Why do students need to be fluent in material learned?

April 21, 2020

Fluency in education. Being fluent in something taught is essential if learning is readily accessible to the learner at a later date. How teachers measure student progress and define mastery rarely receives the attention it deserves. The distinguishing characteristic of mastery learning lies in both quick and accurate performance of a skill. The fluid combination of accuracy plus speed characterizes competent performance. To provide all students with retention, endurance, and application of instructional content, teachers must monitor performance with clear and universal measures and make decisions using standard data displays. The use of standard units of measurement and a standard graphical display are essential features of effective instruction. One such discovery, performance standards, has demonstrated that students can retain skills over significant amounts of time, perform at high rates with little performance decrement, and apply “element” skills to more sophisticated “compound” skills. It is essential teachers build fluency through providing students with adequate opportunities to practice lessons before moving on to the next topic. To sustain learning over time, instructors must monitor performance days, weeks, and even months after completion of a lesson. Unless continuous monitoring of past experiences occurs, prerequisite skills will be lost and unavailable to the student when needed in future lessons.

Citation: Kubina, R. M., & Morrison, R. S. (2000). Fluency in education. Behavior and Social Issues10(1), 83-99.

Link: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.5210/bsi.v10i0.133.pdf

Additional Fluency Research: Datchuk, S. M., & Hier, B. O. (2019). Fluency Practice: Techniques for Building Automaticity in Foundational Knowledge and Skills. TEACHING Exceptional Children51(6), 424-435.

Reading Fluency : Rasinski, T. (2006). Reading fluency instruction: Moving beyond accuracy, automaticity, and prosody. The Reading Teacher59(7), 704-706.

Samuels, S. J. (2006). Toward a Model of Reading Fluency.

Rasinski, T. V., Blachowicz, C. L., & Lems, K. (Eds.). (2012). Fluency instruction: Research-based best practices. Guilford Press.

Mathematics Fluency: Burns, M. K., Codding, R. S., Boice, C. H., & Lukito, G. (2010). Meta-analysis of acquisition and fluency math interventions with instructional and frustration level skills: Evidence for a skill-by-treatment interaction. School Psychology Review39(1), 69-83.

Singer-Dudek, J., & Greer, R. D. (2005). A long-term analysis of the relationship between fluency and the training and maintenance of complex math skills. The Psychological Record55(3), 361-376

Language Fluency: Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied linguistics30(4), 461-473.

Writing Fluency: Alvis, A. V. (2019). Predictors of Elementary-aged Students’ Writing Fluency Growth in Response to a Performance Feedback Writing Intervention