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Title: Domain-specific and domain-general influences on early mathematical skills : a longitudinal study
Author: Soto Calvo, Elena
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2013
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Two domain-specific quantity systems have been proposed; the “Precise Number System” for small precise numerical representations, and the “Approximate Number System” for imprecise numerical representations (Feigenson, Dehaene, & Spelke, 2004). The efficiency of these systems has been individually associated with numerical competence (Mazzocco, Feigenson, & Halberda, 2011; Schleifer & Landerl, 2011). Phonological awareness and VSSP functioning are domain-general cognitive skills which have been shown to contribute to distinct aspects of early numerical competence (Krajewski & Schneider, 2009; LeFevre et al., 2010). Krajewski and Schneider’s model (2009) proposes three distinct developmental levels of early number skills; phonological awareness contributes to basic verbal number skills (Level I) while VSSP functioning and quantitative skills contribute to quantity to number-word linkage (Level II) and to early arithmetic skills (Level III). This thesis examines the longitudinal and independent contributions that domain-specific and domain-general cognitive skills make to early number skills and to two standardised mathematical attainment measures. Verbal, visuo-spatial and quantitative skills were assessed in 129 children at the start of Reception Year. Precise quantity discrimination skills predicted performance and growth in children’s ability to count objects (Level II), approximate quantity discrimination skills predicted performance and growth in reciting the number-word sequence (Level I) and the two domain-general cognitive skills predicted performance and growth in performing simple arithmetic skills (Level III) over an eighteen-month period. Also, approximate quantity discrimination skills, phonological awareness and VSSP functioning predicted performance in both mathematical attainment measures over a six-month period. However VSSP functioning predicted performance and growth in a specific mathematical attainment measure over an eighteen-month period. Each cognitive skill seems to have a circumscribed role as a precursor of specific later number skills. This suggests that identifying deficits in these cognitive skills and designing targeted-intervention programmes for children in the very early stages of schooling could prevent later general mathematical deficits.
Supervisor: Simmons, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral