The Common Core’s math standards focus on the objective of depth of understanding and ability to solve problems in multiple ways. On the subject of math facts, the Common Core directly state fluency goals for first graders.
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
However, the Common Core does not state how to achieve it. Commonly and traditionally, rote memorization and timed assessments dominate schools across the United States as the approach to teaching children fluency in math facts. Schools use popular programs like Rocket Ship Math, which give timed assessments. However, new research from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics find that timed assessments are actually detrimental to students. Board Member of NCTM, Dr. Jennifer Bay Willliams, PhD, of University of Louisville and Gina Garza-Kling of Western Michigan University wrote an article entitled “Assessing Basic Fact Fluency” in the journal Teaching Children Mathematics.
On Wednesday, May 29, 2014 at 7pm, Dr. Bay Williams and Ms. Garza-Kling will discuss their research in highly effective methods of teaching fluency. Please watch by going to http://www.princetontv.org.