Math Facts in a Flash is exactly what its simple title sounds like: straightforward Web-based practice designed to strengthen students’ fluency in basic math concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percentages. The goal, according to Renaissance Learning (which makes Math Facts in a Flash), is “automaticity” – or unconscious mastery, in which a student moves from calculating an answer to just “knowing” it as fact, similar to the effect one might get from using flash cards (a fair off-line comparison for this product, and surely no coincidence with the word Flash in the name).
The product has been around since 2002, first as a CD-ROM product that moved onto the Web in 2005, and is being used by about 11,000 schools in the United States and the United Kingdom, who pay a little more than $1/student for school subscriptions. A Spanish version of the product is also available.
Starting with a 40-item timed test, students then work from that baseline (online or on printed worksheets/flash cards) on the math facts that proved most difficult and receive immediate feedback on those skills – then continue to re-take timed tests until they answer all problems correctly within a short period of time (about 2 minutes) and move onto the next level.
The product also integrates with the company’s NEO 2 wireless laptops and its Renaissance Responder clickers. Students can also practice at home with the Renaissance Home Connect site (which parents can also use to view their student’s progress). Teachers can view dashboard reports to understand how students or classrooms are progressing toward benchmarks or responding to intervention.
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