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Stanford Results--How to improve "Math Procedures"


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We just got our scores back for this year and DS' lowest score is in Math Procedures...again. Problem Solving is great. All other areas are great and I don't usually worry too much about the test scores themselves. But this is the 3rd year that his procedures score has been low. Each year I've made one or more alterations: more time for math, shorter lessons with additional homework later, more drill, DIVE CD, switched from Saxon to TT, added LOF to supplement. All areas of procedures except fractions (thank you LOF) are below average. So, what do we do?


I dont' know how to target procedures. Don't you use procedures to solve problems? I had thought last year that he needed to be more comfortable with the multiplication tables. That not being able to call them to mind readily was slowing down double and triple digit multiplication and long division. And maybe it was, but he seems better in that area now.


Here are the subtests:


Mathematics Procedures

computation with whole numbers

computation with decimals

computation with fractions

computation in context

computation/symbolic notation


Mathematics Problem Solvingnumber sense & operations


data, statistics & probability

geometry & measurement

communication & representation


mathematical connections

reasoning & problem solving


So what exactly does procedures mean? Is it word problems?

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I tried looking things up online for you and it doesn't seem very easier to figure out just what exactly it is. It seemed to me that it is working word problems. Knowing what they are asking you to do, deciding how to do it and then solving the problem. Maybe some more practice in that department would help? I'd love if there was something out there to decipher the assessment test results. Best of luck. Ruby

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I tried looking things up online for you and it doesn't seem very easier to figure out just what exactly it is. It seemed to me that it is working word problems.


Actually, I think it's the "Problem Solving" part of the math that tests ability on word problems... I got a pamphlet called "Guidelines for Test Interpretation" with my kids' results... here's what it says about the math section:


If Math Computation/Procedures scores are low, check:

- Your student's command of basic facts and understanding of procedures

- Whether there is carelessness while working

- The number of questions left unanswered (indicates speed)


If Math Problem Solving scores are low, check:

- The quantitative thinking skills of your student using a mental abilities test to discover what to expect

- Whether your teaching and curriculum emphasize visulaization, meaning, and understanding, rather than mere telling followed by drilling

- Whether your curriculum provides adequate practice in solving story problems


The general descriptions and especially that last point lead me to believe that Procedures is computation/facts, and Problem Solving is application and word problems.

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Well thank you for your responses. I hadn't looked at the insert that came with our results so thank you for pointing that out, matroyshka. I guess I don't understand why his problem solving scores would be good and his procedures would be low. A friend suggested it might mean multi-step problems.


Well, or carelessness...that could be it. <sigh> The kid hates to show his work.

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Well, or carelessness...that could be it. <sigh> The kid hates to show his work.

That's what I would guess. Overall, the computation for the word problems ("Problem Solving") is simpler because they are testing problem solving ability. Most of the math for those problems can be done in the head. The Computation/Procedures problems include more difficult computations and more steps, so if they won't write it out, they tend to make careless errors. (Can you tell I have this problem, too?)

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>>I dont' know how to target procedures.


I just put computations in as review exercises in addition to the assigned work. Right now my kiddo is in Dolciani PreAlgebra so it's easy as the text includes Review Exercises that keep computational skills sharp. Any conceptual errors are worked on; carelessness becomes less over time as they learn to estimate first and make sure the answer is in the ballpark, and also to check their work.


Here's a website for Math Review sheets: http://www.aea11.k12.ia.us/E2T2/dmr.html

Edited by lgm
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Okay, my son's procedures or computation portion of his standardized test was very low last year. I was so disappointed and surprised that I actually ordered the Stanford so I could look at it and see if there were things on it we hadn't covered. When I got the test, I saw that everything in the computation section was stuff that he knew well. The difference between his everyday work and the test was that there were lots of different types of problems all mixed together and they had to be done in a limited amount of time. I suspect he just freaked out or something when he got to that portion on the test. I had used Scoring High on the Stanford to prep for that test and it obviously didn't help him in this area.


This past year, I added another math program for my son. It was an SRA program and it comes with a section on test prep. Well, a big part of the test prep involved doing a full page of mixed problems every other day. His computation portion of the test went from being in the 8th percentile last year to the 80th percentile this year and I believe it is solely because of the test prep we did. I don't know if I will be using the SRA program this year, but if I don't, I will be making up my own pages of mixed problems for him to do each day for a couple of weeks before the test.


So, anyway, it is all very interesting to me because I don't think my son was any worse of a math student last year than he was this year. In fact, his problem solving results went down some this year and I'm sure that's because I stopped using RS Math with him as a supplement. It really makes me realize that I can't put a lot of stock into the tests, especially with this child.



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Thank you Lisa! That was very helpful. We used Saxon math until about February this year when we switched to Teaching Textbooks. We had reached a point at which it seemed they were introducing new concepts so quickly that DS just couldn't get a handle on them. But the thing I always liked about Saxon was the constant review of old material. I can't blame the switch though. He scored low in procedures for the last three years.


Well, maybe test prep would be helpful. We've done regular facts practice...even added math copywork. This has been good I think, but doesn't address this specific issue.

Edited by Suzannah
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Suzannah -


Just to give you an example of what I think helped my son, this is what a page of the test prep looked like.


10/3 - 2 =


10/7 X 10/7 =


7/4 - 3/4 =


10/7 + 2 =


56/2 =


286 x 34 =


89 divided by 5 =


77 divided by 3 =


27/27 =


468/4 =


$3.12 x 4 =


$0.54 + $1.06 =


$0.88 - $0.54 =


184 - 96 =


55 + 3 + 208 =


Some of the problems above were supposed to be vertical, but I didn't think it would line up in my post. Others were supposed to use the different division signs, which I don't have on my keyboard. Having to practice this kind of variety all at one time is what I think made the difference for us.



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