There are students sitting in math classes who don’t have basic math fact fluency. Counting on their fingers or making hash marks on the page makes it difficult and time-consuming to solve simple math problems. Students who struggle with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts find higher-level math concepts frustrating because the foundation isn’t there.
The importance of math fact fluency for students
Math fact fluency ensures that students aren’t spending precious learning and testing time grappling with basic math facts. Students with automaticity of math facts solve problems quicker and more accurately than those who still struggle with basic facts recall. Building math fluency in kids encourages confidence and sets them up for success.
Students who are math fact fluent can accomplish:
1. Building math fact fluency makes higher-level math concepts easier for students
When students don’t struggle with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts, it’s easier for them to learn more complex math problems. They don’t feel intimidated or stuck in the basic multiplication attached to multiplying fractions or solving algebraic equations.
2. Students make fewer mistakes when basic math facts are solid
Higher math requires students to answer a lot of math facts. Solving an algebraic equation can take 10 or more math facts. Adding fractions with unlike denominators can easily require 16 math facts. When students don’t know their basic math facts, they make more errors in basic computation. These mistakes then snowball, leading students to an incorrect final answer. This is frustrating for both students and teachers.
3. Basic math fact fluency makes timed tests easier for students
Many state math tests are timed, which can be stressful for students who are not math fact fluent. Students might get bogged down trying to solve simple math facts, which eats up precious test time. And simple mistakes cause incorrect answers. These frustrations often lead to just giving up, even though students know the overall tested concepts.
4. Teachers can stay on track with pacing
If teachers didn’t have to spend class time drilling students on math facts, just think what could be accomplished! They could teach higher-level math presented on time with pacing guides for the scope and sequence of math classes. It would be easier to cover all the state standards for their grade level. Also, when students are fact fluent, they are prepared to go deeper into the material presented and are more open to learning new concepts. They aren’t intimidated by all the math facts they have to solve in order to get an answer.
5. Students feel less anxious and more confident
When students know their math facts, they enjoy the challenge of solving problems and raise their hands to participate in class. Why? They feel confident and less anxious in math. They know the answers, and they’re proud of it. That confidence translates into better grades and test scores.
6. Students actually like math!
When students are confident and make fewer mistakes, they’re open to learning new concepts and enjoy math class. Students don’t want to rely on fingers or whiteboards to solve problems, especially as they grow older. They want to have quick recall of facts so that math class isn’t frustrating and confusing. They understand that math can be fun!
Boost fact fluency with Reflex!
ExploreLearning Reflex has helped students of all ages and ability levels make great gains by using an engaging, individualized game-based approach to developing math fact fluency. After using Reflex, teachers say that their students have shared that they “like math now” or that “math is their favorite subject!”