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Can we predict mathematical learning disabilities from symbolic and non-symbolic comparison tasks in kindergarten? Findings from a longitudinal study. (English)
Br. J. Educ. Psychol. 82, No. 1, 64-81 (2012).
Summary: Background: The ability to compare numbers, as the most basic form of number sense, has been related to arithmetical achievement. Aims: The current study addressed the predictive value of non-symbolic and symbolic (number word (NW) and Arabic number (AN)) comparison for arithmetics by means of a longitudinal design. Sample: Sixteen children with mathematical disabilities (MD), 64 low achievers (LA), and 315 typical achieving (TA) children were followed from kindergarten till grade 2. Method: The association of comparison skills with arithmetical skills in grades l and 2 was studied. The performances of MD, LA and TA children were compared. Results: Regression analyses showed that non-symbolic skills in kindergarten were predictively related to arithmetical achievement 1 year later and fact retrieval 2 years later. AN comparison was predictively related to procedural calculation 2 years later. In grade 2, there was an association between both symbolic tasks and arithmetical achievement. Children with MD already had deficits in non-symbolic and symbolic AN comparison in kindergarten, whereas in grade 2 the deficits in processing symbolic information remained. Conclusions: The combination of non-symbolic and symbolic deficits represents a risk of developing MD.
Classification: D71 D72
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