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Fluency in the classroom

Leach, D.J., Coyle, C.A. and Cole, P.G. (2003) Fluency in the classroom. In: Waugh, Russell, (ed.) On the Forefront of Educational Psychology. Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 115-137.


In this paper, the authors describe the concept of fluency and its utility in instructional programming and in the assessment of educational outcomes. Fluency describes competence performance that is characterised by the smooth and effortless combination of accuracy and speed. It depicts a standard of true mastery that bridges the gap between simple acquisition of skills and proficient, useful, generalisable performance. Thus, current operational definitions of fluency incorporate a set of performance generalisation outcomes, namely retention, endurance, stability, application and adduction of newly acquired skills. The paper emphasises how these outcome are characteristic of strong, stable adaptable and proficient performance. Fluency involves a high degree of automaticity in response to specified stimuli. That is, the speed of rate of correct responding is the focus of fluency-based instruction. The authors examine how fluency is dependent on building high rate of accurate performance and describe techniques that facilitate such increases in response rates in the context of teaching basis educational skills. The concepts of stimulus control, repeated practice, accurate feedback and reinforcement are critical in this context. The paper illustrates how fluency is an additional dimension of behaviour beyond performance characteristics that are satisfied by simple measures of accuracy. The advantages of rate measure over traditional percentage correct measures are outlined. The paper considers the history of fluency research, the evolution of the concept of research theory and its current status in education, current regenerated interest and renewed attention to fluency in educational literature.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
Copyright: Nova Science Publishers
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