Building Prealgebra Fluency Through a Self-Managed Practice Intervention: Order of Operations

Abstract

Behavioral fluency refers to a combination of accuracy and speed that enables students to function proficiently in the learning environment. The present study investigated the effects of a self-managed frequency-building intervention on the behavioral fluency of a critical prealgebra skill in four 6th-grade students. The intervention involved students having access to the PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction) mnemonic during frequency building. Using an alternating-treatments design, the first experimental condition presented the intervention as three 1-min practice trials with 30 s of feedback delivered immediately after each frequency-building trial ended. The second condition offered one 3-min practice trial with 90 s of feedback once the trial ended. A baseline condition (no practice) had the students engage in a 1-min timed trial with no feedback. The alternating-treatments design demonstrated that three of the four students produced a superior performance within the two intervention conditions when compared to baseline. However, the results did not conclusively show that one frequency-building intervention was superior to the other.

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Correspondence to James D. Stocker Jr.

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James D. Stocker declares no conflict of interest. Richard M. Kubina owns equity in CentralReach. The financial interest has been reviewed by Pennsylvania State University’s Individual Conflict of Interest Committee and is currently being managed by the University.

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Stocker, J.D., Kubina, R.M. Building Prealgebra Fluency Through a Self-Managed Practice Intervention: Order of Operations. Behav Analysis Practice (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-020-00501-3

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Keywords

  • frequency building
  • mathematics fluency
  • pre-algebra fluency
  • complex computation
  • behavioral fluency
  • feedback
  • self-managed interventions