ERIC Number: EJ731730
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
SES, Ethnic, and Gender Differences in Young Children's Informal Addition and Subtraction: A Clinical Interview Investigation
Ginsburg, Herbert P.; Pappas, Sandra
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, v25 n2 p171-192 Mar-Apr 2004
The main goal of this study was to examine possible socioeconomic status (SES) differences in 4- and 5-year-old children's informal mathematical knowledge. One hundred and two children, 32 from lower, 39 from middle, and 31 from upper SES families participated in the study. Each participant was given a clinical interview involving several addition and subtraction problems and a related representation task. With and without scaffolding, the children from the upper SES group showed higher rates of success on many problems than did the children from the lower and middle SES groups. At the same time, the results fail to reveal significant differences in the performance levels of children from lower and middle SES families. Furthermore, all of the SES groups used very similar strategies. Although the children from the upper SES group showed higher levels of "performance," their underlying "knowledge" (strategies) differed little from that of children from the lower and middle SES groups. These results are consistent with the hypotheses that both common biological inheritance and a common environment rich in opportunities for mathematical learning insure the development of basic mathematical competence in virtually all children. The study also found almost no gender or ethnic differences in performance and underlying knowledge. The results suggest that evaluators and educators should employ flexible methods, like the clinical interview, to assess mathematical knowledge and that preschoolers can benefit from a rich mathematics education.
Descriptors: Socioeconomic Status, Preschool Children, Arithmetic, Mathematics Skills, Scaffolding (Teaching Technique), Mathematics Achievement, Gender Differences, Ethnicity, Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A