Teaching fluency thru number sense is an alternative to timed tests. It strays from timing and pacing, by focusing on conceptual thinking and problem solving. The way you assess your students’ mastery of fluency should parallel number sense as well.
A few years ago I started integrating fluency interviews into my schedule. These 5 minute chats were a great way to interact with students one on one and get a better understanding of their mastery of fluency. It provided far more insight into my students’ thinking than any timed test could. My students enjoyed an alternative to timed tests. It diminished anxiety and brought a new level of understanding to my classroom.
Because I was taking a flexible stance on fluency that meant my assessments had to integrate flexibility as well. I created 10 question mini assessments that focused more on number sense than speed. My students completed these assessments on Friday’s. They took no more than 15 minutes and provided great insight into student performance. With the weekly alternative quizzes and the bi-weekly interviews, along with classroom observations, I had enough resources to track the progress of my students.
I found my students more relaxed when it came to fluency. It was part of our everyday routine so they were getting ample practice. This new approach built problem solvers versus stressed out children. Gone were the days where my students could only depend on memory alone.
Be sure to check out my Alternative Math Fluency Curriculum. Ready to go weekly quizzes and interviews are included in this curriculum.