G—How fast is fast enough? and What about students who can’t write 40 problems per minute?

How fast is fast enough in answering math facts problems?
Given a problem that the student reads either silently or orally, after reading the problem, the answer should come nearly instantly—less than a one second delay. (If you know something well, you don’t have to stop and think about it. For example, if someone asks you your name, you can answer without any delay. Same thing here.) In a one-minute timing of math facts, fluent performance is answering 40 problems per minute. This is true for answering orally (just saying the answers, not the problems and the answers). Children who are fluent can say the answers to 40 fact problems in one minute. This is also true for answering in writing — if the students can write fast enough to write the answers to 40 problems in a minute. See below for an exception for students who can write faster than is needed to answer 40 problems in a minute.

What about students who can’t write the answers to 40 problems per minute?
This is a great question. We are very very impressed and glad you asked!
For less than fluent writers their goal is to write as many answers as they can write in one minute. See the information about the Writing Speed Test for details of how their goal would be adjusted down from 40 problems per minute. Their goal will be to answer as fast as their little fingers can write! We do not want children to be hesitant, or have to stop to figure out math facts. We want them automatic, with as little thought required as possible. We definitely do not want them counting on their fingers. Allow us to repeat ourselves here…NO FINGER COUNTING!

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