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Title: Cognitive factors predicting variation in arithmetic performance
Author: Long, Imogen Sinead Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 9039
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Children begin to develop mathematical knowledge from a young age in varying degrees. For this reason, it is important to identify which cognitive skills are foundations to later mathematical knowledge and which are the most important for numerical development. This thesis focuses on some of the earliest cognitive processes involved in arithmetic (addition and subtraction) abilities in typically developing children between the ages of 4 and 8. Arithmetic abilities are an important outcome for children of this age and is predictive of later, more advanced arithmetic and mathematical skills. Therefore, identifying foundational factors is important for educational practices and for theories of typical and atypical arithmetic development. Three studies focused on three cognitive factors: sensori-motor skills including finger awareness, pattern understanding and symbolic number knowledge. The first two predictors were examined whilst controlling for important predictors of arithmetic including age, number knowledge, executive function and spatial skills. We showed firstly that sensori-motor skills are less important predictors of arithmetic than number knowledge and counting. Next, the potential causal relationship between number knowledge and arithmetic was examined via a training study. Our findings suggest that training in number knowledge can improve numerical and arithmetic outcomes, although we failed to reach significance due to a lack of power. Finally, we examined pattern understanding using a large patterning battery and are the first study to show that different pattern tasks (numbers, letters, shapes and objects) load onto one factor. Moreover, this factor is a unique and significant predictor of arithmetic. Together, these studies help to outline the shape of arithmetic development in typically developing children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available