ERIC Number: EJ1134107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds": How Transcoding Ability Mediates the Relationship between Visuospatial Working Memory and Math in a Language with Inversion
van der Ven, Sanne H. G.; Klaiber, Jonathan D.; van der Maas, Han L. J.
Educational Psychology, v37 n4 p487-505 2017
Writing down spoken number words (transcoding) is an ability that is predictive of math performance and related to working memory ability. We analysed these relationships in a large sample of over 25,000 children, from kindergarten to the end of primary school, who solved transcoding items with a computer adaptive system. Furthermore, we investigated the nature of transcoding difficulty of over 300 two- and three-digit numbers. All data come from a Dutch sample, meaning that transcoding is complicated by decade-unit inversion: 24 is pronounced as "four-and-twenty." Omission to invert the digits of a spoken number when writing it down is an inversion error: the incidence of these declined but did not disappear in later elementary school. Furthermore, transcoding ability mediated the relationship between visuospatial working memory and mathematics performance, a strong effect that declined with age. Inversion error making mediated this same relationship in an inverted U-shaped curve, peaking around grade 2 (8 years old). At the item level, structural characteristics related to inversion and irregular pronunciation of units and decades explained a large part of the variance in item difficulty. We conclude that number transcoding is an important ability to develop mathematical proficiency and discuss the implications of these findings.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Foreign Countries, Mathematics, Mathematics Instruction, Computer Interfaces, Educational Games, Computer Games, Mathematics Skills, Difficulty Level, Test Items, Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Elementary School Mathematics, Statistical Analysis, Multiple Regression Analysis, Coding
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 1; Elementary Education; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools; Grade 6
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A