FAQsFrequently Asked Questions
Symphony Math Assessments
- Where does Benchmarker tell me how a student did on each CCSS cluster or concept?
- Why can’t we see the percent of problems answered correctly on the assessment reports?
- Are the assessments timed?
- Can we give the assessments more often than three times a year?
- Are the assessments suitable for young students who have never used a computer or a mouse before?
- The Benchmarker report says that one of my students has a percentile rank score of 54. What does that mean?
- One of my students was not feeling well during a Benchmarker session. I don’t think the results are valid. What should I do?
- How do I know the Symphony assessments are valid?
- How did you norm the assessments?
Symphony Math Instructional Program
- Is it appropriate to use the program with older students who do not have a solid math foundation?
- For how long and how often do you recommend that a student use Symphony Math?
- I noticed that Symphony Math does not have the usual cartoon characters, music, and narratives that I have seen in other educational software. Won’t kids get bored without those cute multimedia experiences?
- Why is the program called Symphony Math?
- Why does Symphony Math not model and explain exactly what students are supposed to do?
- Why doesn’t Symphony Math teach all of the different math strands and benchmarks required by my state standards?
- Why am I missing some features of the Administration Panel that I need, like deleting a student or teacher?
- How do I contact Symphony Technical Support?
|Q||I see that the topics taught in Symphony Math fall mostly within our kindergarten through grade four curriculum. However, some of the problems look very challenging and the concepts are taught to a deep level. Is it appropriate to use the program with older students who do not have a solid math foundation?|
|A||Yes, Symphony Math may be used with older students. The program is designed with an age neutral interface that does not use cute cartoon characters or childish themes that make older students feel the program is inappropriate. Symphony Math addresses fundamental math skills that struggling students need to master in order for mathematics to be meaningful. The program has been used with middle-school and high-school students in remedial settings.|
|Q||For how long and how often do you recommend that a student use Symphony Math?|
|A||We recommend 15- to 20-minute sessions three to five times a week. We recommend that students not be permitted to use the program more than 30 minutes in any one day.|
|Q||I noticed that Symphony Math does not have the usual cartoon characters, music, and narratives that I have seen in other educational software. Won’t kids get bored without those cute multimedia experiences?|
|A||The Symphony Math philosophy is that children are innately curious about their world and if we design a learning environment that presents mathematical concepts in an interesting and developmentally-appropriate manner, they will be engaged by these patterns and relationships and will not need unrelated stories, characters, or music to maintain their interest. We believe children are intrinsically motivated to learn about math and Symphony Math is designed to tap into this capacity.|
|Q||Why is the program called Symphony Math?|
|A||A “symphony” is something characterized by a harmonious combination of elements. Commonly this is associated with music. The integration of all of the different instruments in a symphony orchestra is one example. In the name Symphony Math, the term refers to the goal of our design philosophy which is to integrate a variety of teaching approaches and methods into one harmonious learning experience for each student. Some students need to explore concepts. Some need to work on mastering number relationships. Others need to work on applying their conceptual knowledge. Symphony Math is designed to evaluate a student’s needs and coordinate a variety of learning environments and teaching strategies to provide an appropriate and enjoyable learning experience.|
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|Q||In other educational software programs our school has used, the instructions are more explicit and even show the student exactly what to do or how to solve the problem. All the student has to do is copy what they were shown. Why does Symphony Math not model and explain exactly what students are supposed to do?|
|A||One of the most important skills in math is problem solving. In order to be able to apply what they have learned and to solve novel mathematical problems, students must develop the disposition of active thinkers who identify problems and seek out their solutions. Many of the learning tasks in Symphony Math are presented as puzzles that need to be “figured out.” Students find satisfaction in making these connections without being told in advance exactly how to solve the puzzle. The program does provide scaffolding in the form of instructional feedback when errors are made and in the form of a Help Button that can be selected for a clue that will lead the student a step closer to the answer.|
|Q||Why doesn’t Symphony Math teach all of the different math strands and benchmarks required by my state standards? Topics like time, money, and data do not seem to be taught in depth in Symphony Math.|
|A||The primary pedagogical premise of Symphony Math is that many students struggle with mathematics because they do no have an in-depth understanding of the big ideas of mathematics. Symphony Math is designed to provide students with understanding of the most important math concepts. Research has shown that an in-depth understanding of these big ideas of math leads to improved performance on a variety of math topics. Your students should continue to be taught all of the topics and benchmarks they are required to know. Concurrently they can receive extra practice with Symphony Math on some of the most important and difficult-to-master foundational concepts.|
|Q||Why am I missing some features of the Administration Panel that I need, like deleting a student or teacher?|
|A||There are different levels of access available to perform administrative functions from the online Administration
Panel. Each level of access has a varying degree of ability to control students, classes, and other functions. In order to delete students, you must login as a Symphony Math Account Administrator. For a full description of the levels of administration access, please see Chapter 12 of the Symphony Math Teacher Guide.
|Q||How do I contact Symphony Technical Support?|
|A||Symphony Learning tech support is available to school staff.
Toll-free: (800) 234-3030
Fax: (800) 234-3030
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