Teacher2Teacher Q&A #21748

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Use of Timed Tests for Basic Facts

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From: ---
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: Aug 31, 2013 at 04:27:24
Subject: Use of Timed Tests for Basic Facts

Hello! Am wondering about the latest research vis-a-vis timed tables testing (+,-, x and รท). I do not teach in an area that mandates standardized testing. My Grade 3 students and I engage in weekly "number talks" (Sherry Parish) and the overall environment of math class is conceptual in nature, always! In the past, I've done some timed testing, 3x/week (30 questions, 3 minutes, for duration of school year), a total of 9 minutes versus the 4 hours of conceptual math time spent/week. I have read some evidence (on Internet) put forth by Jo Boaler that timed tests cause math anxiety. Then, I also read some evidence (on Internet) that discounted Boaler's points. Not sure what to make of either camp, I only took a very brief look. Ultimately, I am wondering if timed tests in an environment that stresses and builds on conceptual, "ok"? I've found that teaching for understanding using something like: 7+3 = 6+4 is very valuable. Discussing how to solve 9+5 by showcasing how 10+5-1 is more efficient, I get it. Improving number sense and teaching for flexibility improves conceptual understanding.. we do this. Though, I have also seen that when we get to longer, more complex problem solving, sitting there and still using fingers for 3+7... well, that cause challenges too. Will timed tests help lessen the chance of the 3+7 using-fingers scenario? What does the literature say??

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