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Dev Psychol. 2009 May;45(3):850-67. doi: 10.1037/a0014939.

Early math matters: kindergarten number competence and later mathematics outcomes.

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  • 1School of Education, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA. njordan@udel.edu

Abstract

Children's number competencies over 6 time points, from the beginning of kindergarten to the middle of 1st grade, were examined in relation to their mathematics achievement over 5 later time points, from the end of 1st grade to the end of 3rd grade. The relation between early number competence and mathematics achievement was strong and significant throughout the study period. A sequential process growth curve model showed that kindergarten number competence predicted rate of growth in mathematics achievement between 1st and 3rd grades as well as achievement level through 3rd grade. Further, rate of growth in early number competence predicted mathematics performance level in 3rd grade. Although low-income children performed more poorly than their middle-income counterparts in mathematics achievement and progressed at a slower rate, their performance and growth were mediated through relatively weak kindergarten number competence. Similarly, the better performance and faster growth of children who entered kindergarten at an older age were explained by kindergarten number competence. The findings show the importance of early number competence for setting children's learning trajectories in elementary school mathematics.

Copyright 2009 APA, all rights reserved

PMID:
19413436
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2782699
Free PMC Article
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