Student not progressing in Rocket Math Online Tutor? How to diagnose the problem. Part Two

If you have not, please read and implement Part One of this blog post.  You have seen that your student is completing 5 to 10 sessions a week and is working hard the whole time (answering a hundred or more problems each session).  But still the student isn’t making good progress passing several levels a week?  Let’s look deeper into the problems.

Find out if it is too difficult for this student

When students make three errors or three hesitations in a part or a phase of Rocket Math, we have them start over and repeat those problems. In the Review Progress tab, in the individual student rows is a column titled “Difficulty.”  The Online Tutor calculates the difficulty score  by dividing the number of times the student had to “start over” or repeat a part by the number of parts passed.  We expect that students will usually have to start over once or twice in a part, earning them a difficulty score of “1 or 2”  However, if they have to start over an average of 3 times per part, (a difficulty score over 3.0) then it may be too difficult for this student.

In the Review Progress tab, you can look up the difficulty score for any student.  Or as was done in the picture here, you can sort the difficulty column to see the students with the highest difficulty scores at the top.  Then you should watch the students who are having high difficulty scores while they are working to see what the problem is.

Problem 3: Problems using the keyboard quickly

Some students, especially those under 8 years old, are not as adept at using a computer keyboard as they need to be for the Online Tutor.  At the standard speed, answers must be entered within 3 seconds for a one-digit answer with only an additional second for subsequent digits. Some students cannot use two hands so they can quickly hit the answer and the enter key. Searching for and tapping separately with one hand both the numerical keys and the enter key will be too slow–they will have a lot of start-overs. If you watch such a student work, you will see that they know the right answer, but cannot get it input on the keyboard in time.  This will frustrate them and slow down progress.

Solution 3A: Have the student use a touch screen

Using a touch screen is much easier than a computer keyboard.  For children under 8 years old, or students who are having difficulty entering the answers they know getting them a touch screen device should solve the problem.  To test if this will solve the problem, put the free Rocket Math app on your phone, log in for the student and let them do a session on your phone.  If they do better (have fewer start-overs) then you know how to solve the problem.  Touch screens are becoming more common, so we’re hoping you can locate one for the student who is having trouble.

Solution 3B: Slow the Online Tutor answering speed

If a touch screen option doesn’t help–the student is still frustrated then you can adjust the speed required by the Online Tutor.  This will help an individual student who is having trouble keyboarding the answer quickly enough.  Here are the directions (and caveats) about changing the speed of answering.

Problem 4: Student is not ready for the Learning Track

Students who are not ready for the Learning Tracks will have a lot of difficulty progressing through the Online Tutor.  Students won’t succeed who have not learned the basic prerequisites, such as understanding the operation they are trying to memorize.  For example kindergarten students who don’t know how to add two groups of objects (by counting) aren’t ready for LT 1-Addition.  Before students understand addition and subtraction they should not be memorizing the facts.  Generally we want first and second graders in Learning Track 1-Addition followed by LT 2-Subtraction.  The same thing goes for multiplication.  Students need to understand what multiplication means and be able to “figure it out” before being asked to do LT 7-Multiplication. After this concept is learned in third or fourth grade is a good time to begin LT 7-Multiplication followed by LT 8-Division.

Solution 4: Stop Online Tutor and teach more basic math skills first

Students younger than these guidelines or who are cognitively delayed below these mental ages may not be successful with the Online Tutor learning tracks. If they aren’t successful, you’ll need for them to develop more basic math skills before using the Online Tutor.







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