kitchen table math, the sequel: need for speed, part 2

Saturday, July 14, 2007

need for speed, part 2

Precision Teaching Results

Perhaps the most widely cited demonstration of this technology was the Precision Teaching Project in the Great Falls, Montana school district, accepted by the Office of Education Joint Dissemination Review Panel as an exemplary educational model for both regular and special education (Beck, 1979). Teachers engaged elementary school students in 20 to 30 minutes per day of timed practice, charting, and decision-making in a range of basic skills over a period of four years. The results were i
mprovements between 19 and 44 percentile points on subtests of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, as compared with children in control group classrooms elsewhere in the same school district. These are exceptionally large improvements with a comparatively small expenditure of time and effort. In addition, original copies of the materials used for these practice and measurement sessions were available at very low cost from the Precision Teaching Project for unlimited dupilcation by teachers.

One series of classroom studies (Binder, 1985) showed that simply by adding brief, timed practice periods to the class day, teachers can improve students' performance levels and learning rates. Such explicitly timed practice, independent of any other instructional intervention, may be among the most cost-effective educational methods available. Other less formal Precision Teaching results have shown that children can master entire years of curriculum in a few months, and can learn advanced skills far earlier than usually taught in public schools.

We're going to be doing fast drills every day from now on in.

We've already started. Some of the precision teaching websites talk about 10-second drills.

Sounds good to me.

bonus points: you can talk a middle schooler into doing 10 seconds of FOIL problems pretty easily.


Ms. Longhorn said...

I NEVER understood why timed practice is frowned upon... good post! I'm going to be more vigilant about taking a minute each day just to go over basics.. it's amazing how much they need it!

Catherine Johnson said...

Let me tell you, my eyes have been opened --- this is one of those situations where in theory I already "knew" this.

How long did I spend doing KUMON sheets (myself, I mean!)

"speed and accuracy" - that was the KUMON motto

But I just hadn't focused on the essential feature of practice, which is working up to fluency, not just mastery defined as percent correct

I want to get my hands on that one-minute-a-day study.

I see you're a middle school math teacher!

Let us know what happens!

Catherine Johnson said...

I see you have a post on boys & male teachers - did you see the Ed Next study???