Yong S. Colen, a faculty member in the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, published “Where’s the Procedural Fluency?: U.S. Fifth Graders’ Demonstration of the Standard Multiplication Algorithm” in the Journal of the Korean Society of Mathematical Education, Series D: Research in Mathematical Education. Colen collaborated with Jung Colen (MEd’11, Chadron State College). 

For elementary school children, learning the standard multiplication algorithm with accuracy, clarity, consistency, and efficiency is a daunting task. Nonetheless, what should be our expectation in procedural fluency, for example, in finding the product of 25 and 37 among fifth-grade students? Collectively, has the mathematics education community emphasized the value of conceptual understanding to the detriment of procedural fluency? In addition to examining these questions, we survey multiplication algorithms throughout history and in textbooks and reconceptualize the standard multiplication algorithm by introducing a new tool called the Multiplication Aid Template.

The article is available at the Korean Society of Mathematical Education website.

Yong S. Colen received his doctorate in mathematics education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Previously, he taught at Hawken School, Ohio, and Monroe College, New York. Recent professional work includes providing workshops for teachers at DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity) schools in Okinawa, Japan, and Daegu, South Korea, and a J. William Fulbright Specialist Program Fellowship for Tomsk International Science Program at Tomsk State University, Russian Federation. 

His current projects include researching prospective teachers’ understanding of the Standard Multiplication Algorithm and continued, teacher-growth paradigms in South Korea.