ERIC Number: EJ695724
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Cognitive Skills In Mathematical Problem Solving In Grade 3
Desoete, Annemie; Roeyers, Herbert
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v75 n1 p119-138 Mar 2005
Background: Research on the relationship between cognitive skills and mathematical problem solving is usually conducted on adults or on participants with acquired deficits associated with brain injury (e.g. Cipolotti, 1995; Cohen, Dehaene, & Verstichel, 1994; McCloskey, 1992). Aims: In these studies we wanted to make a contribution to the field of children's mathematical problem solving. The first aim of this study was to investigate whether mathematical problem solving in children is merely determined by semantic elaboration, as hypothesized in some of the models of adult processing (semantic hypothesis). In addition, we aimed to investigate whether there is a continuum from very good to very poor mathematical problem solving among children with mathematical learning disabilities showing immature cognitive skills (maturational lag hypothesis). Sample: The participants were 376 third graders and 107 second graders. Method: The internal structure of the data was analysed with a principal components analysis. In addition, two MANOVA were conducted to compare children with learning disabilities or problems with age-matched and performance-matched subjects. Results: Two components, a semantic and a non-semantic one, were needed to account for an adequate fit of the dataset. In addition, children with mathematical learning disabilities had less-developed cognitive skills compared with peers without learning disabilities, but they did not differ from younger children on seven of the nine cognitive skills. Conclusions: This study highlighted that children's mathematical problem solving is not determined by one general component. The picture is more complex, since two mathematics components were found. In addition, although our findings point in the direction of the maturational lag hypothesis it may be important to assess the different cognitive skills and especially assess the number system knowledge, since it seems below average in children with mathematical learning disabilities, compared with the knowledge of younger children with comparable skills in mathematics.
Descriptors: Thinking Skills, Grade 3, Mathematics Skills, Learning Disabilities, Problem Solving, Cognitive Processes, Semantics, Grade 2, Elementary School Mathematics, Cognitive Ability
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3
Authoring Institution: N/A