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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The Role of Awareness in Teaching and Learning of Literacy and Numeracy in Key Stage 2

Grant reference: L139251015

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Journal article details

The development of the concept of multiplication
Two alternative hypotheses have been offered to explain the origin of the concept of multiplication in children's reasoning. The first suggests that the concept of multiplication is grounded on the understanding of repeated addition, and the second proposes that repeated addition is only a calculation procedure and that the understanding of multiplication has its roots in the schema of correspondence. This study assessed the two hypotheses through an intervention method. It was hypothesised that an intervention based on the origin of the concept of multiplication would be more effective than the one that did not offer the learners a conceptual basis for learning. Pupils (mean age 6 years 7 months) from two primary schools in England, who had not been taught about multiplication in school, were pretested in additive and multiplicative reasoning problems. They were then randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions: teaching of multiplication through repeated addition or teaching through correspondence. Both groups made significant progress from pre- to posttest. The group taught by correspondence made significantly more progress in multiplicative reasoning than in additive reasoning problems. The group taught by repeated addition made similar progress in both types of problems. At posttest, the correspondence group performed significantly better than the repeated addition group in multiplicative reasoning problems even after controlling for level of performance at pretest. Thus, this study supports the hypothesis that the origin of the concept of multiplication is in the schema of correspondence rather than in the idea of repeated addition.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author Jee-Hyun Park

Additional contributors

Co-author Terezinha Nunes

Additional details

01 July 2001
Cognitive development

Cite this outcome


Park, Jee-Hyun and Nunes, Terezinha (2001) The development of the concept of multiplication. Cognitive development. 16 (3), pp. 763-773 Oxford: Elsevier.


Park Jee-Hyun and Nunes Terezinha. The development of the concept of multiplication. Cognitive development 2001; 16 (3): 763-773.