Helping Students to Automatize Multiplication Facts: A Pilot Study

Main Article Content

Barbara Allen-Lyall


Attaining automaticity with multiplication facts during the elementary school years provides students with a strong foundation for understanding the interrelationship of rational numbers and strengthening mathematics computation throughout schooling. Automaticity also supports the development of number sense and ongoing mathematics learning due to expansion of students’ mathematics self-concept. This study explores the efficacy and feasibility of an intervention approach to facts acquisition for Grade 3 students. Students in seven classrooms across two diverse suburban community schools participated in a ten-week supplementary intervention program designed to improve motivation for facts memorization and increase facts automaticity. An assessment of facts acquisition and retention was administered to participants the following September upon entering Grade 4. Analysis shows significant growth in facts acquisition and retention across study groups when compared to 4th Grade students’ facts retention in the study schools during September of the previous year.


Keywords: elementary school students, mathematics, multiplication facts, automaticity


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
ALLEN-LYALL, Barbara. Helping Students to Automatize Multiplication Facts: A Pilot Study. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 4, p. 391-396, apr. 2018. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2018.


Atweh, B., & Clarkson, P. (2001). Internationalization and globalization of mathematics education: Toward an agenda for research/action. In B. Atweh, H. Forgasz, & B. Nebres (Eds.), Sociocultural research on mathematics education (pp. 77-94).

Boyer, C. B. (1991). A history of mathematics (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Burns, M. K., Ysseldyke, J., Nelson, P. M., & Kanive, R. (2015). Number of repetitions required to retain single-digit multiplication math facts for elementary students. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(3), 398-405. doi:10.1037/spq0000097

Chapin, S. H., & Johnson, A. (2006). Math matters (2nd ed.). Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications.

Codding, R. S., Burns, M. K., & Lukito, G. (2011). Meta-analysis of mathematic basic-fact fluency interventions: A component analysis. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice (Wiley-Blackwell), 26(1), 36-47. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5826.2010.00323.x

D'Ambrosio, U., & D'Ambrosio, B. (1994). An international perspective on research through the JRME. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 25(6), 685-696.

Dehaene, S. (1997). The number sense: How the mind creates mathematics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Geary, D. C. (1994). Children's mathematical development. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Geary, D. C. (1999). Sex differences in mathematical abilities: Commentary on the math-fact retrieval hypothesis. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24(3), 267-274.

Geary, D. C., Saults, S. J., Liu, F., & Hoard, M. K. (2000). Sex differences in spatial cognition, computational fluency, and arithmetical reasoning. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 77(4), 337-353. doi:10.1006/jecp.2000.2594

Goswami, U. (2008). Principles of learning, implications for teaching: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 42(3/4), 381-399. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9752.2008.00639.x

Hamann, M. S., & Ashcraft, M. H. (1986). Textbook presentations of the basic addition facts. Cognition and Instruction, 3(3), 173-202. doi:10.1207/s1532690xci0303_2

LeFevre, J.-A., DeStefano, D., Coleman, B., & Shanahan, T. (2005). Mathematical cognition and working memory. In J. I. D. Campbell (Ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Cognition. New York: Psychology Press.

Mahler, J. D. (2011). When multiplication facts won't stick: Could a language/story approach work? A research study examining the effectiveness of the "memorize in minutes" curriculum. The Educational Therapist, 32(1), 5-8, 20-21. Retrieved from:

Marsh, H. W., & Hau, K.-T. (2004). Explaining paradoxical relations between academic self-concepts and achievements: Cross-cultural generalizability of the internal/external frame of reference predictions across 26 countries. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 56-67. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.96.1.56

National Research Council. (2005). Adding it up: Helping children learn mathematics. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

National Mathematics Advisory Panel. (2008). Foundations for success: The final report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. Retrieved from

Qin, S., Cho, S., Chen, T., Rosenberg-Lee, M., Geary, D. C., & Menon, V. (2014). Hippocampal-neocortical functional reorganization underlies children's cognitive development. Nature Neuroscience, 17(9), 1263-1269. doi:10.1038/nn.3788

Royer, J. M. (Ed.). (2003). Mathematical Cognition. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

Siegler, R. S. (1988). Strategy choice procedures and the development of multiplication skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 117(3), 258-275. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.117.3.258

Smith, D. E. (1958). History of mathematics (Vol. 1). Toronto, Canada: General Publishing Company.

Thomas, J. (2001). Globalization and the politics of mathematics education. In B. Atweh, H. Forgasz, & B. Nebres (Eds.), Sociocultural research on mathematics education (pp. 95-112). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Valero, P. (2004). Postmodernism as an attitude of critique to dominant mathematics education research. In M. Walshaw (Ed.), Mathematics education within the postmodern. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

Williams, T., & Williams, K. (2010). Self-efficacy and performance in mathematics: Reciprocal determinism in 33 nations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 453-466. doi:10.1037/a0017271