Targeting Instruction & Saving Time!

We recently heard from Mrs. Droba about how teachers in her district are using Formative to help their elementary school students improve their math fact fluency! Here's what she had to say...

Mrs. Droba (3rd, 4th, 5th grade math)

Mrs. Droba (3rd, 4th, 5th grade math)

I teach third, fourth, and fifth grade mathematics. I heard about Formative from our Technology Instruction Coordinator. Last summer, she held training sessions on new apps that can be used for formative assessment. Formative was one of the featured apps.

In the past, our district completed paper versions of timed fact fluency assessments. This year, our team leaders, technology instruction coordinator, and math committee members worked to transfer these assessments to digital platforms. The second and third grade teachers are piloting the use of Formative with their students. The second grade students focus on addition and subtraction, while the third grade students focus on multiplication and division. Teachers are excited about using Formative, as it will provide them with the percentage of students that correctly answer each question. This will help teachers provide targeted instruction that will meet the needs of their students, while simultaneously reducing the amount of time spent grading.


For fact fluency, we've decided to look at which specific problems are giving our students the most trouble. Once these problems are identified, we are going to complete number talks to discuss multiple strategies for those difficult problems. 

We are using Formative to enhance instruction; however, we are trying to simultaneously achieve our district's technology integration goals. By using Formative, we are expediting the grading process, but enhancing the usefulness of the data obtained by the fact fluency assessments. In addition, students are able to practice important keyboarding and technology skills.

When using paper-based fact fluency assessments, teachers would have to grade approximately 50-60 timed tests. For our third grade teachers, these assessments were 40 questions each, and there were 6 per quarter. It would take about an hour per set to grade, before a teacher had time to input or analyze the data. This past summer our Team Leader suggested we try digital fact fluency assessments. Now that we're using Formative, the teachers only have to look at the total number correct and transfer the grade into their grade books. This process takes about five minutes. This helps teachers devote more time to data analysis, rather than manual grading.