Third grade teachers of the world, this one’s for you. The teachers who cut out hundreds of multiplication flash cards each year. The teachers who create games, centers, and activities to help their students learn facts. The teachers who come up with elaborate incentives to motivate their students. The teachers who spend hours upon hours of their lives grading multiplication tests.
If you have ever taught upper elementary math, you understand how crucial multiplication fluency is. The Common Core standard tells us that, “By the end of Grade 3, [students will] know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.” Having multiplication facts memorized just makes life easier for our third-grade friends. Think about the other grade level standards: division, comparing fractions, calculating area, telling time, two-step word problems. All of these are much harder skills to master if a student does not know their multiplication facts. We have all seen the student who did not learn their facts, spending 15 minutes drawing 9 groups of 8 to solve a word problem. “Math facts are important because they form the building blocks for higher-level math concepts. When a child masters his/her math facts, these concepts will be significantly easier and the student will be better equipped to solve them faster.” (K5 Learning)
So yes, we must assess our students to ensure that they are making progress in memorizing their multiplication facts. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything more boring than grading fact fluency tests. After scoring the first ten or so, the numbers start to run together and my eyes cross. After fifteen, I start to forget what 6×8 is. And after twenty? Those tests get saved for the next day.
After ten years of grading several multiplication tests per student every week, I decided that there must be a better way.
Google Forms to the rescue!
Imagine this: Your entire class is taking a multiplication test on an iPad, laptop, or desktop computer. After three minutes, they submit their answers. Students immediately receive their score and can see which facts they need to practice. You get a spreadsheet with each of their grades to put into your grade book. I’m telling you, this is life-changing.
Here are some of the benefits of using Google Forms to assess students’ multiplication fluency:
- Self-grading: Ok, this may be my favorite advantage of digital multiplication tests. I cannot even calculate the hours of time that these tests have saved me this school year alone!
- Immediate feedback: I would always try to grade the students’ multiplication tests and give them back by the end of the day, but taking tests digitally means that they receive instantaneous feedback. Being able to see right away which questions they missed is more meaningful and allows the students to know which facts they need more practice with.
- Completely paperless: Let’s save the Earth, shall we?
- Questions appear in random order: Juuuuuust in case any friends have wandering eyes.
- Quickly analyze results: I am a huge fan of Google apps. There are so many tools embedded within each program to help make your life easier. Did you know that, with one click, you can turn your Google Form results into a spreadsheet? As soon as your students take the test, you can instantly view class and individual results and add them into your grade book.
- Did I mention that Google Form tests are self-grading?!
So have I convinced you that this is the way to go? Try it once and I promise you will never go back to copying and grading traditional multiplication tests ever again! You can make your own tests using Google Forms – make sure to create it as a quiz and use the answer key feature.
Don’t have the time/energy to do it? I’ve got you covered! Head over to my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have created a bundle of Digital Self-Grading Multiplication Tests, including 48 Google Forms (both isolated facts and cumulative), teacher’s guide, and a video to show your students. Done and done!
What are you going to do with all of your free time now that you don’t have to grade hundreds of multiplication tests?!
UPDATE 9/30/19: Due to your requests, I have made Digital Self-Grading Addition Tests that are available now! Same benefits for your kiddos working on addition facts 🙂