Why Isn’t 100% Good Enough?

Why Isn’t 100% Good Enough?

graded homework, representing how fluency (not just test scores) determine skill mastery

100/100, A+ on the latest unit test! Time to celebrate, right?

Three months later at a disappointing parent conference meeting, the teacher expresses concern that your child is falling behind.


Your friend’s son also received a 100% on his unit test but your friend didn’t hear the same message from the teacher. What’s different about your child?

Turns out, 100% is not good enough.

Let’s think of it this way:

You and I take the same test. We both receive 100%. However, it took me 20 minutes to complete and it took you 40 minutes to complete the same exam. Who has a better command over that content?

Turns out, 100% is not good enough. But then, how do you know if your child is going to keep progressing?

Perhaps your child’s teacher is doing what most schools do– using mastery measurement.

Well, that sounds stringent. That must mean my child is good at it.

Not necessarily. Mastery measurement is where teachers create exams based on individual learning units that have been taught.

How else would you do it, you ask?

Progress monitoring.

Progress monitoring is a way to use quick and easy-to-administer probes to determine if your child is retaining all necessary content, not just the unit being covered currently. Check out our blog post about progress monitoring here.

Turns out, 100% is not good enough. So what is?…

Let FLUENCY determine MASTERY! – check out our blog post here for what mastery is and how we determine if we have met that criteria with your child!

What is fluency?

It’s the student’s performance measured OVER time! Time is such a key factor in many scenarios.

For example: If you have to think, for even a second, that the red light means STOP… the latency  (or time passed) between you realizing the light is red and registering that you need to press the breaks, could mean life or death!

Similarly, if you have to think about what sound each individual letter makes, imagine how much harder reading would be.

Or if you have to count in your head to determine the answer to a math problem, imagine how much more time that could take. In fact, often the cause of algebra struggles can be traced to lack of fluency with earlier math concepts, like math facts.

When we train to fluency, we create something called REAPS. (Read our blog about mistakes and repeated practice to learn more about REAPS.)

  • Retention
  • Endurance
  • Application
  • Performance standards

In short, REAPS means that you have such a command over the skill in question that you can perform it without having to practice it every day, you can perform it for longer durations (without decreases in accuracy or fatigue), and you can either apply it to a new or higher level skill without specific training.

Imagine how much easier home life will be when your child can easily read the directions and questions! How much easier homework will be when they don’t struggle to comprehend words! How easy homework will seem when your child doesn’t struggle with penmanship!

How do you determine which skills AREN’T fluent?

That’s what we specialize in–assessing and determining the smaller level skills a student may struggle with that is holding them back from learning higher level skills.

How do you teach it, though?

Providing FUN one-on-one instruction while completing deliberate and repeated practice skills and progress monitoring to ensure our practice is creating overall gains!

Think your learner could benefit from identifying their skill deficits and building them up to fluency/mastery criteria? Schedule your assessment with Fit Learning St. Louis today!

Katie Harris, Outcomes Coordinator

Katie brings five years of experience in the field of behavior science to her role as Outcomes Coordinator and Case Manager at Fit Learning St. Louis. She previously worked in the field of behavioral science in Missouri and Louisiana.

She graduated from University of New Orleans before earning her Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, MO. Kate is a member of Psi Chi Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society.

Katie loves going for walks near the lake with her dog and drinking bubble tea. Celebrating with learners and watching their confidence grow when they achieve their goals is her favorite part of the job!