Poor math performance upon entry to kindergarten can put children at a disadvantage not only during kindergarten, but throughout their early elementary school years (Claessens, Duncan, & Engel, 2009). Therefore, it is crucial to examine the development of mathematics skills prior to kindergarten entry before children become at risk for falling behind and staying behind in school. This study extended the model proposed by LeFevre et al. (2010) by examining the predictive power of three cognitive pathways: spatial attention, linguistic skills, and quantitative skills to verbal and nonverbal early numeracy outcomes in preschool aged children.
Seventy children between the ages of 47 to 68 months (M = 56.3 months; 42 male) participated. Cognitive predictors included spatial attention (Spin the Pots), linguistic skill (receptive vocabulary), and quantitative skill (subitizing). Early numeracy outcome measures included counting, number recognition, nonverbal calculation, and story problems.
Multiple regression analyses revealed that spatial attention, linguistic, and quantitative skills explained 64% of the variance for counting (p < .001), 41% of the variance for number recognition (p < .001), 45% of the variance for nonverbal arithmetic (p < .001), and 23% of the variance for story problems (p < .05). Spatial attention did not significantly predict any of the early numeracy outcomes. Linguistic skill significantly predicted counting (β = .262, p = .002) and number recognition (β = .264, p = .022). Quantitative skill significantly predicted counting (β = -.632, p < .001), number recognition (β = -.445, p < .001), nonverbal arithmetic (β = -.542, p < .001), and story problems (β = -.333, p = .010).
These findings suggest that linguistic and quantitative skills were predictive of counting and number recognition performance. Quantitative skills were additionally predictive of nonverbal arithmetic and story problem performance. These results suggest that interventions designed to target linguistic and quantitative skills before children begin formal schooling may be especially beneficial in supporting the development of early mathematics.
|Commitee:||Kimchuk, Amy, Poe, Pamela, de Marchena, Ashley|
|School:||University of the Sciences in Philadelphia|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||MAI 58/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Linguistics, Developmental psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Early numeracy, Spatial attention, informal mathematics, preschool, subitizing|
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