Three important test-taking strategies that Rocket Math will turn into habits.
Students really need perseverance to get through today’s tests. You want your students to really work hard and do their best! To have that kind of perseverance students need to KNOW that it pays off. Sticking with learning and testing over and over until they win is a central lesson of Rocket Math’s daily practice and tests. Most days, most students do NOT pass the One-Minute Daily Test. They have to practice some more and try again the next day. If they try hard and do their best on each day’s test, eventually they do pass. This teaches perseverance like nothing else in the curriculum!
Students doing Rocket Math learn that to be successful you have to work as fast as you can. Their individualized goals require that they write answers as fast as they can write. Students who pause to look at the clock or look around the room during the one-minute test simply do not pass. This may be the only time of the day that students experience the need to work quickly and they get immediate feedback based on whether or not they do work quickly–and it is something they care about! So they are motivated to work quickly. It is important for students to have that kind of experience if they are to learn the general rule that you are supposed to work as fast as you can when taking a test.
Have you ever watched a student waste valuable time working on a test item you knew the student wouldn’t be able to answer? Nothing more painful. Students need to learn to skip the items to which they don’t know the answer readily. How are they going to learn that without practice? Rocket Math has a progress-monitoring component–a weekly 2-minute timing you can see to the right. These weekly tests sample all the facts in the operation, including ones they haven’t memorized yet. Therefore the strategy they should use is to skip the ones they don’t know yet, so as to answer quickly all the ones they do know. If you explain this to the students, and they can develop this strategy while taking these weekly tests.
If you aren’t sure that your implementation is developing these habits please feel free to download the Teacher Directions. If you have a school wide implementation of Rocket Math be sure you have the Administrator and Coach Handbook.