A recent study gathered data about how students learn their multiplication tables and revealed interesting results regarding which tables are most difficult to learn as well as apparent differences in learning styles between the genders. The study, conducted at Caddington Village School in Bedford, was based on data collected by a learning app developed by Flurrish, an education technology firm.
A group of 232 students participated in this study by using an educational app to track their progress while learning multiplication tables. During the study, participants submitted over 60,000 answers for analysis. This article summarizes the results of how students learn their multiplication tables and notes that more often than not, students produced the correct answer for each problem. In fact, children learned their multiplication tables well enough to correctly answer 3 out of 4 math fact questions on average. However, this number is misleading as the correct response rate for each table varied widely.
The data from this study seems to indicate that ‘6 x 8’ is the most difficult multiplication for students to successfully answer. Other multiplications students had difficulty answering correctly included ‘8 x6,’ ’11×12,’ ’12×18,’ and ‘8×12.’
For more information on individual multiplication facts, visit the interactive color grid for specific results; dark blue signifies the easiest, dark red the hardest – hover over specific squares to see results.
In addition to overall competency, the educational app by Flurrish monitored efficiency, gender and its role in learning multiplication tables and overall difficulty to learning multiplication tables compared to each other.
- These results revealed that when learning their multiplication tables, students learn ‘1x…’ the quickest.
- Boys answer more quickly, but have a great likelihood of producing an incorrect answer when compared with girls.
- Students seem to have the most difficulty learning their 12x table
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James Ball is a data journalist working for the Guardian investigations team. He joined the Guardian from Wikileaks, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He is the Washington Post Laurence Stern Fellow for 2012.
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