When it comes to statistics, the phrase that always springs to mind is "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." To avoid that tendency, we work hard to be transparent with our research. Our data is astonishingly simple, but it's also just plain astonishing. And game-changing for most educators. We don't need to exaggerate or cherry-pick our results, so please let us know if our efforts to be succinct leave you feeling skeptical in any way. Even better though, put Timez Attack to the test with your own students so you'll have your very own, live data—because you seriously won't believe these results until you see them for yourself, with your very own students.
We partnered with 500 districts across the country to demonstrate the efficacy of Timez Attack. Each student was given a pre-test that simply asked them each of the multiplication facts, 2 - 12, evaluating their response for speed and accuracy, factoring in the time required for typing. They were then given a matching post-test after completing Timez Attack. Over 500,000 students took the pre-test and then 35,000 of those students were allowed sufficient time to finish the program. A histogram of their 35,000 pre-test (blue) and post-test scores (red) is displayed below. By definition, many of the the 35,000 students who finished Timez Attack were the Fast Finishers, so their pre-test scores were much better than the national average.
However, those 35,000 finishers also included a significant sampling of struggling students. The bottom quartile of the "Finishers" averaged below 25% mastery initially, yet STILL finished with a 94% average, giving a solid understanding of Timez Attack's effectiveness with struggling students. Students who start out lower obviously need more time to finish. But they still walk away fluent--and they do it in record time. (See "It's About Time" below)
We've known for a decade now that Timez Attack always delivers astonishing fluency, so for us the surprising research results came from the larger group--students that started Timez Attack, but didn't have enough time to Finish it. We feel like we know more about fact fluency than anyone has ever known in the history of the world, but we were surprised by how deep the fact fluency problem is.
Finishing vs Improving
Most other programs only track improvement. There's no mention of finishing and little mention of time. This is a critical oversight. First, why would a product settle for "improvement" when complete mastery can be obtained in a matter of hours? As an educational community we need to raise our standards so that we genuinely demand fluency, rather than improvement.
It's About Time
Second, any tool, from flash cards to Flash games can all theoretically deliver fluency eventually. So once we start demanding fluency, the only real differentiator at that point will be time.Schools have so many competing priorities that they run out of time long before students are fluent. Because our high-end gameplay engages so intensely, we can also teach more intensely, delivering complete fluency in just 4 to 5 hours--in 3rd grade! Note very clearly though what a wide range of learning times exist. Some students will be done right off the bat, while some students will linger on for quite a while. Furthermore, as you can see from the difference between 3rd and 5th-grade, the time needed will vary depending on how much instruction students have received prior to Timez Attack.
Because time is so critical, we've released a new version that teaches significantly faster. We will post data on that new version as soon as possible.
Students who finish Timez Attack show near-perfect results, regardless of grade.
Here is a smaller chunk of data broken out by grade so you can see the fluency progression over time:
One surprising finding is that districts generally lack a tool that will time and aggregate a students' mastery of each individual fact. So, although fact fluency is one of the #1 critical needs listed in the Common Core Standards, this is really the first time that districts have been able to assess how they're doing in this area. Previously, most districts believed their students knew much more than just 30% to 50% of their facts. They know full well that students cannot effectively master higher level math concepts without basic fluency, but in general they are unaware how many students know so little.