Math Running Records - An assessment to help elementary teachers find out what strategies students are really using to solve math factsToday I’m linking up with Miss V’s Busy Bees to talk about assessment!

Have you had this experience during math:

“Everybody tell me what the answer to the problem is..”
You think: Wow!  My kids are doing great with solving math facts.
Then you go to test them only to find out that some kids can’t solve facts at all, others are using very inefficient strategies, and some really are great at solving facts.  It would be so nice to have a way of sorting through who is using which strategies in math so that you could help them get to the next level with targeted instruction.

I was stopped in my tracks when I first heard the idea of a math fact running record at a workshop by Nicki Newton.  In my mind running records were only associated with reading fluency.  The more I thought it over, the more I realized that a math fact running record would be a great way to see which strategies kids were using and then form small groups to help them grasp onto the next, more efficient strategy.

Math Running Record Elements:

A math fact running record isn’t long or complex.  It has these elements-

*one-on-one interview
*assesses addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division strategies
*data used to group students for target strategy instruction


*4 to 6 facts written on index cards or just a single piece of paper, chosen to give students an opportunity to use specific strategies (counting on, doubles, doubles plus one, think 10 to add 9, etc.)
*a place to record how each student responds (a notebook, binder with a page for each student, etc.)


*Call one student to work with you
*Present student with first fact and ask them to solve
*Observe how they solve the fact (using concrete materials,  counting all, counting on, making an easier problem, memorization, etc.)
*Record the strategy used and move on to the next fact. Observe for 4 to 6 specifically chosen facts

If the students cannot solve the fact at all, that’s an important observation to record.  Here are some strategies you might see students using for addition and subtraction facts:

Addition strategies to look for - a cheat sheet for elementary math teachers

Subtraction strategies to look for - a cheat sheet for elementary math teachers

Ideally you would want kids to move toward using efficient strategies like memorizing facts and making easier problems rather than the more laborious counting fingers.

Once you have data collected on the strategies that student are or are not using, you can target your whole group instruction to helping them master the next more efficient strategy or you can form small groups to work on specific strategies.

If you administered a math running record two or three times a year you could update parents on the growth that their child is showing in math strategies.

A math running record could be an assessment used to document response to intervention for a struggling student.

If you are interested in detailed instructions, pre-selected facts, and recording sheets, I have them available here:

Math Running Record, Addition and Subtraction ($) An assessment for elementary teachers who want to find out what math strategies their students are really using
    Math Running Record, Multiplication and Division ($) An assessment for elementary teachers who want to see what math strategies their students are really using
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Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former teacher with 8 years of experience in the classroom and a master's degree in early childhood education. She designs engaging, organized classroom resources for 1st-3rd grade teachers.


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