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Which grade are fact timed tests done?


Junior Member
I teach second grade and I do plus timed test in the first half of the school year and subtraction timed test in the second half of the year. Subtraction is harder for most of the kids and they go slower with these facts. I just feel that kids could use more time with their subtraction facts. The third grade teacher does not feel she should be doing plus/minus timed tests. Just wondering when timed test are done in your schools.


Full Member
timed tests

We do timed tests all year in second grade. We do addition and subtraction all year. But, you had a good idea about doing half the year and half the year. I will have to think about that.
Our third grade teachers won't do timed tests either.


Senior Member
Timed Tests

We start in first grade around week 9. We give 30 addition facts and set a time of about 3 minutes. We start with really easy ones--such as adding 0 or 1 to a number. We progressively give harder ones according to the addition strategies we have taught.


Senior Member
this gets my blood boiling

I hope I don't ruffle any feathers, but I guess I probably will. I teach first grade and don't do timed tests. I think it is too much pressure and these kiddos have just recently learned to write their numbers correctly...actually some are still working on that! To have them not only speed through the work, but expect them to write their numerals quickly is just too much and inappropriate in my opinion. I work with 2 other first grade teachers who think it's fine and do them.

As far as second grade goes, I still think they are too young. I completely agree that fluency is important, but there are other ways to encourage fluency. I have flash cards for around the world and have a pack for adding using one as one of the addends, another pack using 2 as one of the addends, etc... We play around the world, but if I see a few kids getting frustrated with the intensity of the competition, I won't do it! I also encourage parents to practice facts at home to build fluency. I think we need to wait until fourth or fifth grade to do any timed tests....are they really helping?


Senior Member
fast facts

I teach 2nd grade and we practice fast facts everyday at the beginning of our math lesson. We have math after our morning recess, so as the students come into the classroom and settle down, we do a 3 or 4 question math review, a target number, and then practice fast facts. I give my students 2 minutes to complete a 25 addition and subtraction facts sheet. If my students finish earlier than 2 minutes, they practice their flashcards. If they do not get a chance to finish within the 2 minutes, I allow them to finish using a crayon. Monday through Thursday, we correct the questions as a whole group, on Fridays I collect and correct to chart progress. My students LOVE fast facts and get so excited when they see their progress. We also practice flash cards everyday and we play Around the World about once a week.


Senior Member
I never did them in first either. I did not feel it was developmentally appropriate to jump to memorization before having enough time to learn conceptually (we also have no kindergarten). I do timed tests for addition adn subtraction in second to help them transition to memorization. I dont do timed test on the multiplication and division in second because I feel that is the developmental year for conceptual learning. My kids do have more trouble with subtraction facts, but we use the EDM and less time is spent in grade one teaching that (it is presented more as the opposite of addition). Just my oppinion though. Best of luck.


Junior Member
Timed Tests

I give timed tests everyday this year. I teach third and fourth grade. Many of my students do not know even their addition and subtraction facts. Everyday the students set a goal and get a point if they meet that goal. When we accumulate 60 points we have a fun math day. We simply play math games that still review the skills, but I don't teach any lessons. I also pull the kids aside during this and quiz them orally on their facts. This is working very well. In September, only one of my students finished a simple subtraction sheet in the two minutes that I gave them. One student had yet to finish after 20 minutes. Now they can all finish within 5 minutes and most can finish within 3. I do give the students different sheets depending on the area that they need to work on.

I also have what I call "Quick Bursts". I give the students 10seconds to correctly answer as many problems as they can. Because it is such a short time, they are not overwhelmed. They know that I do not expect them to even come close to finishing the paper.

Something else that I do is "rainbow tests". I give the students a colored pencil and they alternate every minute between the colored pencil and the regular pencil. This way I can see how many problems that they are doing in a minute and they can easily add up how much time it takes them to complete the problems.

One thing that I always do is have the students finish the paper. We may only work on it together for 2-minutes, but they finish it at the fact center. We also use the same sheets over and over.

These strategies have worked very well with my students. Basic facts need to be memorized. Students can not continue to count to do all of their math.


Senior Member
I HATE timed math fact tests below 3rd grade. I think it's too much pressure on the kids, and I'm much rather have them understand HOW addition/subtraction works than to be able to rattle off a bunch of facts. Memorizing facts does nothing to promote number sense.


Math wars

I have been told that timing students on their math facts is or was part of the CA math wars (please let me know if this is not accurate). It has been an issue for what seems like ... 40 years. I am currently conducting my own little research project (within my Master's program) and I am curious to know more thoughts and concerns that each of you have. I am slightly undecided. I feel my lower students should not have timed tests, as this relates to efficiency, not mastery of the facts. It promotes reversals (which I've worked so hard to fix) and cheating due to stress. Yet, my higher students may benefit from the challenge.

I hear teachers differentiate in reading all the time, and rarely do I hear teachers talk about differentiation with mathematics. Is this possible? Can we not time test with those who are ready (small groups)?


Senior Member
Math Challenges

I do math timed tests twice a week. We call them Challenges. My students LOVE them and so do their parents. We have been told by administration that we have to do them. I teach in a private school with grades K-8. Every class (1-8) has to do timed tests in whatever operation is appropriate. I start the year off with addition and subtraction. When my students finish those they move onto multiplication.


Senior Member
timed test

This can be a hot topic.:eek: I don't think there is a right or wrong. It is what is comfortable and helpful for the student. I as a student had a bad experience in school about timed test that followed me all of my life. Some students have no anxiety about doing facts quickly other students that are trying very hard their brain freezes (personal experience). What I did when it was semi required to have timed test was I encourgaged the students to see how many facts they got in a set time. But I made a big deal if you get 1 fact and it is right that is as good as 5000 right. Because you can only worry and work about one problem at a time. I also had a great teacher that saw where my BF and I were freaking out every time we did a weekly test and decided not to do them. That is a mark of true teacher one that teaches and adjusts to the students.<!--schoolhouse-->


Senior Member
Timed tests

I think the approach that is given to the test should be a pre-determing factor in whether they are appropriate or not. I'm the PP who said that we give 30 problems in first grade at our school. We give these school wide for 1-4. There is no grade given on the tests--it is simply a practice each week. We give the type problems that we have taught--for example putting the big number in your head and counting on. We also look for doubles or doubles plus one.

I can see where any child would have difficulty if they are given as a "pressure" situation. We tell the kids that it is a contest with themselves--did you do as well as last time or did you improve.


Senior Member
resources for timed tests

Where are good sites or resources for addition & subtraction timed tests for second graders? I have an ancient copy of Mad Minute, but I'd like more variety and depth.


Senior Member
1st through 5th in my district

We use Mastering Math Facts by Otter Creek for 1st-5th graders. Everyone loves it and the kids do a fantastic job!


Full Member
I do addition and subtraction on the same test. For kids who are having a particularly difficult time - I give them the "easier" test that has all the addition problems first and subtraction problems second instead of all mixed up. This usually boosts confidence and gets them going.

Examples of the problems I would use for a 10 fact test:


I mix them up. My second graders get 5 minutes to complete 80 problems and they don't move on to the next set of facts until they are at 3:00 minutes or faster.


Full Member
timed tests

I have done timed tests each year except last year and went back to it a little this year. I think it is fine for them to do it. I do not allow them to use their fingers and only tell them to answer the ones they know and to skip the ones they don't. When the time is finished they go back with their crayon and use cubes or a number line to finish. I date it and keep it until they can master the fact page in the allotted time. I do the same page each day. When they have mastered it, they don't do it and read a book or do something else while the others are working. The ones that still have to do it love to see the progress they make each day. They may get a little discouraged, but I explain how much they are learning and remembering and they love it. When they have mastered it, I stapled the whole set of their work together and send it home. The parents even have commented about it - good comments so far.;)