Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Better Reporting!

We are very excited to be rolling out some new reporting changes today!  When students get to their results page, they will now see how many facts they have answered correctly for that operator since the account was started.  We wanted a way to encourage students who are working hard.
Also, when teachers log in to their accounts, they will see a new summary of their students' practice and progress:  (Remember that this summary page is printable with the green button at the top.)

We have changed the practice history so that you can see how many facts the student practiced correctly today, yesterday, this week, and last week.  The green backgrounds are based on practicing 1 session/day, and 5 sessions/week.  So if today is Thursday, these students would have a green background for today and yesterday if they had done 30 facts each day, and for this week if they had done 120 facts so far, and for last week if they had done 150 facts then.  Our calendar is based on the school week, and we lump the weekend into Friday, so Friday - Sunday are considered one day.  Facts practiced on Sunday are credited to the previous week, and on Monday, the "yesterday" block represents Friday - Sunday.

To fit this into the available space, we had to stop displaying a differential in school and homework practice.  If you really miss that feature, please let us know, either via your suggestions form or the contact form.  When we are no longer in Flash we could bring it back if it really was helpful.  Then we will also be able to provide more specific data for the whole year, in a printable form.

The mini-results grid now has colors!  Green facts are fluent (defined as: 1-3 tries, perfect; 4-10 tries, only 1 mistake/too slow allowed, 10+ tries, only 1 mistake/too slow allowed out of the last 10 tries)  Remember that the cut-off speed is customized for each student based on their fastest facts because some students are faster than others.  Yellow facts aren't fast enough (on the last 9/10), and Red facts aren't correct enough on the last 9/10.  We have also improved the tool tip.  By mousing over the grid you can now see the detailed information on each fact.  While this student's accuracy and speed on 2 x 1 are too low, you can see that the last 6 of  7 attempts were fluent.  If they continue to be accurate and fast enough for the next 3 attempts, the fact will be counted as fluent.  Remember that new facts will start out with a low accuracy, slow speed, and improve over time.  However, it is fluent responses on 9 out of the last 10 attempts that determines fluency.

Getting Ready for the New Year

Welcome back!  We hope you had a great summer.  As you think about your new students and wonder where they are with their math fact fluency, we can help you.  Even if you haven't set up an account on Math Facts Pro, you can still use the free side (Lite Version).  Have students do 100 facts on the operator of your choice, and then have them print off the detailed report at the end.  Doing 100 math facts will give you a good snapshot of their math fact fluency.  The program will have a good idea of what their speed is and will be able to figure out on which facts students are using their fingers, or counting.  For more accurate results, create a free trial account, and have them practice as often as you can.  The program stores everything in the database, and the more info it has, the more accurate it is.  It will also be more efficient, because it doesn't have to relearn the student each time.

You can use Math Facts Pro for weekly assessments to see how students are progressing, or you can use it as daily/weekly practice.  It's very smart, efficient, and effective.

If you have a paid account (1$/student/year), I would suggest you delete your classes from last year, which will delete all the data, and then add in your new classes and students.  Try to get the first 100 facts done soon, and then you will be able to log-in and see what they know, what they don't know, and what they aren't quite fast enough on yet.  And they can start work on getting the rust out of their brains.

If you have a school account, we can now upload your students for you from a spreadsheet for only 10¢ each.  See the schools and P.O. page for more information.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Full speed ahead with upgrades!

I am excited to announce that Alex and I will now be working full time to improve Math Facts Pro!  Here is our short list of major improvements, in this order:
  1. Fun games!
  2. Better methodology – fact family based, response assessment, fact test, training, and games for practice.
  3. Moving the student side out of Flash, into HTML 5/Javascript (read: play on iPads directly, and any web-enabled device)
  4. Moving the teacher side out of Flash, adding better reporting, and making it easier for district & school administrators and parents to use.


Thank you for your patience as we work to roll out these improvements, but know that we will be constantly improving.  If you would like to be updated on our progress - when we release games or when we are no longer in Flash, subscribe to this blog in the upper right-hand corner, or follow us on Facebook.
Mark Berg

Monday, January 19, 2015

Math Facts Pro now on iPads with Puffin Academy!

New technology allows students to practice their math facts efficiently on iPads, even though Math Facts Pro uses Adobe Flash!  Use the free Puffin Academy Browser app for Apple and Android, which runs the Flash on their server, and mirrors it to your screen.  Puffin Academy is designed with white listing for schools, so students can only navigate to approved sites.  The regular Puffin Browser app does not use white listing, but it is a paid app, so it is unlikely that students would accidentally install it.  After installing the app, you will want to change one setting.  Puffin has a double tap to zoom feature which misinterprets double entries such as 11 and 22, so you want to turn it off.  To do so, click on the menu button (3 little white dots in the upper right corner), settings button, and then turn off "Double click to zoom."  Then use Puffin's search field to find Math Facts Pro, and you are good to go!  Here are video instructions.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prayer

Please pray for the people of eastern Ukraine.  They are a strong, resourceful, and very capable people, but they are going through a very hard time right now.  Some have lost businesses, homes, friends, and even family.  Many have died.  The news becomes personal when you know and love the people in it.  Math Facts Pro's database programmer and his family is leaving Donets'k Saturday because of all the shelling and destruction.  I can't imagine what it would be like to live under the threat of take over by another country, or to be in danger for my life, or to have to flee and leave most of my possessions behind.  We are very blessed in my country, and we pray for the Ukraine.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Math Fact Puzzles!

Just found some fun math fact puzzles!  They were in a good PowerPoint presentation by Paula Swanson, from Boise, Idaho.  She has a good summary of the research, and some great practical applications, which include conceptual learning.  It's worth the read, if you are looking for more information/resources.  We really hope to implement some research based changes when we convert our program out of Flash, especially allowing teachers to focus on fact families and select the fact order they use in teaching their classes.  Meanwhile, here are some Word documents for Math Fact Find and Math Fact Jumble that you can easily adapt to your needs: to different levels, operators, etc.  Each file has a addition/subtraction example, and a multiplication/division example, as well as a blank form that can be used to create your own (or for students to create them).  Here the Math Fact Find and Math Fact Jumble documents in .pdf format.  And below you can see what the puzzles look like.  Have Fun!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Key Ingredient in Fluency

We just finished analyzing the data we have at Math Facts Pro to see whether or not we were really making a difference in our effort to help students become fluent.  We wrote a research paper about what we found, and how Math Facts Pro meets the qualifications for Response to Intervention, tiers 1,2, and 3.  (I suppose that kind of lets the cat out of the bag.)

The key ingredient that we found was the amount of practice.  The more students practiced, the more they learned.  (I know you're really surprised.)  Our data consists of students who logged-in to practice on Math Facts Pro.  We studied the addition operator, because it actually gets the most use, and we ignored the first 2 weeks of data, to differentiate between facts that students already knew, and facts that became fluent as a result of using Math Facts Pro.  To determine effectiveness, we compared the amount of practice to the amount of new learning; specifically, facts that were learned for the first time after the two week period, and that never fell out of fluency.  You can see our definition of fluency in the report.  What we found was that students who used the site less than 50 facts (5 minutes) per week, averaged 2.2 newly fluent facts per week, while students practicing 250 facts (5 minutes daily) per week, averaged 10.5.  Almost 5 times as many!  Since we did not control any other variables, we can not prove what caused the difference.  I'm sure that some teachers/parents who successfully get their students to practice regularly are also more successful in other aspects of teaching.  But I'm convinced the main difference is just how much they practiced, which is what we measured.  Math Facts in a Flash™ says that, of all their users, they do not have any grade levels where at least 35% of the students practice just three times a week.  With Math Facts Pro, the average student can learn from 10 - 20 new facts each week.  If you assign the practice as homework, you can even log-in in the morning and see who did it, how much they did, and hold them accountable for their learning.  Just 5 - 10 minutes a day.  Here's a look at our results:

So you learn math facts the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.  My advice is to practice smartly, with an effective, efficient program.  You don't have to spend a lot of money, just $1/student/year.