Standard timing practice has more to do with measurement than improvement. Measurement is useful, so is improvement. They can be accomplished together.

The standard approach to timing along with the fact that it is typically done without any graphic or manipulative support to refresh knowledge of the facts creates more problems then it solves.

Students write some incorrect answers, which can reinforce memories of wrong answers. Students leave answers blank, which does little for their interest in mathematics, reinforces a negative self-concept, and causes them to miss needed practice on certain problems. Getting the paper back sometime later when the students are no longer engaged in the exercise means they probably will not go over missed problems to see where they went wrong. When it is corrected by someone else and not self-corrected, they are another step removed from the whole process.

Again, measurement and improvement can be accomplished together. Consider the posting “Measuring AND Improving Fluency.”