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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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