Verbal counting skill predicts later math performance and difficulties in middle school
Koponen, Tuire; Aunola, Kaisa; Nurmi, Jari-Erik (2019). Verbal counting skill predicts later math performance and difficulties in middle school. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 59, 101803. DOI: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.101803
Published inContemporary Educational Psychology
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© 2019 Elsevier Inc.
This study examined the role of verbal counting skill as an early predictor of math performance and difficulties (at or below −1.5 standard deviation in basic math skills) in middle school. The role of fourth-grade level arithmetical skills (i.e., calculation fluency, multi-digit arithmetic i.e. procedural calculation, and word problem solving) as mediators was also investigated. The participants included 207 children in central Finland who were studied from kindergarten to the seventh grade. Path modeling showed that verbal counting in kindergarten is a strong predictor for basic math performance in seventh grade, explaining even 52% of the variance in these skills after controlling for the mothers’ education levels. This association between early verbal counting skill and basic math performance was partly mediated through fourth-grade procedural calculation and word problem solving skills. Furthermore, verbal counting had an unique predictive relation to middle school math performance above and beyond the basic arithmetical and problem solving skills in fourth grade. Poor kindergarten verbal counting skill was a significant indicator for later difficulties in mathematics. ...