    I recommend JapanMath. They have free printable quizzes. I like the format and kids liking being able to obtain Japan Math Mastery when the do well on each quiz.
     
  24. DrBill

    DrBill Rookie

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    Hi,

    One of the best things you can do for math facts is go to ReflexMath.com and apply for one of their grants. All they do is Math Facts, and they are hands down, the best web based program for that.

    As far as grade level expectations, I would say that fluency means the same length of time it takes them to answer the question, ""What is your name?"" is what you are striving for.

    Good luck,

    Dr. Bill
    PD Corner
     
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  25. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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  26. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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    I use time tests also. But teachers need to be careful on how they are administered. I have a grandson who physically cannot write fast even though he knows his facts. He once asked me "why would they make you do a paper you can't finish?" To take the test, we do the paper for the specific time and he is "graded" o how many write out of how many he attempted rather than out of the 25 on the paper. He might get 19/19. This has eased his anxiety and hatred of timed tests. He is just practicing for a minuted rather than trying to beat a clock that he can't. He is a second grader.
     
  27. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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  28. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Realizing there is a valid difference of opinion, I question if timed tests actually teach or even measure the objective of memorized recall. The goal is permanent memory with automatic recall and use, but a timed test also focuses on how quickly a child can write, refocus, read, how precisely a child holds a pencil, whether a child avoids other avenues of responsive errors, and how attentively a child can concentrate even under pressure. It also measures a child's emotional stability. It's an unusual paper to complete; suddenly, rather than being told to take your time and check for accuracy and write neatly, the student is told to just get it done, (but then again, it must be legible). Because it is a "test" under stressful conditions of a timer, cortisol can interfere with new learning. Frankly, I question if a timed test is more of a psychomotor exercise rather than an arithmetic exercise.

    When I was in 10th grade, my driver's ed instructor certainly was teaching automatic responses in driving, but I dare say he didn't have us drive around the block at 100 MPH.

    If a student automatically recalls facts, s/he will naturally use them with an adequate and efficient speed. This speed will vary among individual students. In real life, does it truly matter if a person is more comfortable taking a couple extra seconds to calculate?

    Perhaps a better way to memorize is still the old fashioned way. Take a few facts at a time. Rather than expensive store bought flashcards, have the students create their own with index cards; they'll remember better what they create. Explain and demonstrate how to memorize so that the fact can be recalled without fingers or counting in the head. Drill with partners, then put the facts away a day or two and see if they are still memorized. This helps "insulate" the newly developed electrical pathways in the brain. Once the few facts are mastered, move on to others. In the meantime, delay the practice of the mastered facts for about a week and recheck again, to further insulate the pathways; (mistakes in recall are good, not bad--correcting such recall errors is how the brain strengthens pathways of memorized information, and the locale memory from the extra practice adds more pathways for further recall strength). At the same time, these facts should be connected with realistic applications. Students, especially with today's typical math books, mis-learn that arithmetic facts are one thing and application (often as a token story problem at the end of a page) is another separate thing. I find it especially useful to have students act out applications to facts using either manipulatives or pretend invisible objects.
     
  29. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Interesting comments Obadiah, and valid in terms of whether the timed assessments evaluates skills taught in either instructional conditions or real-world conditions.

    A few thoughts:

    1) When giving instructions for a timed assessment (and assessments in general), I'd try to not make things really high-stakes and add to pressure
    2) If I have a sense that my timed assessment doesn't really represent the student's actual mastery of material, I might give a follow up assessment in an un-timed format, then compare. I would try to get a sense of why there was a difference in performance - you bring up a number of reasons why performance may change across conditions. I would then be sure to communicate this difference in performance when communicating grades, reports, etc. I would also try to remediate the issue causing the lower levels of performance in the test/timed condition
    3) Timed conditions aren't irrelevant - while mastery of facts is okay, fluent math computation is a basic building block of higher level math. Taking an excessively long time to compute addition, for example, can impact later performance. Similarly, while fluency of math facts, in particular, may not have be of huge importance, fluency with reasoning, etc., in general is important in real-world applications. There are plenty of jobs that you need to be able to work not only accurately, but quickly.

    So, I'm not totally disagreeing with you, and I can certainly see situations when moving beyond the timed condition would be important. However, I don't see timed tests as fundamentally flawed or irrelevant.
     
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  30. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Installing apps on the students ipads relating to timed math facts/math drills.

    I give timed math checks often.
     
  31. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    XtraMath is a good website, but creating the student accounts/managing the accounts is a bit of a hassle. It has given me a lot of frustration in past years.
    While I would like to use it, something usually goes wrong and results in something bizarre/annoying.
     
  32. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    I actually did my master's thesis on this topic several years ago. While just giving facts tests every week does not promote retention, if you have some way for students to record their own progress, it increases motivation for them, and usually helps with retention. Most schools have a version of this where students who pass a level get a sticker on a chart or something. The problem with this is that they only get the reward if they get 100%. In order to keep motivation going, try to have a chart in their notebook, binder, or folder where they can record their progress. For example, if they're working on addition facts 0-5, and last week they scored 75% but this week they score 87%, it wouldn't go down as "passing" but certainly shows improvement. Definitely reward them when they pass a level, but let them see that they're getting closer as well. It's not a prefect solution, but if you have to do the tests anyway, you might as well make them as valuable as you can.
     
  33. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I teach special education. I started using the timed math tests when I found that my incoming 7th graders did not know their multiplication facts. It made moving on in other skills more difficult. I used a time sheet that had 100 problems. I figured that 2 minutes 30 seconds was a good time for them. The student would stay on that level until they got 100/100. Any students that needed more time or less on a page I did that in conference with that student. We plotted where they were but just no big deal about the score. It was all about an individual and how they were doing. We talked that the purpose of doing the timed test was to just get better at doing the math facts. I have had students for 4 years and most students were very good at math facts and moved onto something else. I have had students tell me that it made a big difference to them and made math easier.
     
  34. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Hello everyone! I am currently doing an Ethnography for my English class and am a future elementary school teacher. If anyone would be willing to allow me to interview them (a few quick questions over email) for my paper just about your likes and dislikes of this forum and how often you use/participate in it that would be amazing! Please private message me as soon as you can! Thank you :)
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Hi kp. You don’t have enough posts to allow pms. Could you post your questions here?
     
  36. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    mathmagic likes this.
  37. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  38. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Yes! Thank you so much, I couldn't figure out how to make pms work!
    1. How long have you been a user on this forum?
    2. Do you teach second grade? If so, how long have you taught?
    3. What is your favorite part of this forum? Why?
    4. Have you ever had or seen any negative interactions on this forum?
    5. What positive benefits do you feel you've gotten from using this forum?
    6. Would you recommend this to other teachers? Why?
    7. Are there any common habits people have on this site? Or, is there anything unique about this forum in particular?
    Thank you so much for your time. If you can't respond to all the questions thats okay!
     
  39. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    1. How long have you been a user on this forum? 17 years. Wow
    2. Do you teach second grade? If so, how long have you taught? I taught grade 2 for 9 years. Currently in third
    3. What is your favorite part of this forum? Why?I like the discourse and insight into the experiences of otger educational professionals
    4. Have you ever had or seen any negative interactions on this forum?yes
    5. What positive benefits do you feel you've gotten from using this forum? Answers to questions, support, insight
    6. Would you recommend this to other teachers? Why? Yes. Its a user friendly forum which addresses many common issues
    7. Are there any common habits people have on this site? Or, is there anything unique about this forum in particular? There are some who have particular expertise areas who can be counted on to address questions in those areas. Newbies tend to need support in classroom mgt. Others seem to have thoughts on a variety of topics. There are members at all points in their careers, nationwide and some international. One ‘gets to know’ some members by interacting regularly.

    Some members clearly need more support than can be provided here :0. LOL
     
  40. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Thank you so much for the timely response, you were very helpful! I wish you the best of luck with all your future years in teaching!
     
  41. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Thank you for all the great resources listed here! I'm a student teacher and have noticed most all the schools where I've done field hours do timed math fact quizzes.
     

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