The purpose of this study was to investigate the contributions of domain-general cognitive resources and different forms of arithmetic development to individual differences in pre-algebraic knowledge. Children (n = 279, mean age = 7.59 years) were assessed on 7 domain-general cognitive resources as well as arithmetic calculations and word problems at start of 2nd grade and on calculations, word problems, and pre-algebraic knowledge at end of 3rd grade. Multilevel path analysis, controlling for instructional effects associated with the sequence of classrooms in which students were nested across Grades 2-3, indicated arithmetic calculations and word problems are foundational to pre-algebraic knowledge. Also, results revealed direct contributions of nonverbal reasoning and oral language to pre-algebraic knowledge, beyond indirect effects that are mediated via arithmetic calculations and word problems. By contrast, attentive behavior, phonological processing, and processing speed contributed to pre-algebraic knowledge only indirectly via arithmetic calculations and word problems.
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- Domaingeneral cognitive resources
- Mathematics development
- Pre-algebraic knowledge
- Word problems