Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Christopher H. Skinner

Committee Members

Robert L. Williams, Sherry K. Bain, John C. Malone

Abstract

Fluency, the ability to respond both accurately and rapidly is a crucial step in skill development (Haring & Eaton, 1978). Fluency is important from a variety of theoretical viewpoints. A cognitive processing model suggests that being automatic with respect to a particular task allows one to free up cognitive resources (i.e., working memory) for more difficult aspects of the task. A behavioral approach suggests that fluency allows for more opportunities to respond within a given timeframe and therefore more opportunities to gain reinforcement. Finally, from a choice theory perspective, students are more likely to choose to engage in tasks that they find briefer and less difficult (i.e., tasks at which students have achieved fluency). The purpose of the current research was to introduce and evaluate a new method of increasing basic math fact fluency among elementary school students.

The current study was conducted to determine if the taped-problems intervention, a variation of the taped-words interventions (Freeman & McLaughlin, 1984), could be used to enhance multiplication fact fluency. This study used a multiple-probes-across- tasks design to determine if the taped-problems intervention increased the multiplication fact fluency of eighteen third-grade students from a general education class. During the taped-problems intervention, students were given lists of problems and instructed to attempt to complete each problem before its answer was provided by a recording from an audiotape player. Varying time delay procedures were used as intervals between the problems and their answers were adjusted. Initially, there was little time delay between problems and their answers. During each session, as the series of problems was repeated, the interval was increased and then reduced. Results of this study showed clear increases in multiplication fact fluency after the intervention was implemented. Furthermore, the enhanced performance appeared to be maintained. Discussion focuses on future research related to the taped-problems intervention.

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