How can math teachers do this in a sensitive and productive way.
First, it's important to assess students' fact knowledge. Who knows their facts and who still struggles with basic fact knowledge at fifth grade.
To assess this skill in an easy way that provides good data, I like to use That Quiz. That Quiz is a simple, free to use math practice and assessment site.
I simply put all students names into the program and create/assign assessments and practice sessions (outlined below). Generally I create a number of assessments that move from simple and easy to access to more complex and challenging. I have students start with the simpler assessments and move up as they can. Later I assess the assessment results by the number of problems completed, the time it took, and the complexity achieved. That gives me good data about who knows their facts with ease and who is still struggling.
After that I'll review fact results with individual students and parents, set goals with students, and work with the children to gain fact skill and depth of fact understanding through a varied array of investigations, practice, games, and projects as part of the fifth grade math program and during Response to Intervention and Math Tech times.
Fact Assessment Sets for Fifth Grade
50 addition facts
50 subtraction facts
50 addition/subtraction facts
50 multiplication facts
50 division facts
50 multiplication/division facts
100 multiplication/division/addition/subtraction facts
100 facts with simple variables
100 facts with more complex variables