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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>Ds is in his first year of lower el. in a public "Montessori."  They do timed math tests every week.  Once they are able to finish a certain percentage of the 100 addition problems in 5 minutes, they will go onto subraction, then multiplication...  He's getting faster on his retrieval, but it's not quick yet, and he often counts in his head to get to the answer (I don't have a problem with this, personally, but is slows him on the timed tests).  Anyway, he talks about friends who are on their subtraction or even multiplication tests, and he's still under 50/100 in 5 minutes on addition through 18 (some of this is his fine motor).  </p>
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<p>So is this indicative of needing more time doing simple addition works to help him see the relationships more concretely and more frequently, or is it a matter of drill and practice at this point?  I don't want him to stagnate or get frustrated.</p>
 

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<p>I think it is a matter of drill and practice.  My now fifth grader ds was never able to demonstrate writing the answers on timed facts.  Oral adminstration by his teacher at some point helped stop the frustration. The teacher would always have him do the test twice written and then administer oral.  Tests were given 3 times a week.  They moved to the next test with 100%.</p>
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<p>We would do simple drills 4 or 5 minutes each time we would get in the car.  It was a game and I definitely tried to keep it unstressful.  I will say, however, that kids are so very different and math fact tests are always a bust.  Some of their brains are wired differently and being successful with math facts is not indicative of math strengths.  My 5th graders twin sister was one that wizzed through passing most others in her class.  She is strong in math but her brother is stronger. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>I'll start practicing with him more at home.  You're right - I don't think it's necessarily indicative of math ability.  I do think he "gets" math and I think he'll be just fine in it.  Once I have a clearer idea of his automaticity, I will know how much the fine motor is impacting his timed tests.   He always does what he can in the 5 minutes, and after she counts them, he goes back and finishes all of the problems on his own.  And they are always right, but I dont' know how long it takes him.</p>
 

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<p>My husband, who is from France and is incidentally very good in math, said that he remembers having to memorize his multiplication tables, but that he does not think timed math tests were ever required there.  I remember taking them.  What's the deal with timed math tests?  I'm guessing that Montessori lets the concepts absorb over time, rather than in a forced memorization context, but I could be wrong.  Is the research these days showing that being able to do the math facts faster leads to better results?  The thing is, ds understands math.  He can do it.  The retrieval is slower than the school wants, though.</p>
 

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<p>Recognizing that not all students perform well on timed tests regardless of math ability, the benefit I see to practicing for them is the recognition that they do need to be learned and that repetition of some form is an important part to the learning.  Perhaps there is another way for individual who has mastered but does not finish to move on such as oral administration of the test or trusting the judgement of the teacher to move the student forward knowing the student knows their math facts just not in a rapid fire manner.  I think if it is handled with respect to the student and how they best learn, the modified version of the timed test will be successful for most.  Of course it depends on a capable teacher fully aware of where their students are.  This isn't always so easy given the many many different ways kids learn and are successful.</p>
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<p>My 3rd grader detests timed tests, studying the multiplication/division are miserable.  Instead she has mastered the quickest skip counting/subtracting I have ever seen.  At least I know she understands the concept thanks to the Montessori math materials she has seen to date. </p>
 
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