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 Arithmetic Testing OnLine (ATOL)SM

## About Arithmetic Testing OnLine (ATOL)SM

Arithmetic includes essential skills required for nearly all mathematics at the later grades—including Algebra, Probability & Statistics, problem-solving in Geometry and more advanced topics—as well as for everyday life. Unfortunately, schools sometimes only “expose” students quickly to core arithmetic skills, along with many other topics in mathematics, on the assumption that students will practice and master these skills later on their own. Parents can use ATOLSM as an efficient tool to help ensure that a student has fully mastered foundational arithmetic and is prepared to excel in a challenging mathematics program in high school. ATOLSM measures the skills all students need at the following key grades: 3, 4, 5 and 6. Two different assessments of precisely equal difficulty are available at each grade. This allows you to test, help your child address any deficiencies, then optionally re-test to ensure mastery.

Each ATOLSM test measures whether students have attained Mastery or Honors in key arithmetic skills by the end of grades 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, the assessments can be useful at different points before, as well as during, the academic year. Below are three potential uses of ATOLSM, each followed by an example:

Joseph takes
ATOLSM Grade 4 Form A in the summer before entering grade 5. It identifies any arithmetic skills that require improvement before the beginning of the new school year. Joseph masters the necessary skills and is successful in 5th grade mathematics starting on day one.

During the academic year, to establish learning goals in key skill areas.
Juanita, a student in 3rd grade, takes
ATOLSM Grade 3 Form A in March to identify core arithmetic skills that she still needs to master before the end of the academic year. In late May, Juanita takes theATOLSM Grade 3 Form B to see if she has succeeded in meeting her goals.

During the academic year, to help identify the cause of academic difficulties.
Craig, a 7th grade student who received a poor grade in mathematics on his mid-year report card, takes the
ATOLSM Grade 6 Form A test in January. The assessment indicates that Craig is lacking key prerequisite skills in arithmetic that are likely contributing to his difficulties in 7th grade mathematics. In February, after one month of intensive tutoring after school, the ATOLSM Grade 6 Form B assessment indicates that Craig has mastered the necessary skills. There is still enough time in the school year for Craig to catch up and meet the grade 7 mathematics standards.

## Topics

ATOLSM measures problem-solving as well as basic skills in arithmetic, including:

• Word Problems
• Computation
• Math Facts, from multiplication tables to prime numbers to conversions between common fractions and decimals
• The four Operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
• Number Line/Ordering/Magnitude
• Standard Algorithms
• Fractions/Decimals/Percents
• Factoring

A detailed listing of the skills assessed at each grade, along with sample problems, is available here.

Diagnostic Reports

Results are instantly available. The Individual Test Report provides overall results as well as detailed diagnostic information foreach skill area listed above. In addition, question-by-question results include the correct answer as well as the student’s response. The Student Transcript Report provides overall trends over time, including in the same academic year or even across grades.

## Why Grades 3 Through 6?

An independent assessment of arithmetic is especially valuable at grades 3 through 6, as students transition from simple arithmetic in K-2 to pre-algebra and other challenging topics in middle school.ATOLSM provides you, the parent, with a reliable guide during this critical phase so that you can stay involved to help your child succeed. Students who do not fully master key arithmetic skills in the upper elementary grades lose confidence and begin to believe that they are “just not good at math.” At the middle grades, such students typically struggle and may be placed in “consumer math” or other dead-end math tracks. For those who do make it into Algebra 1 in a regular academic track, teachers report that one of the most common causes of difficulty is poor arithmetic skills.

## Pricing

Signing up for an account is free and each ATOLSM assessment can be assigned to a student for only \$2.95. After the assessment is complete, you can login at any time to see results.

## Taking a Test

All problems are presented to a student on the computer. Parent involvement is not required during the test. Students type in most answers using the number keys on a keyboard. A few questions require students to select the correct response from multiple choices. Calculators are not permitted during testing. Most students complete an ATOLSM assessment in less than 30 minutes; all students are required to finish in less than 45 minutes. At the end of the test, students can review answers and return to any questions they skipped. Results are available immediately after students finish.

## ATOLSM Development Guided By Top Mathematicians And Other Experts

The development of ATOLSM was overseen by nationally recognized mathematicians and researchers, working with skilled elementary, middle and high school educators. The mathematicians and others involved possessed a thorough familiarity with the mathematics expectations of top-performing nations around the world as well as the best state standards in the U.S. A full list of the members of the ATOLSMMathematics Content Board is available here. All test questions were field tested with real students to ensure their quality and scaled by testing experts to standardize the degree of difficulty for tests at the same grade.

## Benchmarked To International Standards, Designed For Nearly Every Student

ATOLSM was designed based on the proven mathematics curricula used in top-performing countries as well as the best standards in the U.S. Unlike less effective mathematics approaches that allow students to cover numerous topics superficially while mastering few, students in top-scoring countries focus most of their time at the elementary grades on core arithmetic skills and advance quickly. Students develop confidence as they thoroughly understand key arithmetic concepts and develop speed in computation. They learn arithmetic math facts “by heart” while also solving problems that demonstrate deep understanding. Students do not have to extensively review arithmetic skills from previous grades because these were learned to a high level and then continue to be used heavily in a focused program.

ATOLSM defines clearly the arithmetic skills to be assessed at each grade. Test questions represent the range of these skills. The assessment assumes students are well-versed in these areas (i.e., “at mastery”) and some of the problems are challenging. However, none of the questions are “tricky” or “puzzles” that require a high aptitude to solve. With good instruction and sufficient practice, the overwhelming majority of students can solve the questions and obtain an overall score that reflects “Mastery.” Students with particular talent in mathematics are also challenged and can aim for an “Honors” result.

Information about an internationally-benchmarked approach to mathematics education is provided in the report of the National Mathematics Panel here. Over 90% of the core skills identified by the Panel as essential at grades 3 through 6 are included on ATOLSM. (Note, there are other non-arithmetic topics that are useful and important in elementary mathematics, though arithmetic is the Panel's recommended focus at these grades.)

Privacy

Your private information and that of your child is protected. Access to the online system is through a unique username and password that you create. Similarly, you create a unique username and password for your child to access the system and take a test. Your information is never shared with any outside parties and is securely stored.

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