5 Steps to Building Math Success July 11, 2017 15:49

Beginning a new math program with a new cohort of students can be a challenge! Here are a few ways Excel Math can help you get off to a strong start:

1. Use the Free Excel Math Placement Tests

Boy taking Excel Math Placement TestExcel Math provides FREE Placement Tests to help you determine where your students should begin in math. Each Excel Math Placement Test file contains six tests that evaluate a student's preparedness for Excel Math.

The tests are labeled A - F, which correspond to first through sixth grade. Instructions for using the tests are included. Save the test to your computer and print it for each student.

Download the tests (in English or

 Spanish) from our web store: Free Placement Test

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2. Give Feedback

Excel Math CheckAnswerAfter students turn in an assignment for most classes, they usually have to wait a day or two to find out whether they were on track and did the work correctly. In that brief amount of time, they can easily forget why they made the mistakes they did. And since they haven't yet discovered where or why those mistakes occurred, they keep making mistakes again and again as they complete their homework. As a result, the mistakes continue and bad habits begin to form. 

With Excel Math, students get immediate feedback so they can easily correct their mistakes switch gears and start tackling math problems correctly. Dr. Janice Raymond, the author of Excel Math lessons, created a natural feedback loop with the unique CheckAnswer system. The CheckAnswer lets students see immediately where they've made mistakes and gives them a chance to correct those errors on their own. 

This CheckAnswer system, used throughout Excel Math lessons for Grades 2-6, enables students to check their own work and verify for themselves that they understand the concepts in the daily Guided Practice and Homework. As a result, students are encouraged to solve the problems, show their work, check their answers, and then go back and fix any errors they've made. 
Students are given an immediate feedback loop so they don't have wait until the next day to find out which problems they've missed. Read more in our previous post.

3. Be Flexible

Excel Math is designed to be flexible! You may find there is more material each week than you can use, especially if you have field trips and holidays.

Teacher instruction in the math classUse your own judgment to work through the lessons in their entirety or move quickly through a few days of lessons if your class is comfortable with the concepts. On those days, let your students spend more time on the Guided Practice portion so they can review a number of different concepts.

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Students who finish quickly can tackle the Stretch problem or continue with Basic Fact Practice. We do not recommend jumping around the lessons in a different order, as all the lessons build upon one another.

4. Use the Test Tables for Assessment

Excel Math tests are cumulative. There is a test after every five lessons in Grades 1 - 6. The test tables located in the Teacher Edition indicate the concept covered by each test question and the lesson numbers where each concept was taught. After your students complete each test, use the tables to see where they need more review and prExcel Math Strategies for Successactice. Use the Score  Distribution Charts to see if the class as a whole would benefit from reviewing some concepts together. 

5. Download our FREE Guide to Success
If you or your teachers are  using Excel Math for the first time, be sure to download our: Successful Strategies for Using Excel Math. 

This step-by-step guide will help you get off to a running start with Excel Math. Try these easy-to-follow strategies from experienced educators that are designed to help you build student success in mathematics. 
Things to remember:
  1. The first 4-6 weeks of any Excel Math grade level review the previous year’s concepts.
  2. Excel Math uses a finely-tuned spiraling system. Concepts are introduced and reinforced throughout the year. Mastery occurs via Guided Practice, not at the initial presentation of a concept. For this reason, we suggest you teach the lessons in the order they occur in the Excel Math program, without skipping lessons.
  3. Correlations to CCSS, TEKS and many additional state standards are available on our website: http://excelmath.com/downloads/state_stds.html
  4. If you have questions, give us a call at 1-866-866-7513 Monday - Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (West Coast time) and a friendly person will be glad to start you on the road to success with Excel Math!