ERIC Number: EJ1172102
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Neuroanatomical Correlates of Performance in a State-Wide Test of Math Achievement
Wilkey, Eric D.; Cutting, Laurie E.; Price, Gavin R.
Developmental Science, v21 n2 Mar 2018
The development of math skills is a critical component of early education and a strong indicator of later school and economic success. Recent research utilizing population-normed, standardized measures of math achievement suggest that structural and functional integrity of parietal regions, especially the intraparietal sulcus, are closely related to the development of math skills. However, it is unknown how these findings relate to in-school math learning. The present study is the first to address this issue by investigating the relationship between regional differences in grey matter (GM) volume and performance in grade-level mathematics as measured by a state-wide, school-based test of math achievement (TCAP math) in children from 3rd to 8th grade. Results show that increased GM volume in the bilateral hippocampal formation and the right inferior frontal gyrus, regions associated with learning and memory, is associated with higher TCAP math scores. Secondary analyses revealed that GM volume in the left angular gyrus had a stronger relationship to TCAP math in grades 3-4 than in grades 5-8 while the relationship between GM volume in the left inferior frontal gyrus and TCAP math was stronger for grades 5-8. These results suggest that the neuroanatomical architecture related to in-school math achievement differs from that related to math achievement measured by standardized tests, and that the most related neural structures differ as a function of grade level. We suggest, therefore, that the use of school-relevant outcome measures is critical if neuroscience is to bridge the gap to education. To understand the neurobiological correlates of individual differences in math achievement, we investigated the relationship between whole-brain grey matter volume and performance on a state-wide, school-based math assessment that corresponded to each year's curriculum for grades 3-8. Results indicate that increased grey matter volume in the bilateral hippocampus and right inferior frontal gyrus is related to higher math scores. In contrast, previous studies of grey matter volume using standardized achievement tests designed for wide age ranges have mostly reported grey matter differences in parietal regions associated with magnitude processing.
Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Tests, Mathematics Achievement, Mathematics Skills, Correlation, Achievement Tests, Standardized Tests, Brain, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Elementary School Students, Middle School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Center for Research Resources (NIH/DHHS); Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: P30HD015052; CTSARR024975; RO1HD044073; RO1HD067254