Practice outside of school raises students' math fluency

ExploreLearning, a business unit of Cambium Learning Group, Inc. announced today that students using Reflex logged 350,000 hours of product usage outside of school hours during the 2011-12 school year.

Reflex is an individualized solution to help students develop automaticity with basic math facts. Students can access their account from any computer with an Internet connection and teachers can monitor and support student progress. The system allows students to play a large number of fast-paced games with rewards for effort and progress.

At St. Vincent Ferrer School in Boca Raton, Florida, Reflex is an integral part of the instructional program, with the goals of 100% math fact fluency and increased success in more complex mathematics. Students in grades 2-6 are required to use Reflex three times a week outside of classroom hours, but data show that students are actually far exceeding that expectation. For every hour spent in class using Reflex, students spent six hours outside of class using the product. During the 2011-12 school year, St. Vincent Ferrer students logged over 5,000 Reflex hours outside of classroom hours while answering 1.4 million facts, or four times the number of facts answered in-class.

“Having students learn their facts at home allows them more time to learn, practice and make sense of problems in the classroom,” says Margaret Statler, the school’s Reflex coordinator.

The result has been positive, with St. Vincent Ferrer students’ average fluency rising from 22% to 87%. “There is no doubt that Reflex is increasing my students' fluency in basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. I can see the positive correlation in my classroom: the higher the fact fluency, the more a student is able to concentrate on learning higher-level math concepts, said teacher Julie O’Brien. "This is because the student is not bogged down by slow or incorrect computation."

Denika Gum, a math teacher at Sutherland Middle School in central Virginia’s Albemarle County, began using Reflex with her students in the spring of 2012. She immediately saw its value in increasing students’ interest and confidence in mathematics and in facilitating longer-term success as well. Ms. Gum has made Reflex part of the curriculum, with students using the product in the computer lab once a week and at least three times a week outside of school hours. Over the course of the semester, her students logged 917 hours of Reflex usage outside of school hours while answering 378,000 math facts.

After 20 days of average usage, students in Ms. Gum’s advanced math classes moved from 26% to 82% fluency in multiplication and division facts, with five students reaching 100% fluency. “Their confidence is definitely increasing. I am seeing less finger counting and computational time.” And, as her students have moved into higher levels of math this school year, Ms. Gum has noticed that the fact fluency developed in Reflex has carried forward. Her students are grasping fractions and factoring much more quickly, allowing them to solve more complex problems.

“We’re extremely gratified that ExploreLearning Reflex is moving the needle for students and helping extend learning beyond the school day,” says David Shuster, Ph.D., founder and publisher. “We’ve seen excellent results with Reflex across a broad cross-section of students. This is partially due to the unprecedented effectiveness of the system and partially due to how much kids love using it.”