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ERIC Number: EJ1158302
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Measuring Arithmetic: A Psychometric Approach to Understanding Formatting Effects and Domain Specificity
Rhodes, Katherine T.; Branum-Martin, Lee; Washington, Julie A.; Fuchs, Lynn S.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v109 n7 p956-976 Oct 2017
Using multitrait, multimethod data, and confirmatory factor analysis, the current study examined the effects of arithmetic item formatting and the possibility that across formats, abilities other than arithmetic may contribute to children's answers. Measurement hypotheses were guided by several leading theories of arithmetic cognition. With a sample of 1,314 third grade students (age M = 103.24 months, SD = 5.41 months), Abstract Code Theory, EncodingComplex Theory, Triple Code Theory, and the Exact versus Approximate Calculations Hypothesis were evaluated, using 11 measures of arithmetic with symbolic problem formats (e.g., Arabic numeral and language-based formats) and various problem demands (e.g., requiring both exact and approximate calculations). In general, results provided support for both Triple Code Theory and Encoding Complex Theory. As predicted by Triple Code Theory, arithmetic outcomes with language formatting, Arabic numeral formatting, and estimation demands (across formats) were related but distinct from one another. As predicted by Encoding Complex Theory, executive attention was a direct predictor of all arithmetic outcomes. Language was no longer a direct predictor of arithmetic outcomes when executive attention was accounted for in the model; however, a strong and enduring relationship between language and executive attention suggested that language may play a facilitative role in reasoning during numeric processing. These findings have important implications for assessing arithmetic in educational settings and suggest that in addition to arithmetic-focused interventions, interventions targeting executive attention, language, and/or the interplay between them (i.e., internal speech during problem-solving) may be a promising avenues of mathematical problem-solving intervention.
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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement; Wide Range Achievement Test; Wechsler Intelligence Scales Short Forms; Test of Language Development; Woodcock Diagnostic Reading Battery; Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability
Grant or Contract Numbers: R24HD075454; R24HD075443; R01HD059179