The development of kindergartners' mental-addition strategies

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According to the distribution-of-associations model, the probability of stating an incorrect or correct answer to a problem is proportional to the associative strength between the answer and the problem. To estimate the associative strength between a problem and its answers. Siegler and Shrager (1984) and Siegler (1986) used an overt-strategies-prohibited task, which encouraged children to respond quickly without counting. A schema-based view suggests that children who have not yet memorized the single-digit addition combinations may respond to such a task by using estimation strategies. Indeed, on a pretest, 14 of 21 kindergartners appeared to use mechanical estimation strategies such as stating an addend, which produced one or two distinct answers per problem. After 8 weeks of computational practice with a different set of problems, some subjects adopted new estimation strategies on the posttest. The results indicated that errors and changes in error patterns on the overt-strategies-prohibited task cannot be explained entirely in terms of practice. They also suggest that Siegler's tables of associative strengths were confounded by compiling data over children using different estimation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-235
Number of pages21
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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