Thesis

Math fact automaticity and its effect on student math achievement in a Northern California school district

Mathematics is considered to be a major factor in all aspects of modern society, with the root of mathematical capability stemming directly from classroom activity. Of great concern to educators, parents and policymakers in the United States is the inadequacy of mathematical achievement of American students.
 The literature shows a conflict in this area, between the Traditionalists and Constructivists. The Traditionalists are of course steeped in traditional education, as found in the practice of rote learning such as in rote memorization of multiplication facts or of the rules of grammar. The Constructivists, by contrast, view learning as development of general mental concepts then applied toward any given area. The most important point is the former is teacher-driven, and the latter driven by students.
 The present study was concerned with a particular approach drawing on both theories, which looked at an implementation by Renaissance Learning, Inc. called Accelerated Math Fluency, which was utilized in the researcher’s classroom. This classroom was compared with one, equal in most respects that did not implement this program.
 Statewide annual standardized test scores of students in these two classrooms were analyzed. No statistical difference was found. The progress of students using the Accelerated Math Fluency intervention across grade levels and years at the experimental school was also investigated. These results showed considerable growth in math fact automaticity.
 Recommendations for further research were made such as, increasing the sample size and grade levels of students in the sample, and complementing quantitative approaches with qualitative measures such as surveys of teachers to gather their reactions to, feelings about, and suggestions for using the particular intervention.

Mathematics is considered to be a major factor in all aspects of modern society, with the root of mathematical capability stemming directly from classroom activity. Of great concern to educators, parents and policymakers in the United States is the inadequacy of mathematical achievement of American students. The literature shows a conflict in this area, between the Traditionalists and Constructivists. The Traditionalists are of course steeped in traditional education, as found in the practice of rote learning such as in rote memorization of multiplication facts or of the rules of grammar. The Constructivists, by contrast, view learning as development of general mental concepts then applied toward any given area. The most important point is the former is teacher-driven, and the latter driven by students. The present study was concerned with a particular approach drawing on both theories, which looked at an implementation by Renaissance Learning, Inc. called Accelerated Math Fluency, which was utilized in the researcher’s classroom. This classroom was compared with one, equal in most respects that did not implement this program. Statewide annual standardized test scores of students in these two classrooms were analyzed. No statistical difference was found. The progress of students using the Accelerated Math Fluency intervention across grade levels and years at the experimental school was also investigated. These results showed considerable growth in math fact automaticity. Recommendations for further research were made such as, increasing the sample size and grade levels of students in the sample, and complementing quantitative approaches with qualitative measures such as surveys of teachers to gather their reactions to, feelings about, and suggestions for using the particular intervention.

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