The sooner you provide extra help the easier it will be to catch them up.

How can you know when students need help to meet expectations? Use the graph above, which is available from the Educator’s Resources page or here: One Semester Aimline. It is also available in the basic subscription site, Forms and Information Drawer as an optional form. It is an “aimline” for finishing an operation (Sets A-Z) in one semester. Schools that don’t start Rocket Math in first grade need students to finish addition in the first semester of 2nd grade and subtraction in the second semester. This means that students who get stuck on a level for even a week need to be helped.

If you indicate on this graph the week in which the student finishes each set in Rocket Math you can tell if the student is making enough progress, or if he/she needs to be getting extra practice sessions each day. If the student is working on a set above the line of gray boxes or on the line then progress is adequate–they are on track to finish the operation by the end of 18 weeks of the semester. But if the student is working on a set that is below the line that means he/she needs intervention.

In the example above the student whose progress is shown in red is above the aimline. That student has been passing at a rate that means he or she will finish the operation by completing Level Z by the end of the semester. That student does not need any extra intervention. In the example above the student in blue is falling behind. By the fourth week that student has only passed Level C and so he needs to have extra help.

The first step would be to ensure this student has a good partner and is practicing the right way. Sometimes students don’t stay on task or do not listen and correct their partner. If hesitations are allowed (while the student figures out the answer) and not corrected the student will not improve. Fix the practice in class first and see if the rate of passing improves and the student starts to get up to the aimline.

The second step is to include this student in a group of students who get a second practice session each day. They would work in pairs and do another Rocket Math session each day. Whether or not they take tests is unimportant. What is important is that they do the oral practice with a partner who corrects their hesitations as well as their errors. This could be done by a Title One teacher or assistant or a special education teacher or assistant. It should only take ten minutes.

Another step is to involve parents if that’s possible. Another practice session (or two) at home each evening would make a big difference. Parents will need to know how to correct hesitations, but there’s a parent letter in the Forms and Information drawer for that. Also note that siblings can do this practice as well, as long as they have an answer key.

You will be pleasantly surprised at how an extra few minutes a day of good quality practice can help students progress much faster at Rocket Math. The sooner you intervene, the easier it will be for the student to catch up.

NOTE: There is an aimline for finishing one operation in a year. It is also in the Forms and Information drawer and on the Educator’s Resources page of our website. If you follow recommendations and do addition in first grade, subtraction in second, and multiplication in third you can use that aimline. It won’t require intervening on so many students.