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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Early math knowledge related to later achievement | Vanderbilt University News

Photo: Joan Brasher
"A new longitudinal study conducted by Vanderbilt has found that children’s math knowledge in preschool is related to their later achievement—but not all types of math knowledge were related equally." notes

Early math skills inform later achievement, according to a new Vanderbilt study. 
Photo: iStock

The findings suggest that educators and school administrators should consider which areas of math study they shift attention to as they develop curricula for the early years.

Photo: Rittle-Johnson (Vanderbilt)

“Counting, calculating, and understanding written numbers already get a lot of attention from teachers and parents, for good reasons,” said Bethany Rittle-Johnson, professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development, who led the study. “However, comparing quantities may merit more attention in preschool, and patterning knowledge may merit more attention in both preschool and the early elementary grades.”

Common Core content standards for school math include shape but not patterning knowledge, and they focus little on comparing quantities. Since patterning skills in the early years predicted math achievement in fifth grade in this study, Rittle-Johnson and her co-authors suggest that teachers and parents engage young children in activities that help them find, extend and discuss predictable sequences in objects (patterns) and compare quantities, without needing to count, such as estimating who has more pennies or more Halloween candy.

A next important step will be to systematically vary how much of this content young children receive and look at their math achievement over time.
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Additional resources
Professor Bethany Rittle-Johnson talks about the genesis of her research interests, and why Peabody is the ideal fit for students.
Watch the video

Source: Vanderbilt University News and Vanderbilt University Channel (YouTube)


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