William Brownell wrote, "'Drill does not develop meanings. Repetition does not lead to understandings'" (The Homework Myth, p.108).
"In reality, it's the children who don't understand the underlying concepts who most need an approach to teaching that's geared to deep understanding. The most they're given algorithms and told exactly what to do, the farther behind they fall in terms of grasping these concepts" (The Homework Myth, p.109).
If we give students a series of steps that they need to memorize, practice, and regurgitate, we aren't creating thinkers. We shouldn't be surprised when they can't apply the steps to word problems or problems with variations. If we give them every possible example, they can't think for themselves.
TAKS. Since they must pass the TAKS, I'm just going to give them every step and every example. They'll memorize everything and repeatedly practice it. That sucks. I'm ashamed that TAKS has dictated my teaching. I've created math robots, not math thinkers.