M—What is passing for a Placement Probe?

What is passing for a Placement Probe?

If your next question is “What is passing for a Placement Probe?” you are definitely smart! The criteria are easy to remember if you keep in mind the point of the Placement Probes. For each Placement Probe you’re trying to see if a child is so good at those facts that he or she really has no need to even practice them. So they have to be really good and really fast! For example, you would not want to pass any student who skipped any problems in the Placement Probe—because that indicates they don’t know that fact easily. They really ought to have a bit more practice. And of course, if there are ANY errors in that set, the student does not pass the set and begins at the beginning of that set.

So, no skipping and no errors allowed. What else? Oh yeah, the students have to write answers as fast their little fingers can write. The students have to meet or beat their goal (established on the Writing Speed Test) for the Placement Probe.

What is the student’s goal for a Placement Probe? You have to go back to the Goal Sheet that you completed after the children did the Writing Speed Test. You found the number of boxes each child filled in during the test and you circled that row. Then you stapled the Goal Sheet into that child’s personal Rocket Math® folder. If this hasn’t happened yet, you’ll have to give the Writing Speed Test and complete the Goal Sheet before you can evaluate the Placement Probes.

Stop and Put in Goal Sheets

Now check the second column from the left on the Goal Sheet. You will find the 15-second Placement Probe goals, based on the student’s individual writing speed. On each child’s Goal Sheet, a certain row is circled or highlighted based on the number of boxes that child filled in during the Writing Speed Test. So the goal for that student’s Placement Probe is the number in the Placement Probe column in the row that is circled. Nice, huh? We think so too.

A student who meets his/her goal for a 15-second timing on each part (Sets A– F, G– L, etc.) passes that portion of the sequence. They are assumed to have memorized those facts fluently.

Even if you choose to start all students at Set A, you would still need to have students complete the Writing Speed Test. That information is still needed in order to set appropriate goals for the timings, but everyone could start instruction together on the same set.

Be aware of any students who do not pass a timing within the first week. Such students should either be moved back to a lower part of the sequence or have a re-test of their writing speed and their goals adjusted if warranted.

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