Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

Numeracy skills mediate the relation between executive function and mathematics achievement in early childhood


We examine a potential mechanism underlying the relation between executive function (EF) skills and mathematics achievement in early childhood. Across two samples of three- to six-year-olds in preschool and kindergarten, we found that children’s EF skills predict their concurrent skills in set counting, numeral identification, number comparison, and number line estimation. The effects of EF on later numeral identification, number comparison, and number line estimation skills remained significant for these two samples of children, but these effects attenuated when controlling for the respective earlier numeracy skill. Further, aspects of numeracy skills mediated the association between EF and mathematics achievement in both samples. Together, these findings provide evidence on the nuanced relations between EF, numeracy, and mathematics achievement, and suggest attention to each numeracy skill in order to support early mathematical development. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection.

Specific early number skills mediate the association between executive functioning skills and mathematics achievement

Reports & Papers

Contributions of executive function and spatial skills to preschool mathematics achievement

Reports & Papers

Preschool executive functioning abilities predict early mathematics achievement

Reports & Papers
Release: 'v1.55.0' | Built: 2024-02-23 07:59:10 EST