Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key early skills for later math learning discovered

Date:
July 25, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Psychologists have identified the beginning of first grade math skills that teachers and parents should target to effectively improve children's later math learning.

Psychologists at the University of Missouri have identified the beginning of first grade math skills that teachers and parents should target to effectively improve children's later math learning.

A long-term psychology study indicates that beginning first graders that understand numbers, the quantities those numbers represent, and low-level arithmetic will have better success in learning mathematics through the end of fifth grade, and other studies suggest throughout the rest of their lives.

"Math is critical for success in many fields, and the United States is not doing a great job of teaching math," said David Geary, Curator's Professor of Psychological Sciences. "Once students fall behind, it's almost impossible to get them back on track. We wanted to identify the beginning of school knowledge needed to learn math over the next five years. We found that understanding numbers and quantity is a necessary foundation for success as the student progresses to more complex math topics. In order to improve basic instruction, we have to know what to instruct. These are the factors that make a difference in the first grade above and beyond intelligence and other abilities."

Geary and the team of researchers have been monitoring a group of 177 elementary students from 12 different elementary schools since kindergarten, with the intention of following them through their first algebra class in the 10th grade. For this study, the researchers factored out intelligence, working memory and other abilities to determine the most critical beginning of school math skills.

"This study reinforces the idea that math knowledge is incremental, and without a good foundation, a student won't do well because the math gets more complex," Geary said. "The kids that can go back and forth easily and quickly in translating numerals, the number five, for example, into quantities and in breaking complex problems into smaller parts had a very good head start."

The researchers also found that first graders who understood the number line and how to place numbers on the line and who knew some basic facts showed faster growth in math skills than their counterparts over the next five years. However, the researchers found that these early math skills had no impact on future reading ability.

Geary says that while other studies have focused on reading success, this study is the first to examine how the basic math skills children bring to first grade effects their mathematics learning throughout an entire elementary school years. Future studies will focus on fractions and algebra.

The paper, "Cognitive Predictors of Achievement Growth in Mathematics: A Five Year Longitudinal Study," will be published in the journal Developmental Psychology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Key early skills for later math learning discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711131605.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, July 25). Key early skills for later math learning discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711131605.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Key early skills for later math learning discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711131605.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins