Timed math facts tests

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

  1. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    May 13, 2012

    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.
     
  2. teachtopia

    teachtopia New Member

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    Sep 17, 2013

    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.
     
  3. DrBill

    DrBill Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2013

    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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  4. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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    Feb 17, 2017

     
  5. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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    Feb 17, 2017

    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.
     
  6. lmk1212

    lmk1212 New Member

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    Feb 17, 2017

     
  7. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Feb 17, 2017

    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.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 17, 2017

    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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  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2018

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

    I give timed math checks often.
     
  10. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2018

    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.
     
  11. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

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    Jun 29, 2018

    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.
     
  12. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    Jun 30, 2018

    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.
     
  13. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Jul 15, 2018

    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 :)
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2018

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

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jul 16, 2018

    I HATE timed math tests in the way that they are traditionally (and sadly) still are used. I used them more in my classroom as a "check your progress'' for students and me and only graded on Fridays after a week of practice. And I also tied them directly to the facts that I had taught. So for example if we're on the 2's the ENTIRE test would be just the 2's. And I would administer it as a pre-test / post- test kind of deal to see where they start and where they end. When I did them I also didn't REQUIRE that the students do them in order so that they wouldn't get stuck on one problem and waste their entire time wracking their brains. I had them ''scan'' the test beforehand and go in with a plan of attack; which problems will they focus on first? I'm not trying to stress them out or give them severe math anxiety (like I have) but I really wanted to see what did they know... and I constantly stressed that. That really helped a lot with their stress levels.
    Random order:
    0x2
    1x2
    2x2
    3x2
    4x2
    5x2
    6x2
    7x2
    8x2
    9x2
    10x2
    11x2
    12x2
    As I introduced more facts I would add more to the test and combine 2's,3's and 4's, for example.
    As for time, I used to put them on a timer for 3-5 minutes at the beginning but slowly brought it down to 1 after they got more proficient at their facts and how I ran my tests.
    You could begin the year by just having putting a stop watch on the clock and just let it run and they can see how long it takes them to complete the timed test so when each student finished, s/he can write how long it took to finish the test. And then you can alter the time / make goals as needed.
    But I always stressed that my timed tests were the facts that I had taught and we practiced EVERY DAY!
    And no I didn't level the tests or worry about the "next level'' until I gave the next test. My goal was to see their performance on that given math fact.

    By the way, talking about all this really makes me want to teach third grade again! I miss those little guys!
    :):heart:

    One thing I hated (and my friend did this) was post where students are with their math facts in the room so you could see who had mastered their 12's and who were still on the 2's. THAT was embarrassing and something I wouldn't do. She's my friend and I love her, but I really didn't agree with that. I really hate data walls like that. They make me cringe! :(
     
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  16. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jul 16, 2018

    That's how I presented mine! It was purely individualized and used for goal setting. I think it makes it more purposeful and meaningful for students when they realize it's really there to measure what they know so that they can use the results to improve.
    I saw huge gains when I tested my kids in the way that I did.
    :)
     
  17. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Jul 16, 2018

    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!
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2018

    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
     
  19. kp148

    kp148 New Member

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    Jul 16, 2018

    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!
     

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