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Des Rainey's 'AFPM Tests of Basic Facts'

Dr. Des Rainey
PhD (Western Reserve, Cleveland, Ohio),
MA (Victoria,



Doc. Rainey Ltd.

15A Coronation Rd

Glenfield, Auckland

New Zealand.


Tel:+64 9 4198356

USA fax (208)4415510


These 5 and 1-Minute tests, through 'Accurate Facts per Minute' (AFPM), give measures of progress in basic fact knowledge that mean something to you as teacher and are easily understood by your students and their parents. Use them as an integral part of teaching through the period in a student's development when memorisation and recall are important.

  • easy-to-administer tests cover addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and mixed facts

  • establish individual baselines

  • find where students stand in general accuracy and speed

  • find the specific areas where they need to develop accurate knowledge and/or improve their speed

  • use findings to set individual and class goals and to enable monitoring of progress to those goals

  • use findings to help decide if the best teaching methods are in play

1. Why test?

  • a large proportion of our students are not reaching curriculum goals, including recall and 100% accuracy with basic addition and subtraction facts during Level 2 and with multiplication and division facts during Level 3

  • students' future performance in maths, education and life is enhanced/jeopardised by their relative success or failure

  • only if we keep precise longitudinal measures of a student's basic facts progress, as through the AFPM  measure, can we tell if students are on track and be able to do something about it if they are not

2. When test? In a context of broad assessment in maths, basic fact capability should be assessed:

  • at the start of the year - to establish a baseline; to set goals for the first term; to make early identification of students needing special help; to keep parents advised and guide those who are able and willing to provide help at home.

  • towards the end of Terms 1 and 2 - to see how well goals are being met, modify as required and take firm remedial steps if necessary and in consultation with parents.

  • at the end of the year - to review what specific progress has been made or not made over the whole year and what this means for the particular student. It provides a basis for reporting to parents and for handing over to a new teacher.

3. Who benefits? Teacher feedback suggests that results benefit teacher, students and parents.

  • ‘It was easy to share the results with the children - in fact they have gone into their individual folders so they can look at them. They may see that they have only a few items wrong and can concentrate on those, or that they have a lot of work to do on particular tables....’

  • ‘The children see this as useful information.’

  •  ‘…the tests provide a very clear way of showing results to parents and interpreting them.’

4. Methods of teaching/learning basic facts. When a student or a large proportion of a class is not doing well the question should always be asked whether the teaching methods and materials need to change. ‘Kiwi Maths is one option.

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