Research

Math fact fluency

Math fact fluency is the quick and effortless (automatic) recall of basic math facts. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them from long-term memory without conscious effort or attention.

Extensive research has demonstrated the critical role of fact fluency in elementary school level mathematics and beyond and is underscored by studies that show it is a significant predictor of performance on standardized tests.

Furthermore, the significance of fact retrieval speed as a predictor of performance is not limited to test items that directly assess computation — it predicts performance on math concept problems, word problems, data interpretation problems, and mathematical reasoning items as well.

Research over the past decade has also shown, however, that many children in the United States never achieve sufficient proficiency with math facts, and those who do typically achieve it later than their peers in nations with higher mathematics achievement. To address this issue, recent national curriculum standards and guidelines have highlighted automaticity with math facts as a core objective of elementary mathematics education, including:

The Reflex System

The Reflex system combines research-proven methods and innovative technology to provide the most effective math fact fluency solution available.

A few of the factors behind Reflex's success:

  1. The system is based on a fact family approach that builds on and reinforces important mathematical concepts such as the commutative property and the relationship between the operations. When students understand the conceptual connections between facts, their progress to automaticity is accelerated.
  2. Reflex is highly adaptive and individualized so that students of all ability levels have early and ongoing success. In addition, the system consistently rewards students for both their effort and progress toward automaticity. They come to understand that if they are willing to put in the work, they really can succeed in math.
  3. Reflex fluency development games are different. Unlike typical math fact games, they require students to engage in increasingly complex and fast-paced decision making. Once students have developed the ability to fluently answer math facts while simultaneously achieving game objectives, you can be confident that they will be able to do the same while learning new math concepts and procedures in your classroom.
  4. Reflex is continually improving based on detailed analysis of student response patterns. Hundreds of thousands of students have become fluent with tens of millions of new facts and ExploreLearning's researchers continuously comb that data to uncover opportunities to further optimize the system. Today's Reflex is more effective than yesterday's, and tomorrow's will be better still.

For more details on the research behind Reflex and how the system works, please read our White Paper.

Read case studies from schools across the continent who are achieving new levels of math fact fluency with Reflex.

View Case Study Results

Critical Acclaim

  • Winner: Best Learning Game

    2014 SIIA CODiE Awards

  • Winner: BESSIE Award: Upper Elementary

    2013, 2014 ComputEd Gazette

  • Winner: Best K-12 Instructional Solution

    2012 SIIA CODiE Awards

  • Winner: Award of Excellence

    2012 Tech and Learning Magazine

  • Winner: Education Software Review

    2012, 2013 ComputED Gazette EDDIE Awards

  • Finalist: Best Game or Simulation

    2013, 2012 SIIA CODiE Awards

  • Finalist: Best Math Instructional Solution

    2013 SIIA CODiE Awards

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2.OA.2. Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

3.OA.7. Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

"Finding single-digit products and related quotients is a required fluency for grade 3. Reaching fluency will take much of the year for many students. These skills and the understandings that support them are crucial; students will rely on them for years to come as they learn to multiply and divide with multidigit whole numbers and to add, subtract, multiply and divide with fractions." p. 16

"Computer administration of the assessment affords the possibility of assessing student fluency with mathematical operations by means of monitoring the response time." p. 27

"We note that the standard connotation of the word “fluency” with regard to standards such as 3.OA.7 means “quickly and accurately.”11 An expansion of this concept would be useful, to include both the ability to use certain facts and procedures with enough facility that using them does not slow down or derail the problem solver as he or she works on more complex problems, and the notion of conceptual fluency - being able to use the relevant ideas or procedures in a wide range of contexts. In an adaptive framework, straight multiplication and division problems that assess students' ability to multiply and divide within 100 may serve as the assessment floor for the Operations and Algebraic Thinking domain." p. 31

NCTM Grade 2 Portions of Curriculum Focal Points have been reprinted with the permission of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
NCTM Grade 4 Portions of Curriculum Focal Points have been reprinted with the permission of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Page xiv: "Use should be made of what is clearly shown from rigorous research about how children learn, especially by recognizing ... the mutually reinforcing benefits of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and automatic (i.e., quick and effortless) recall of facts..."

Page xix: "Computational proficiency with whole number operations is dependent on sufficient and appropriate practice to develop automatic recall of addition and related subtraction facts, and of multiplication and related division facts."

Page 28: "Elementary and middle school children should begin fraction instruction with the prerequisite ability to quickly and easily retrieve basic arithmetic facts, execute arithmetic procedures involving whole numbers, and deeply understand core concepts involving whole numbers."

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