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Journal Article

Acquisition of Mental Multiplication Skill: Evidence for the Transition between Counting and Retrieval Strategies

John B. Cooney, H. Lee Swanson and Stephen F. Ladd
Cognition and Instruction
Vol. 5, No. 4 (1988), pp. 323-345
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3233576
Page Count: 23
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Acquisition of Mental Multiplication Skill: Evidence for the Transition between Counting and Retrieval Strategies
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Abstract

Strategies used by third and fourth graders to perform simple multiplication problems were examined. Children participated in an interview and then completed a timed production task in which they solved single-digit multiplication problems. Analyses of children's verbal reports and of solution latency data were found to support the view that the acquisition of mental multiplication begins with the use of counting strategies. By the fourth grade, however, there was a marked transition toward the use of a retrieval strategy. Children in both grade levels were found to apply rules to solve problems that involved multiplication by 1 or 0; however, not all students reported using these rules, and those students who did report the use of these rules were not consistent in the application of the rules. Comparisons between groups' and individual subjects' performance revealed that some important individual differences were obscured when the group served as the unit of analysis. Although several discrepancies were noted between the analyses of verbal reports and the analyses of chronometric data, correlations between the two methods were moderately high.

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