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Does research show that student achievement increases from timed daily drill?

No, but students can memorize math facts by practicing a limited set of problems with a partner who corrects all errors and hesitations.
 Dr. Don's HINTS AND TIPS  January 11, 2016Click here for archived back issues
A teacher writes:
Could you point me toward some research showing student achievement increases from timed daily drills. My superintendent is a hard sell and will ask me to prove the strategy works from independent research.

Dr. Don answers:
Your superintendent is right to be skeptical. Student achievement does NOT increase from timed daily "drills." The typical "mad minutes" program is generally worthless in improving student knowledge of math facts.

Students can memorize math facts by practicing a limited set of problems with a partner who corrects all errors and hesitations. In Rocket Math students practice with a partner and become fluent with only two facts and their reverses at a time. They take a one-minute test to see if they have learned those facts to the level of fluency. Only then, once they have learned those fluently, are two more facts added on the next sheet. [Here is a 3-minute video that explains how practice works in more detail.]

Once students finish learning the facts in an operation you can measure that by giving them a test of all the facts in that operation and they will be able to answer far more facts in a timed test than students who have to figure out and count on their fingers to answer those facts.

Common Core Says:  General achievement in math is improved by ready knowledge of math facts to the extent that one measures students' ability to do computation. The Common Core includes fact knowledge in these two standards:

CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.B.2 Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.C.7 Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

Try it out first.  I would recommend a test of Rocket Math within a few classrooms, compared to an equal number of classrooms that don't use Rocket Math. Measure each class by means of the two-minute timings of all the facts in the operation and see if there is a large difference (over time) between the students who learn using Rocket Math and the students who continue to do whatever the district is doing now. Be sure that the same ten-minutes a day is used to study math facts in both groups.

Here is my offer from my "Studies and Results" page of my website:

If you conduct research comparing Rocket Math to some other method of practicing math facts and share your results- I will refund half of the purchase price of the curriculum.
If you find some other method is more effective, I will refund 100% of your purchase price.

I am certain it is the best math facts practice curriculum available but I have to wait for more researchers independent of me to confirm that fact.
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Get some new ideas of ways to support and motivate math fact learning!

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 Student recognition Positive recognition for Rocket Math accomplishments helps students build self-esteem, develop intrinsic motivation, learn to study, and get smart! Please share what you do to recognize student accomplishments!
Our school uses
Rocket Math.

In our building each level has it's own reward. If the child passes the letter, they get to stand on their chair and the class gives them a chair cheer (really, REALLY loud screams, cheers, banging on the desks, what ever makes a loud noise!) When  a child passes addition, they get to stand on their own desk and get their picture taken for the Wall of Fame. If they pass Subtraction they stand on my desk.   If they pass Multiplication, they stand on a roof outside my room. All the kids who are at recess come up and cheer them on. If they pass Division, they stand on this roof and spray them with silly string!

 Rocket Math Video Clip
What is Rocket Math? (in 3 minutes!)

It is hard to be succinct, but here's a short explanation of Rocket Math.
Thank you for your interest in Rocket Math.  I created it to help students be more successful, gain confidence and enjoy math more.  Let me know how else I can help.  Feel free to call me with any questions you have or send me an email to don@rocketmath.com

Sincerely,
Dr. Don
Rocket Math
phone (888) 488-4854
 Rocket Math  Addition App Available in the  and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.
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 Rocket Math Multiplication App Available in the and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.