A Longitudinal Analysis of Estimation, Counting Skills, and Mathematical Ability Across the First School Year

Kevin Muldoon, John Towse, Victoria Simms, Oliver Perra, Victoria Menzies

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    Abstract

    In response to claims that the quality (and in particular linearity) of children’s mental representation of number acts as a constraint on number development, we carried out a longitudinal assessment of the relationships between number line estimation, counting, and mathematical abilities. Ninety-nine 5-year olds were tested on 4 occasions at 3 monthly intervals. Correlations between the 3 types of ability were evident, but while the quality of children’s estimations changed over time and performance on the mathematical tasks improved over the same period, changes in one were not associated with changes in the other. In contrast to the earlier claims that the linearity of number representation is potentially a unique contributor to children’s mathematical development, the data suggest that this variable is not significantly privileged in its impact over and above simple procedural number skills. We propose that both early arithmetic success and estimating skill are bound closely to developments in counting ability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)250-258
    JournalDevelopmental Psychology
    Volume49
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2012

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