Thursday, November 16, 2006

6 x 7, round two 

This is post #2 of four related to math basics. As stated in my previous post, my frustration with standardized test results for math drove me to create a way for the students to learn the facts without the existing standard drills.

Students' reaction to these "non-graded" timed tests was different than I had expected. My students actually wanted more of them. For some reason, they decided that these timed tests meant they weren't doing any "real" school work. I went along with this mind set.

Once it became obvious that their knowldege of multiplication facts had improved, I added timed tests for subtraction facts. This broke the habit of counting on their fingers. Next I added division facts and finally developed a timed test comprised of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

The previous post documented the 25 point improvement in the class average math score over six to seven months. There were other benefits.

Overall, every student gained confidence in their ability to do math. They learned to enjoy it. They made fewer mistakes, therefore, their frustration level declined substantially. And, when they made a mistake, I marked it as "fact" or "process". If it was a "factual" error, they had to correct it because no one can learn a fact for someone else. If it was a "process" error, we reviewed the process together.