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Understanding arithmetic concepts: The role of domain-specific and domain-general skills

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posted on 01.08.2019, 10:27 by C Gilmore, S Clayton, L Cragg, C McKeaveney, V Simms, SJ Johnson
A large body of research has identified cognitive skills associated with overall mathematics achievement, focusing primarily on identifying associates of procedural skills. Conceptual understanding, however, has received less attention, despite its importance for the development of mathematics proficiency. Consequently, we know little about the quantitative and domain-general skills associated with conceptual understanding. Here we investigated 8–10-year-old children’s conceptual understanding of arithmetic, as well as a wide range of basic quantitative skills, numerical representations and domain-general skills. We found that conceptual understanding was most strongly associated with performance on a number line task. This relationship was not explained by the use of particular strategies on the number line task, and may instead reflect children’s knowledge of the structure of the number system. Understanding the skills involved in conceptual learning is important to support efforts by educators to improve children’s conceptual understanding of mathematics.

Funding

This study was funded by a project grant (SP4575) from Action Medical Research (AMR, www.action.org.uk/), UK. CG is supported by a UK Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (https://royalsociety.org/).

History

Citation

PLoS ONE 13(9): e0201724.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/School of Medicine/Department of Health Sciences

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

PLoS ONE 13(9): e0201724.

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

issn

1932-6203

Acceptance date

20/07/2018

Copyright date

2018

Available date

01/08/2019

Notes

Data are available from figshare (DOI: 10.17028/rd.lboro.5446561).

Language

en