It's no secret that student learning was severely impacted during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. A longitudinal study from Cambium Assessment,
Learning Loss in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, followed 2.25 million students from 2019 through 2022 and found that significant gaps emerged in mathematics achievement, with proficiency dropping as much as 21 percentage points.
However, targeted support can lead to meaningful gains in learning. A recent study conducted by
ExploreLearning found that schools using Reflex, a math fact fluency program for students in grades 2-6, were able to increase grade 3-5 math proficiency between 2019 and 2022 and outperform similar schools that did not use the program by double-digit margins.
The study included 1,662 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade students in 10 schools in the Western region of the United States. Five schools that implemented Reflex with high classroom usage between 2020 and 2021 were matched with five control schools that did not use Reflex but demonstrated similar 2019 grade 3-5 math achievement. Researchers analyzed state math assessment scores for both groups from spring 2019 and spring 2022, comparing 2022 achievement scores and how they changed between 2019 and 2022 for each group.
Math fact automaticity is essential because it allows students to quickly and accurately recall basic math facts, an important skill for both present and future mathematics. Without direct fact retrieval, students are “likely to experience high cognitive loads and produce work that is inaccurate” (
Baker & Cuevas, 2018). Automaticity frees up working memory and enables students to focus on more complex problem-solving and reasoning. More generally, automatic recall of math facts is a strong predictor of success in math and is necessary for developing more advanced mathematical skills.
The Reflex solution
Reflex is an online program that helps students in grades 2-6 master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division math facts. With
adaptive games and individualized practice, Reflex allows learners of all ability levels to achieve automaticity. Typical classroom implementation involves students using Reflex for 10-20 minutes at least three times a week, often during a math warmup, individual practice, math centers, differentiated instruction groups, or outside of school for additional practice. Teachers using Reflex receive data reports to monitor student usage and progress.