Trying to use the app to support the paper-and-pencil Rocket Math

Customers would like to be able to use the app to help their child pass a certain level in the Rocket Math paper-and-pencil program at school. They are thinking that if their child is on Set L in the paper-and-pencil version at school, they should be able to set up their child to practice Set L in the app, which will help them pass the same level at school.

Actually the program does not work that way. Instead the Rocket Math app has everyone progress through the levels in order, starting at A and only gradually working their way up to Level L. Why isn’t it possible to just focus on Set L in the app? We could have set the app up that way. Why didn’t we? Answer: Because it wouldn’t help!

The test in the paper-and-pencil version of Set L is MOSTLY about problems from sets A through K. The test on Set L is a random mixture of all the problems learned in sets A through K. See the picture? The new facts in Set L (7×9 and 9×7) only appear five times in the test of 56 facts. But, those facts do show up 16 times in the practice on Set L (around the outside). That practice is how the new facts are learned.

Students can bring home the worksheet from Set L. Each day they don’t pass they should bring the used worksheet home for homework. They should practice with the most recently introduced facts around the outside of the test. They can even practice reading and answering all the facts on the test if they like. Orally practicing the facts in the test on Set L is probably the best way to focus practice for passing the paper-and-pencil test.

The Rocket Math app randomly selects problems from the set of facts that should be known because they have already been learned. Practice within the app will never be the same two times in a row, but it will be sampling of the right problems. Practicing on the app teaching the facts and adds to student’s knowledge. It is good for them, but it can’t guarantee they will pass the paper-and-pencil test the next day.

Students should NOT be expected to “pass” a set of facts in the paper-and-pencil Rocket Math the first day or two of practice. It is better if they don’t. They should spend three or four days practicing before they get fast enough to pass. Spending time practicing is the best way to cement in their learning. The goal is that students can remember those facts for life. If they practice on the app and practice at school, the end result will be that they know the facts better for the rest of their lives. The more time students spend practicing math facts, the better off they will be. That is FAR more important than getting through Rocket Math quickly.

That being said, after going once through the levels A through Z of the Rocket Math app (or the paper-and-pencil version), there is nothing wrong with going through it again if they have the time and the willingness.

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