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ERIC Number: EJ934337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Are Patterns Important? An Investigation of the Relationships between Proficiencies in Patterns, Computation, Executive Functioning, and Algebraic Word Problems
Lee, Kerry; Ng, Swee Fong; Bull, Rebecca; Pe, Madeline Lee; Ho, Ringo Ho Moon
Journal of Educational Psychology, v103 n2 p269-281 May 2011
Although mathematical pattern tasks are often found in elementary school curricula and are deemed a building block for algebra, a recent report (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008) suggests the resources devoted to its teaching and assessment need to be rebalanced. We examined whether children's developing proficiency in solving algebraic word problems is related to their proficiencies in patterns, computational, and working memory tasks. Children (N = 151 10-year-olds) were tested twice, 1 year apart, and were administered tests of updating capacities (2 complex span and 1 running span task), computation (from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test), patterns (function machine, number patterns), and algebraic word problems. Proficiencies on the patterns and computational tasks predicted algebraic proficiency. Proficiencies on the computational and patterns tasks are, in turn, predicted by updating capacity. These findings suggest that algebraic reasoning may be difficult if the child has poor updating capacity and either poor facility with computation or difficulty in recognizing and generalizing rules about patterns. (Contains 3 figures, 3 tables and 2 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. 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: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test