British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 30 Issue 2 (June 2012), Pages 225-357

Association between basic numerical abilities and mathematics achievement (pages 344-357)

Various measures have been used to investigate number processing in children, including a number comparison or a number line estimation task. The present study aimed to examine whether and to which extent these different measures of number representation are related to performance on a curriculum‐based standardized mathematics achievement test in kindergarteners, first, second, and sixth graders. Children completed a number comparison task and a number line estimation task with a balanced set of symbolic (Arabic digits) and non‐symbolic (dot patterns) stimuli. Associations with mathematics achievement were observed for the symbolic measures. Although the association with number line estimation was consistent over grades, the association with number comparison was much stronger in kindergarten compared to the other grades. The current data indicate that a good knowledge of the numerical meaning of Arabic digits is important for children's mathematical development and that particularly the access to the numerical meaning of symbolic digits rather than the representation of number per se is important.

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