Principles and Standards: Developing Computational Fluency with Whole Numbers

Susan Jo Russell Is with the Education Research Collaborative, TERC, Cambridge, MA 02140.

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Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000) emphasizes the goal of computational fluency for all students. It articulates expectations regarding fluency with basic number combinations and the importance of computational facility grounded in understanding (see a summary of key messages regarding computation in Principles and Standards in the sidebar on page 156). Building on the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 1989) and benefiting from a decade of research and practice, Principles and Standards articulates the need for students to develop procedural competence within a school mathematics program that emphasizes mathematical reasoning and problem solving. In fact, learning about whole-number computation is a key context for learning to reason about the baseten number system and the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.


Susan Jo Russell work focuses on developing curricula for elementary students and materials that support the professional development of elementary teachers.

Edited by Jeane Joyner,, Department of Public Instruction, Raleigh, NC 27601, and Barbara Reys,, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. This department is designed to give teachers information and ideas for using the NCTM's Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000). Readers are encouraged to share their experiences related to the Standards with Teaching Children Mathematics. Please send manuscripts to “Principles and Standards,” TCM, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191–9988.

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Teaching Children Mathematics
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