Achieving Math Fact Fluency


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If you’re like me, hearing the words timed test instantly conjures up anxious memories. We recall furiously scratching out as many facts as we could before the teacher yelled, “Stop!” and we had to put our pencils down.

Though there has been some debate about the value of timed tests, we know that procedural fluency is an important skill, one that helps to build a student’s mathematics foundation. According to the National Research Council, procedural fluency refers to the ability to “carry out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately.” 

If you are familiar with the Daily 5 structure, you know that the foundational elements of fostering independence, allowing student choice, and individualizing instruction are what make it so great. Watch this video to hear how one teacher capitalizes on the use of self-driven motivation (independence) to build students’ automaticity (efficiency) with math facts.

She explicitly points out that

  • the expectation is that students will show growth;
  • student-set goals are more important than the number of facts completed; and
  • confidence, which is built by seeing individual progress, is everything!


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