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Assessing Elementary Understanding of Multiplication Concepts


concerning this article should be addressed to Stephanie Z. Smith, Department of Early Childhood Education, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3978, Atlanta, GA 30302–3978. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to


This article summarizes the basic concepts of multiplication and provides some evidence that the traditional third-grade curriculum and instruction emphasizing memorization of multiplication facts produces much less understanding of the basic concepts of multiplication than a standards-based curriculum and instruction emphasizing construction of number sense and meaning for operations. This study also describes a collection of assessment tasks that provided meaningful evidence of children's understandings of basic multiplication concepts, including understandings of the relationships between multiplication and addition.