I—Why do I have to give a Writing Speed Test? and How do I give it?

Why do I have to give a Writing Speed Test?

I have found that many children are not able to write the answers to 40 problems in one minute. They can orally say the answers to that many problems, but they can’t write that fast. In grades one and two it may be nothing more than an “inexperienced little hands” problem. In other grades handwriting speed is dependent on other variables. When students learn their facts, but cannot pass a test, due to slow writing, I see much weeping, gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. (And that’s just the teacher.) Suffice it to say, it’s not a pretty sight. So you want to establish goals for each student that is no faster than the student can write. To do that you have to find out how fast each student can write. That’s why you have to give the Writing Speed Test.

How do I give the Writing Speed Test?

Writing Speed TestYou might want to find a copy of the Writing Speed Test to look at while reading this section. Click the link or it is also located in the filing cabinet in the Forms and Information Drawer in the folder “Forms for every student.” Go ahead, find it and print it out. I’ll wait for you. (I am drumming my fingers on my desk, but patiently.) Ready? OK.

The children are going to write in each box the number they see up in the corner of the box. They look at the number and write it. That’s just how fast they should be with the math facts — just look at the fact and write the answer without hesitation. However many boxes they can write the numbers for in one minute determines the number of problems they can be expected to write the answers for in one minute. This sets their goal. Whew! That was hard to write! We are OK. Keep reading.

When you give the test, make sure all students are situated with their papers out, names on them and their pencil at the ready. Tell students to hold their pencil up (yes, in the air!) when they are ready. (This is a really cool technique to use for all timings. If students are holding their pencils at the ready and in the air, nobody can be cheating by starting early. Also, in this way you can look out over the masses and easily tell when everyone is set and ready to go.) The directions for the Writing Speed Test are on the test sheet. Read these aloud. Do not allow any students to start ahead of time as this will invalidate their score. Have the students write in the boxes as fast as they can for one minute. Then they can put the tests back into their folders, and turn in their folders. You will be taking the information from the test and putting it onto the Goal Sheet.

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