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How I Administer Math Fact Running Records

Running records. I’m going to speak for you, teacher, when I say that we loathe the process of getting them done, but we LOVE the information that we gain about our precious readers.  After completing a running record, we can have clearer picture of the reader as a whole. We know what strategies they rely on and what bands of text are appropriate for that reader.

So, what about math?

I caught wind of a running record for fact fluency a few years ago. I was expl-trained on how to administer them. (Oh, right… Expl-trained is what happens when you need a full training on something but who are we kidding? and the neighboring teacher explains what she knows about it in ten minutes.) She gave me a bunch for forms and coding sheets and gave me the layman’s explanation for administration. I was totally overwhelmed. 

I went ahead and administered them by giving it my best approximation. With every passing child, I found myself making up codes for what I saw them doing. I also realized that through it all, the only thing I really wanted to know was what strategy they were heavily relying on to add and subtract. If I could figure that out, then I could use that information to:

Just like reading, you want to find that sweet spot for solving facts. If the student is answering them without the use of any strategies, you’d give them a more difficult version. If they are taking more than 3-4 seconds per problem, you’ll want to back up. You would want to watch them closely and ask them to share what they are thinking if you can’t tell what they are doing. You’ll code their answers and group them with students who have similar needs. You can also be mindful if you feel like you have a student that is close to moving into a relational understanding of adding and subtracting by matching them up with a student that has mastered it. They might be pulled over to the relational understanding side!  
So, I’ve compiled what I’ve done and want to share it here. 
Since we want our students to move toward the use of relational strategy usage, I’ve created some strategy “friends” that could be used to encourage students to move in that direction. They can be posted on a bulletin board. I’ve also included the mini version of the charts to be placed on a ring for individual student use.
So this is my less-than scientific system for administering a math fact running record. This is the way I begin to tap into a child’s number sense. Just like I know a reader better after a reading running record, I have a much better feel for the mathematician. Watching them deal with numbers without the use of manipulatives is really enlightening!  
I have compiled this resource and posted in in my store. Please click any of the photos below to check it out! 
Thank you for reading along! 


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