Increasing math fact fluency in your school as an administrator

Students who know their math facts fluently are more confident, better able to tackle higher mathematics, and often do better on standardized tests. When all the students at a school become math fact fluent, it benefits both the school and district.

Adaptive and individualized, ExploreLearning Reflex is an effective system for mastering basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Using fact families and delivering the right facts at the right time for each individual student, Reflex meets students where there are. As they progress, students must make fast decisions and answer math facts to play the games, ensuring that their math facts become automatic and fluent. And their hard work pays off with Reflex. They learn that they can all succeed in math if they put in the work.

For example, an entire fifth-grade class at Kuehnle Elementary School in Klein Independent School District in Texas attained 100% math fact fluency by the end of the school year, despite beginning the year at several different levels. As administrators, you have the opportunity to help your school do the same by following these tips.

Seven Steps to Success

Step 1: Teacher Training

The first step to successfully implementing Reflex in your school or district is to get all your teachers trained on Reflex, including best practices and how to use the robust reporting features. Resources include an administrator guide and a teacher guide. There are webinars and on-demand PD training available, making it easy to work with teacher’s schedules.

Step 2: Get the Green Light

Regular usage is necessary for success on Reflex, and students do best when they get sufficient practice at least three times a week. Every day a student uses Reflex the goal is to Get the Green Light. The Green Light goes on once a student answers a certain number of facts correctly on a given day. This indicates completion of a good day’s practice toward building math fact fluency. Bulletin boards are a great way to track green lights and serve as a reminder the Green Light is the Goal.

Step 3: Bulletin Boards

A great way to celebrate school-wide success on Reflex is to create a bulletin board to spotlight class or student milestones. This builds excitement, promotes usage, and recognizes achievements.

Some bulletin boards celebrate individual milestones such as: New Fluent Facts, Total Facts Solved, and Fluency Levels, while others celebrate class achievements in fluency growth or number of facts answered. Some encourage a healthy competition by making bulletin boards into a challenge where classes can compete to achieve goals such as: Greatest Fluency Growth, Greatest Green Light Percentage, Greatest Average Usage, Greatest Total Facts Solved and/or Greatest Class Fluency. Schools sometimes simply mark fluency with tools like thermometers, rulers, or charts so they can easily be updated as classes become more fluent during the school year.

Step 4: School and district competition and challenges

To help drive Reflex usage, some schools and districts encourage classrooms to participate in Reflex challenges. These challenges usually have a specific date range, competition categories, and prizes for the champions. The top categories for competitions are: Greatest Daily Usage, Greatest Green Light Percentage, Greatest New Fluent Facts, and Greatest Total Facts Solved.

Step 5: Parties and celebrations

When students become 100% fluent or reach a set goal in Reflex, there are many ways that teachers and administrators can help celebrate their success. Some have themed parties that relate to Reflex: Alien Sundae Party, Beach Theme with Crabby Cookies, Coach Penny’s Pizza Party or Cupcakes with a Ninja.

Step 6: Incentives

Many teachers find that incentives help increase and motivate student usage. Reflex provides teachers with Milestone certificates for students that they can print out and send home, or post on bulletin boards. Others have created “Brag Tags” for different student milestones that are awarded to students on a regular basis.

Local companies will often partner with schools and occasionally supply coupons for ice cream cones or other treats; some teachers collect inexpensive prizes in a prize box to give to students when they reach goals.

Step 7: Social media

Many districts and schools use social media to celebrate student achievement. They post photos of students holding their certificates, for example. They also use social media accounts to spread important news about Reflex competitions so parents know to encourage their children to get on the program during winter break, for instance.

Get the most out of Reflex

Reflex is a highly effective—and fun—math fact fluency tool. By making it work in ways that work best for your students and teachers, you’ll find success with Reflex.