Age-Related Changes in Children’s Strategies for Solving Two-Digit Addition Problems

Patrick Lemaire, Fleur Brun


The present study investigated how elementary-school children solve two-digit addition problems (e.g., 34+68). To achieve this end, we examined age-related differences in children’s strategy use and strategy performance. Results showed that (a) both third and fifth graders used a set of 9 strategies, (b) fifth-grade individuals used more strategies than third-grade individuals, (c) age-related differences in the size of strategy repertoire was partially explained by age-related differences in basic arithmetic fluency, (d) how often children used each available strategy changed with problem difficulty and children’s age, as younger children tended to focus more on one or two strategies and older children used a wider range of strategies, (e) increased arithmetic performance with age varied with problem difficulty both when overall performance was analyzed and when analyses of performance was restricted to children’s favorite strategy. The present findings have important implications for our understanding of how complex arithmetic performance changes with children’s age and change mechanisms underlying improved performance with age in complex arithmetic.


strategies, two-digit problem solving; development

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