Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need the CD-ROM to use the program?

Yes. After installation you still need to have the CD-ROM in your drive to run the Skills Tutorial program.

2. What if the computers are not networked?

The Skills Tutorial program and the user's database will be installed on a local hard drive.

3. How many students can use MathSteps at the same time over a network?

A maximum of 25 students can use the program simultaneously. Performance may suffer if more students are signed in at the same time. NOTE: Launching the program will be slow if a class of students launches simultaneously. Consider having students launch the program two at a time, staggering pairs by about 30 seconds (the time it takes for the opening animations to run). If more than one class will use MathSteps during the day, you can have students exit to the Sign In screen upon completion of their work, rather than quit the program. This will eliminate the initial launch delays.

4. Can I use the Management System while my students are also using the program?

Making changes to a class while that class is using the program is not recommended. If you make changes to student records while the students are logged on, the students will not see your changes until they log off and log on again. By the same token, you will not see updates of their work until you next log on.

5. Can more than one teacher use the Management System at the same time?

If more than one teacher uses the Management System at the same time, performance may be slow. Make sure the teachers are not working with the same class or the same students.

6. Must I give each student a middle initial and a password?

No. Both of these items are optional. Use the middle initial if you need to distinguish between two students with the same name.

7. When I add a student, should I select the grade level at which he or she is assigned in school, or should I select his or her level of achievement in math?

MathSteps uses the student's grade level primarily to determine which Strands to make available when the student has no assignment. If you wish a student to have access to specific Strands, select a grade level that includes them. See page 85 of the Teacher's Resources book for the grade-level families of Strands. You may assign work in any Strand, regardless of grade level.

8. If I lose my teacher password, what should I do?

If no one in your school knows the password, call Technical Support at 1-800-758-6762. You'll be given a special password that will allow you to enter Management and create a new password.

9. If a student loses his or her password, and I don't know it, what should I do?

At the Management Main Setup screen, select the student's name. Click Edit Student. Type a new password for the student.

10. Can I give an assignment to more than one student at a time?

Yes. You can give an assignment to more than one student by clicking the student names in the Main Setup menu. See page 30 of the Teacher's Resources for more information.

11. When should I assign a Computation Test, and when should I assign a Skills Inventory?

Each Computation Test covers several Strands. The Computation Test serves only to identify in which Strands the student needs work. It cannot identify specific strengths or weaknesses. Raw scores and recommended Strands are reported. Use it only at the beginning and/or end of the school year as a broad indicator of a student's standing. A Skills Inventory determines the Skill within one Strand at which the student should begin work. Use it as a diagnostic tool when placing students for instruction.

12. Can I print reports from management screens?

Yes. Class Reports, Student Reports, Student Progress Reports, and Computation Test Results screens can be printed. See pages 32-35 of the Teacher's Resources book.

13. Can a student print any records of progress?

Yes. Students can print the Student Progress Report. See page 44 of the Teacher's Resources book.

14. What parts of the program are in both English and Spanish?

All parts of the program that students access are available in both English and Spanish. Most on-screen text is voiced, and the voices are also bilingual.

15. Does any student work have a time limit?

Yes. The Practice Sets are timed by default. The teacher can turn the timer off for any student(s) at the Main Setup screen. See page 29 of the Teacher's Resources. The Computation Tests, Skills Inventories, Reviews, and Mastery Tests are untimed.

16. Why is there a two-Skill work limit for students?

Research during the development of MathSteps showed that if a student learned more than two complete Skills in one session, retention suffered. A Skill comprises three Practice Sets, each of which can take up to 12 minutes to complete. If a student can move through two Skills in a class period, that student is probably placed at too low a level. And if a student works on new Skills for more than 30 minutes, retention will likely decrease.

17. Why do some Practice Sets require students to enter numbers from right to left (in place-value order)?

Skills that teach place value require students to enter numbers one place at a time, rather than entering an entire multi-digit number. This requirement is based on pedagogy and on research.

18. Sometimes in a game, the exercise buttons don't work. What should my student do?

On some low-end computers, there is not enough memory to keep all the parts of a game plus the exercise bar buttons working at the same time. If the buttons stop working, have your student use the keyboard commands. See the Student's Quick Reference Card. The card, in PDF format, can be downloaded from the main page.

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