September Curriculum Review – Why do schools spend weeks reviewing last year’s work?
The Existing Condition
Each year as kids head back to school, they can most likely expect to spend a few weeks catching up on the basics that they were taught the preceding year. Parents and teachers suggest that review is needed due to forgetting over the long summer break with minimal or no practice.I would suggest that it is because the students are not fluent with the materials before they left school last year.
As one simple indication of the current state of affairs consider the following. The average North American senior elementary student is capable of writing the answers to 30 or so single digit addition facts in one minute – two seconds per arithmetic fact.
For the past 40 years, Precision Teaching advocates have been bringing their students to a standard of 50-80 facts per minute – one fact per minute. Data on literally hundreds of thousands of students clearly indicates that retention, even over summer break, becomes a non-issue. The same can be said for using spelling rules, solving deductions or analogies, generating ideas for creative writing, identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives, subjects and predicates in sentences and for many other simple and complex skills.
The Existing Problem
Parents and educators have little if any exposure to continuous measurement. Very few teachers do a one-minute sampling of reading, spelling, math, grammar, history facts or anything else for that matter. Parents and educators are either unaware or unaccepting of the process of daily one-minute timings. They have no definitive standards against which to measure a student`s daily performance. They are operating with no clear objective of their goals – ships without compasses in a sea of ignorance with parents as the hapless crew.
The performances of the students on such simple tasks are as reliable as the magnetic North pole. There is some deviation and variation with some students that requires adjustment, but the direction is clear and you will know when you have arrived.
Have your student read aloud last word read. Count the number of words read correctly and those that were errors. Write the scores down.
Humans speak conversationally at 200 words per minute. They can read orally at that rate as well. Can your student read between 150- 200 words per minute with no more than 2 errors? Do this one minute timing each day with the same passage for 5 days. Note the progress. That is all it takes to be able to avoid giving up weeks of school to review what students should already know.
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