How we embraced Fluency in the Maths department.
Siobhan Hook considers the implementation of Fluency tests.
Despite a few initial concerns with regard to the implementation of our weekly Fluency Tests, they have proved effective and successful. Almost all students improved their key skill scores by at least 20% in the first few weeks. So although we may refine the model in future, it does appear to have had a positive Impact on our Year 11 progress, and we will shortly be introducing them into Year 10.
The UL maths team persuaded us to adopt their model as a result of their own research conducted across the academy chain. Examiner’s reports have lamented students’ lack of fluency with basic numeracy and algebraic manipulation for many years. Whilst learning ‘your tables’ has made a merciful return to the primary curriculum, many of our Year 11 would be unable to answer 4x7 without resorting to counting on their fingers, and, more worryingly, they wouldn’t be absolutely confident of their answer. And as for fractions!
So….each maths teacher devised a 20-30 minute weekly test suitable to the main weaknesses of their group. We gave one to students at the end of the week to try over the weekend. We then posted our worked solutions on Insight for the students to check. Then first lesson back they would sit an almost identical fluency test with different numbers. The most contentious part for class teachers was the weekly follow-up: students who failed to achieve a ‘pass’ mark (set between 60%-80%) were then required to resit in a lunchtime detention.
In spite of some of the issues with this, first impressions would suggest that our students have deepened their understanding of key skills, and we look forward to them reaping the reward in the forthcoming exams.
The research suggests the following:
“Fluency, and the associated process of automation, may well be the key to higher-order thinking and more complex problem solving.”
Further Reading: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/blog/tes-maths-pedagogy-place-fluency