Developmental Pathways of Early Numerical Skills during the Preschool to School Transition

Abbie Cahoon, Camilla Gilmore, Victoria Simms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Most longitudinal evidence explores the average level of development, suggesting that the relationships between a limited number of variables applies to all learners in the same way. This is the first longitudinal study that investigates multiple component numeric skills within a preschool population using a person-centered approach (i.e., a latent transition analysis), thus allowing for an investigation of different subgroup learning pathways of mathematical skills over time. 128 children aged 43 to 54 months (at Time 1) were tracked at three time points over 8 months encompassing the transition from preschool through to their first year of primary education. Findings suggest that there are five developmental pathways of mathematical learning with some groups of children making more rapid progress on entry to school than other groups. Those children in the low number skill pathway have a lower rate of growth than more advanced pathways, possibly due to a lack of understanding in cardinality. Findings highlighted the potential importance of language and working memory abilities on mathematical skills development over time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101484
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalLearning and Instruction
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Latent transition analysis
  • developmental pathways of early numerical skills
  • longitudinal
  • preschool to school transition
  • multiple component numeric skills
  • domain-general and non-cognitive predictors
  • Longitudinal
  • Domain-general and non-cognitive predictors
  • Developmental pathways of early numerical skills
  • Multiple component numeric skills
  • Preschool to school transition


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