Skipping, when is it OK?

We are not talking about this kind of skipping, but she is cute!

A customer asks:

One more question, if I may . . . (I did not see this answer in the manual or I was reading so fast I missed it!)

When doing the 1 minute or 2 minute tests, do the students have to do the problems in order? We have differing opinions on this, too! Some of us tell the students if they are stuck on one, don’t spend too much time and go on to the next. Others require that they do each problem in order as written. We are just trying to be consistent throughout all grade levels 1-4. Thanks so much for your thoughts and rationale.

Dr. Don’s answer:

A very good question. The answers are in the manual but it is sometimes hard to remember the information until you understand the rationale. So of course I am going to give it to you! The 1 minute daily test and the 2 minute timing are very different kinds of tests and so the rules are different.

The 1 minute daily test is a test of mastery–to see if the students have completely mastered all the facts up through that Set. So there should be no errors and nothing skipped. Some schools insist on left to right answering so that it is clear there was no skipping. If a student even wants to skip an item on the daily test–then clearly the student does NOT know all the facts to the level and should not pass. Hopefully clear.

On the other hand, the 2 minute timing, done once every week or two, is a progress measure (can you tell I’ve taught assessment classes?) to see if growth is occurring. So the test presents ALL the problems in the operation and asks whether the student can answer more of them in 2 minutes than he/she answered last week or the week before. We know there are items on the 2 minute timing that students don’t know to mastery. To answer the most possible in 2 minutes they should skip the ones they cannot remember and answer all the ones they know instantly. So it is not only OK to skip on the 2 minute timing, it’s a good idea.  As they make progress they will find more and more items they can answer instantly and so the number answered in 2 minutes will go up. The graph will show that progress–which is the outcome we want to see.
In short, no errors and no skipping on the daily one minute test. The 2 minute test we just count how many are correctly answered on the page and hope it goes up–and skipping is fine.

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