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ERIC Number: EJ965356
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0007-0998
The Cognitive Underpinnings of Emerging Mathematical Skills: Executive Functioning, Patterns, Numeracy, and Arithmetic
Lee, Kerry; Ng, Swee Fong; Pe, Madeline Lee; Ang, Su Yin; Hasshim, Muhammad Nabil Azhar Mohd; Bull, Rebecca
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v82 n1 p82-99 Mar 2012
Background: Exposure to mathematical pattern tasks is often deemed important for developing children's algebraic thinking skills. Yet, there is a dearth of evidence on the cognitive underpinnings of pattern tasks and how early competencies on these tasks are related to later development. Aims: We examined the domain-specific and domain-general determinants of performances on pattern tasks by using (a) a standardized test of numerical and arithmetic proficiency and (b) measures of executive functioning, respectively. Sample: Participants were 163 6-year-olds enrolled in primary schools that typically serve families from low to middle socioeconomic backgrounds. Method: Children were administered a battery of executive functioning (inhibitory, switching, updating), numerical and arithmetic proficiency (the Numerical Operations task from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-II), and three types of pattern tasks. Results: Contrary to findings from the adult literature, we found all the executive functioning measures coalesced into two factors: updating and an inhibition/switch factor. Only the updating factor predicted performances on the pattern tasks. Although performance on the pattern tasks were correlated with numerical and arithmetic proficiency, findings from structural equation modelling showed that there were no direct or independent relationships between them. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the bivariate relationships between pattern, numeracy, and arithmetic tasks are likely due to their shared demands on updating resources. Unlike older children, these findings suggest that for 6-year-olds, better numerical and arithmetic proficiency, without accompanying advantages in updating capacities, will no more likely lead to better performance on the pattern tasks. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test