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Language in the prediction of mathematical (dis)abilities ? Evidence from a longitudinal study following-up children from kindergarten till grade 2.

Volume 1, Issue 1, December 2016    |    PP. 37-64    |PDF (491 K)|    Pub. Date: December 23, 2016
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Author(s)
Magda Praet, PhD, scientific collaborator at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Annemie Desoete, professor at Ghent University (Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology Developmental Disorders) and Artevelde University college, Ghent, Belgium

Abstract
Previous studies suggested that early numeracy predict mathematical abilities and disabilities. Although there is evidence for a significant relationship between language and numeracy, it remains an open question to what extent mathematics is truly dependent on language. In addition the question on how different language components relate to children's mathematical performance remains unresolved. This longitudinal study examined how receptive language, expressive language, the understanding of grammatical rules and the structure of language assessed in kindergarten were differentially related to children's early arithmetic skills in kindergarten and to their number knowledge, mental arithmetic skills and fact retrieval abilities in grade 1 and 2. A group of 132 children was followed-up from kindergarten till grade 2. The relationship between counting and arithmetic and the value of number estimation was confirmed in this study. In addition, our data revealed that expressive language had a unique contribution of 30.1% in explaining the variance of early arithmetic skills in kindergarten. Moreover, there was a unique longitudinal prediction for expressive kindergarten language of 28.3% for number knowledge and of 22.1% for mental arithmetic in grade 1. Expressive language assessed in kindergarten still added 5% to the prediction of number knowledge in grade 2. Receptive language in kindergarten added 10.8% to the explained variance of fact retrieval proficiency assessed in grade 2.

Keywords
expressive language, arithmetic, number knowledge, fact retrieval, receptive language

Cite this paper
Magda Praet, Annemie Desoete, Language in the prediction of mathematical (dis)abilities ? Evidence from a longitudinal study following-up children from kindergarten till grade 2., SCIREA Journal of Education. Vol. 1 , No. 1 , 2016 , pp. 37 - 64 .

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