Number sense and mathematics: Which, when and how?

Maria G. Tosto, Stephen A. Petrill, Sergey Malykh, Karim Malki, Claire M.A. Haworth, Michele M.M. Mazzocco, Lee Thompson, John Opfer, Olga Y. Bogdanova, Yulia Kovas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individual differences in number sense correlate with mathematical ability and performance, although the presence and strength of this relationship differs across studies. Inconsistencies in the literature may stem from heterogeneity of number sense and mathematical ability constructs. Sample characteristics may also play a role as changes in the relationship between number sense and mathematics may differ across development and cultural contexts. In this study, 4,984 16-year-old students were assessed on estimation ability, one aspect of number sense. Estimation was measured using 2 different tasks: number line and dot-comparison. Using cognitive and achievement data previously collected from these students at ages 7, 9, 10, 12, and 14, the study explored for which of the measures and when in development these links are observed, and how strong these links are and how much these links are moderated by other cognitive abilities. The 2 number sense measures correlated modestly with each other (r = .22), but moderately with mathematics at age 16. Both measures were also associated with earlier mathematics; but this association was uneven across development and was moderated by other cognitive abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1924-1939
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume53
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Mathematics
  • Nonsymbolic estimation
  • Number sense
  • Symbolic estimation

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    Tosto, M. G., Petrill, S. A., Malykh, S., Malki, K., Haworth, C. M. A., Mazzocco, M. M. M., Thompson, L., Opfer, J., Bogdanova, O. Y., & Kovas, Y. (2017). Number sense and mathematics: Which, when and how? Developmental psychology, 53(10), 1924-1939. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000331