|REPORT CARD |
|Overall Rating:||5 Stars|
|Ease of Use:||A|
Company: Tom Snyder Productions/Scholastic, 80 Coolidge Hill Rd., Watertown, MA 02472. Phone: 800/342-0236; Fax: 800/304-1254; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.tomsnyder.com/ or http://www.fasttmath.com/.
Price: $250—single computer license; $2,000—10-computer license; $7,500—unlimited site license. Additional discounts are available for district licenses.
Audience: Grade 2 or older, especially students who are "math delayed," i.e., having problems learning math facts.
Format: Mac/Win hybrid CD-ROM.
Minimum System Requirements: Windows systems running Windows 98 or higher or Macintosh systems using OS 10.1 or higher. Both platforms require 350 MHz or faster processors, at least 64 MB RAM, a screen of at least 800x600, and a CD-ROM drive.
Description: FASTT Math includes a CD-ROM for network and stand-alone use, a Teacher's Guide, and a "Fact Fluency Foundations Guide." The program provides drill and practice activities for learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, as well as extensive testing, record keeping, and focusing or "targeting" capabilities.
Installation: I installed the program on a Windows system. The installation followed standard methods; it was simple and I encountered no problems or difficulties at all. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: In Spanish or English, FASTT Math takes the old style drill-and-practice program with a simple game format and raises it several levels with new elements to provide a sharpness and directness, increasing the amount that students can learn in less time. Overall, FASTT Math is the kind of quality, cutting-edge program that educators have come to expect from both Tom Snyder and its parent company, Scholastic.
Tom Snyder has always specialized in programs that are effective in single computer classrooms. Continuing this tradition, FASTT Math is extremely effective in one- and two-computer learning situations. The software is also easily used in a lab or on a network.
The instructional focus is on numbers and operations, basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division math facts, and computational fluency. FASTT Math tests and places students, then provides sharply tailored drill-and-practice activities in daily 10-minute sessions. New facts are interspersed with known facts in the practice sessions in two fact ranges, 0-9 or 0-12.
FASTT, or "Fluency and Automaticity through Systematic Teaching with Technology," is used to provide a continuously adaptive program to increase math fact fluency. The customized daily sessions help students develop automatic fact recall so that they can focus on more advanced math processes. Progress and specific activities are monitored and recorded for teachers to check as needed.
FASTT Math includes a built-in ongoing assessment with a fact grid that tracks every student response to show which facts are thoroughly mastered, which facts students are working with, and which facts remain to be studied. The program automatically uses these tabulations to decide which problems will be included in the next work session. Teachers can use this information to print student worksheets with specific content.
The software provides 12 detailed performance and usage reports. These reports sort information by individual student, class, teacher, or school. The available data includes student progress, time with the software, facts students are working with, messages about specific problems, and more. This information can be viewed onscreen or can be printed.
The package includes an excellent Teacher's Guide with assessments and lesson plans, as well as a "Fact Fluency Foundations Guide" with activities for counting, number concepts, and computation strategies by age.
FASTT Math meets state and national standards; much of this information is available online. In addition, detailed information about the program's effectiveness and research foundation is included with the software, with additional background available online. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Most students should be able to learn to use FASTT Math relatively easily, although younger students will need some initial supervision. The teacher's management and report sections also require some time to learn, but are relatively easy to work with in view of what is accomplished. All in all, this is a very easy program to learn. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: The provided documentation is detailed, clear, and generally excellent. Technical support is available via the company's toll-free telephone number or e-mail [email@example.com]. Support topics are available on the company's Web site by following the links from the main page. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: This is an exceptional program with outstanding assessment and reporting features. I highly recommend this software as an intervention tool that can be used very easily in classrooms with limited computer access.
The program's cost may make it difficult to use FASTT Math at home. However, the software would be well worth the 10-computer license fee for the classrooms in the elementary schools where I work. Highly Recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe, Elementary Media Specialist, Hastings Area Schools, Central Elementary School, 509 S. Broadway, Hastings, MI 49058; 616/948-4423; firstname.lastname@example.org.