Fluency is the ability to perform quickly and without hesitation.
Without practice to fluency, students do not remember or maintain newly learned skills and knowledge.
If it takes two or three seconds to “remember” each answer and that is simply not good enough to support easy application to more complex math or to word problems.
Teachers have found that when students achieve fluency in important prerequisite skills and knowledge they do not forget. Instead, more advanced work becomes easier rather than harder and learning becomes fun rather than tedious.
Resource: Fluency Research
Fluency is accuracy plus speed. Experts performance is automatic or “second nature”. Fluency represents a standard of true mastery: correct performance without hesitation.
Resource: Fluency and Remebering
A research found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.
Why? Because learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge.
Several cognitive scientists and education experts said the results were striking.
The students who took the recall tests may recognize some gaps in their knowledge and they might revisit the ideas in the back of their mind or the front of their mind.
Why retrieval testing helps. Perhaps it is because by remembering information we are organizing it and creating cues and connections that our brains later recognize.
When you’re retrieving something out of a computer’s memory, you don’t change anything — it’s simple playback. When we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access. What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later.
It may also be that the struggle involved in recalling something helps reinforce it in our brains.
The struggle helps you learn, but it makes you feel like you’re not learning.
Retrieval practice appears to “make things stick in a way that may not be used in the classroom. It’s going to last for the rest of their schooling, and potentially for the rest of their lives.