Association between basic numerical abilities and mathematics achievement

Authors

  • Delphine Sasanguie,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
    2. Subfaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Campus Kulak, Leuven, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bert De Smedt,

    1. Parenting and Special Education Research Group, University of Leuven, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Emmy Defever,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
    2. Subfaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Campus Kulak, Leuven, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bert Reynvoet

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
    2. Subfaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Campus Kulak, Leuven, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence should be addressed to Delphine Sasanguie, Department of Psychology, Subfaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, K.U.Leuven – Campus Kulak, Etienne Sabbelaan 53; 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium (e-mail: Delphine.Sasanguie@kuleuven-kortrijk.be).

Abstract

Various measures have been used to investigate number processing in children, including a number comparison or a number line estimation task. The present study aimed to examine whether and to which extent these different measures of number representation are related to performance on a curriculum-based standardized mathematics achievement test in kindergarteners, first, second, and sixth graders. Children completed a number comparison task and a number line estimation task with a balanced set of symbolic (Arabic digits) and non-symbolic (dot patterns) stimuli. Associations with mathematics achievement were observed for the symbolic measures. Although the association with number line estimation was consistent over grades, the association with number comparison was much stronger in kindergarten compared to the other grades. The current data indicate that a good knowledge of the numerical meaning of Arabic digits is important for children's mathematical development and that particularly the access to the numerical meaning of symbolic digits rather than the representation of number per se is important.

Ancillary