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Young children's core symbolic and nonsymbolic quantitative knowledge in the prediction of later mathematics achievement

At the beginning of preschool ([mean] = 46 months of age), 197 (94 boys) children were administered tasks that assessed a suite of nonsymbolic and symbolic quantitative competencies as well as their executive functions, verbal and nonverbal intelligence, preliteracy skills, and their parents' education level. The children's mathematics achievement was assessed at the end of preschool ([mean] = 64 months). We used a series of Bayesian and standard regression analyses to winnow this broad set of competencies down to the core subset of quantitative skills that predict later mathematics achievement, controlling other factors. This knowledge included children's fluency in reciting the counting string, their understanding of the cardinal value of number words, and recognition of Arabic numerals, as well as their sensitivity to the relative quantity of 2 collections of objects. The results inform theoretical models of the foundations of children's early quantitative development and have practical implications for the design of early interventions for children at risk for poor long-term mathematics achievement. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers
United States
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