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ERIC Number: EJ1109128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Aug
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Specific Early Number Skills Mediate the Association between Executive Functioning Skills and Mathematics Achievement
Fuhs, Mary Wagner; Hornburg, Caroline Byrd; McNeil, Nicole M.
Developmental Psychology, v52 n8 p1217-1235 Aug 2016
A growing literature reports significant associations between children's executive functioning skills and their mathematics achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine if specific early number skills, such as quantity discrimination, number line estimation, number sets identification, fast counting, and number word comprehension, mediate this association. In 141 kindergarteners, cross-sectional analyses controlling for IQ revealed that number sets identification (but not the other early number skills) mediated the association between executive functioning skills and mathematics achievement. A longitudinal analysis showed that higher executive functioning skills predicted higher number sets identification in kindergarten, which in turn predicted growth in mathematics achievement from kindergarten to second grade. Results suggest that executive functioning skills may help children quickly and accurately identify number sets as wholes instead of getting distracted by the individual components of the sets, and this focus on sets, in turn, may help children learn more advanced mathematics concepts in the early elementary grades.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL1054467; DGE1313583