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Math Fluency Guidelines

The National Council for Teachers of Mathematics’ Principles and Standards for School Mathematics states, “Computational fluency refers to having efficient and accurate methods for computing. Students exhibit computational fluency when they demonstrate flexibility in the computational methods they choose, understand and can explain these methods, and produce accurate answers efficiently” (p. 152).


Mathematical fluency provides a foundation for critical higher-level math skills, including mental math, number relationships, multi-digit calculation, estimation, and problem solving. In general, if a student can recall a math fact in three seconds or less, accurately and consistently, he or she is demonstrating fluency with that fact. Short, but consistent, daily practice is the best way for students to develop fluency with math facts and then to maintain this fluency as they progress.


These ideas around computational fluency are reflected in the 2011 Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework (the Common Core State Standards), that the Acton Public Schools follow.  These are the Massachusetts mathematical fluency expectations by grade level:


Kindergarten: Fluently add and subtract within 5 (e.g. 2 + 3 = 5 and 5 – 2 = 3).

Grade 1: Fluently add and subtract within 10 (e.g. 4 + 6 = 10 and 10 – 4 = 6).

Grade 2: Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.  

By end of grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers (e.g. 9 + 8 = 17).
By the end of grade 2, know from memory related subtraction facts of sums of two one-digit numbers (e.g. 17 – 9 = 8).

Grade 3:  Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 x 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers (e.g. 9 x 8 = 72).

Grade 4: Know multiplication facts and related division facts through 12 X 12 (e.g. 12 x 11 = 132; and 132 ÷ 12 = 11).

Grades 5 and 6: Students are expected to know and apply the math facts for all four operations as they solve problems involving multi-digit whole number calculations as well as fractional and decimal operations.