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Math fluency is about having the ability to do simple math performances instantly. Students free up their working memory with fact fluency permitting time and attention to more difficult steps and tasks in their calculations and computations. If they have to recreate simple math facts every time, math becomes tedious and taxing.
Algebra is regularly considered a “gateway course” for continued success in mathematics. With math fact fluency, students are prepared to continue their math journey into higher levels needed for success.
A report by the Institute of Education Sciences emphasized the importance of basic, foundational math skills: “Quick retrieval of basic arithmetic facts is critical for success in mathematics. Yet research has found that many students with difficulties in mathematics are not fluent in such facts” (Gersten et al., 2009, p. 37). The goal, then is to provide the practice, repetition and rehearsal with math facts until they become natural reflexive moves during mental math performances.
Fact Fluency is not something that happens all at once in a single grade. Along the way, across the grades, active attention for continuous, repetitive practice is required for students to know and be able to perform these skills with proficiency.
Researchers who have investigated the relationship between student engagement and academic achievement have found a positive correlation between these two variables. Students who have demonstrated higher engagement received higher grades and performed well on standardized tests. Ladd, G.W., & Dinella, L.M. (2009). Continuity and change in school engagement: Predictive of children’s achievement trajectories from grades 1-12: Journal of Educational Psychology